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Hacienda La Puente Unified Students Shine During 2024 National Speech and Debate Tournament

Hacienda La Puente Unified Students Shine During 2024 National Speech and Debate Tournament
Andrea Torres

Hacienda La Puente Unified middle and high school speech and debate students across the District traveled to Iowa from June 18 to 21 to showcase their creativity, public speaking, and presentation skills during the 2024 National Speech and Debate Tournament. The tournament featured 6,700 students and 1,500 schools and was a platform for our students to shine.

Throughout the tournament, our students showcased the skills they had diligently honed over the school year, a testament to their growth and the guidance of our esteemed coaches at Advantage Communications. Their exceptional performances in various events, such as poetry, prose, and humorous interpretation, were a true reflection of the impact of this partnership and our students' unwavering dedication. 

"Congratulations to all our extraordinary competitors for not only showing your expertise and skills in your performances but for being true leaders and helping our future HLPUSD students know that they, too, can share their voice through this transformative program," Board President Christine H. Salazar said. "I am so proud of their growth and how well our students have received this impactful program, one that has only been available a few years and just completed its first year at all high school sites! Just incredible!"

On June 20, twelve middle school students competed in the quarter-finals, with four advancing to the semi-finals. We are proud to announce the achievements of Bailey Palencia, a former sixth-grader from Cedarlane Academy, who received sixth place in poetry; Tyler Shum, a former eighth-grader from Mesa Robles Middle School, who took sixth place in prose and humorous interpretation; and Samira Daley, a former eighth-grader from Orange Grove Middle School who won fourth place in program oral interpretation. These students' hard work and dedication have truly paid off, and we hope their success will inspire others to join our program.

The Mesa Robles School team was filled with pride and joy when they were named one of five to win the National Speech and Debate School of Excellence Award. Together, these schools share the prestigious national recognition title as top-performing out of the 173 participating schools, a moment of celebration for our entire community. We are deeply grateful for the support and encouragement from our community, which has played a significant role in our students' success.

"Our outstanding coaches and leadership team from Advantage Communications and support from our Board of Education have been instrumental in instilling the vision of creating future leaders, critical thinkers, and passionate speakers in our students," Superintendent Dr. Alfonso Jiménez said. "Their dedication and partnership have been invaluable, and we are deeply grateful for their contributions. We look forward to the continued personal development, leadership, and confidence this program will provide to ensure our students are ready to excel in college and today's workforce."

HLPUSD_NSDT: Hacienda La Puente Unified celebrates its success at the 2024 National Speech and Debate Tournament in Des Moines, Iowa from June 18-21.