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THS Speech students quiet competition
Speech students pic
Turlock High School seniors (left to right) Ben Ewing, Alex Wolski, Grayson Blakeley and Nick Dias, led the Speech and Debate team to an undefeated season this year. - photo by JONATHAN MCCORKELL / The Journal

The Turlock High School Speech and Debate team bested the competition over the school year en route to a perfect undefeated season. In 10 individual and debate sweepstakes, THS took home 10 trophies for first place and the program was named Leading Chapter in the Big Valley District.

Senior leaders of the chapter include Ben Ewing, Alex Wolski, Grayson Blakeley and Nick Dias. Blakeley and Dias debated as a team throughout the year on topics like organ donations and if the government should provide incentives to promote organ donation. Ewing and Wolski participated in speech under the policy topic if the federal government should substantially reduce the military and or police presence in one or more of the countries of Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Turkey, Japan and South Korea.

Dias praised his experience in speech and debate.

“I think it is probably the most productive activity that a student can do in high school. I’ve learned more doing speech and debate than I can in a classroom because I have to research a topic and create a speech or debate about that topic rather than just reading it out of a book or listening to a lecture. Unless you’re going to be a mime, speech is something that everyone will have to do in some way,” said Dias.

In one competition, known as National Extemporaneous, speech and debate students will be given a topic and then have 30 minutes to look at magazines and newspapers to gather enough information for a seven-minute speech. Grayson Blakeley is scheduled to attend the national tournament in Dallas, Texas.

Later this school year 10 THS speech and debate students will be attending the state competition at San Diego State University. Those students are: Mallori Powell, Jonas Trevethan, Elijah Mays, John Silva, Nicole Larson and Angelica Ayala.

To contact Jonathan McCorkell, e-mail, or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.