Forensics Speech & Debate Team


Photo Credit: Credit: Forensics Speech & Debate Team

From Left to Right: Edgar Minasyan: Rio Hondo Graduate, Transferred to UC IRVINE. Getting Ready for Law School Alexander Cadena: Rio Graduate, Transfer Student University of Utah, MA in Communication CSUN. Part Time Faculty at Rio Edward Minasyan: Rio Graduate, Transfer to UC Irvine, Coach at Rio Hondo Ryan Serrano: Rio Graduate: Transferred to UC Davis, Graduated! Diana Macias: Rio Graduate, Student Trustee: Transferred to UC Davis Carolina Campillo: Rio Graduate, Student Trustee. Transferred To UCLA, Graduated! Patricia Hughes: Rio Graduate, Transfer Student CSULB, MA in Communication CSUF. Full Time Faculty at Rio’ Melissa De Leon: Rio Graduate, Student Trustee: Transferred to CSULA. MA in Communication. Full time at CSULA

The Rio Hondo Forensic Speech & Debate team competed at the 13th tournament of the season, Tabor-Vanitsky and Southern California IPDA Championship, held at Cerritos College Feb. 17-19. 


Grant Tovmasian, the Forensics Coordinator and Instructor, had some information on how the competition went. “Competition was quite tough, since most schools are getting ready for State Championships and Nationals,” he said. “It was a great experience overall with both senior and beginner students competing with energy and focus.” 


In order for the students to prepare for the competition, they practice Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. So, the student’s are putting in a lot of hours practicing and getting ready.


Out of all the competitions the Forensic Speech & Debate compete in, the most important competition they attend is the Phi Rho Pi National competition, which will take place April 8-15. “It’s a week long, and rather difficult, but extremely educational championship.”- Tovmasian said


In addition, Tovmasian mentioned how he became a debate coach, “I wanted to be a historian, but as I struggled with being able to express myself, I took speech classes and joined a speech and debate team at the community college level. It was a revelation to a degree in which we can find power and positivity in our voice, which I discovered,” he said. “After I stopped competing, I realized that I want to empower future generations, and the rest is history.” 


The Rio Hondo Forensics Speech & Debate program has been helping students for over 40 years to prepare them for careers involving public speaking and advocacy. Students majoring in Communication Studies, Law, Political Science, Education/Teaching, or Theater will find Forensics training especially useful.


Students can join the Speech & Debate Team by signing up for SPCH 110, and they will become part of the team. Tryouts are not needed. Tovmasian and fellow coaches stand by the philosophy of helping their students express themselves better. Their team is diverse and inclusive, and there are only two hard rules: “ Honor your commitments and respect each other, opponents, and activity.”


Parliamentary Debate Top Speaker

Ashley Garcia 1 st

Tristan Steelman

Angela Flores

Krupskaia Molina

Emily Secord

Ethan Sepulveda



Alexis Hernandez

Michael Servin


Silver IPDA

Tristan Steelman


Bronze IPDA

Katelyn Ayala

Brandon Torres


Bronze in Parli

Tristan Steelman and Maria Alvarez


Special Thanks to Coaches:

Patricia Hughes, Alexander Cadena, Edward Minasyan.

Next in the team’s view is the California Community College Championship that will occur March 8-12.