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Santa Monica Debate Team Takes Home Eight Awards  

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By Lookout Staff

April 19, 2017 -- There's no arguing that Santa Monica College's Speech and Debate team is on a roll.

The team won eight awards in six different events at the Phi Ro Pi national speech and debate tournament last week in Tysons Corner, Virginia, the only full service national tournament for community college students, SMC officials announced Tuesday.

SMC was among 60 U.S. community colleges that participated in the tournament that took place April 10 to 15. The eight awards were the most the school at the Phi Ro Pi nationals.

“There is no substitute for talented and motivated students," said SMC Speech and Debate Coach Nate Brown. "When those students find us, we can win.”

Santa Monica College Debate Team 2017
(Left to right): Coach Brianna Broady, Albert Cueva, Coach Nate Brown, Ashley Grace, Thal Gondim, Andrew Monaco (kneeling), Matt Linsky, Ben Kolodny and Frankie Duan.

The following SMC students took home awards:

· Thal Gondim, who won the Bronze in the National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA) Debate and in the International Public Debate Association (IPDA) Debate;

· Matt Linsky, who shared the Bronze with Gondim in the NPDA Debate;

· Ashley Grace, who won a Silver in the IPDA Debate, a Silver in Informative Speaking and a Bronze in Prose Interpretation, and

· Ben Kolodny, who won a Bronze in the IPDA Debate.

The SMC Speech and Debate team also won a Silver sweepstakes team award in the Wheeler division.

Other members of the team who competed in various categories including persuasive speaking, extemporaneous speaking and impromptu speaking were Andrew Monaco, Frankie Dua, and Albert Cueva.

Brown called competitive speech and debate "the greatest learning experience for students" because it brings them up to date on current events and issues and teaches them to argue "logically and passionately" and to speak "effectively and appropriately."

“Seeing our students win is a great joy,” said Brown, “but seeing them develop confidence in themselves even when they don’t win is perhaps the greatest joy we can have as coaches.”

In addition to Brown, the other coaches are Communication professors Luis Andrade and Brianna Broady.

For more information on the SMC Debate Team, contact Luis Andrade at or 310-434-4771. To learn more about the Phi Ro Pi National Forensic Organization, visit

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