Debate skills teach kids confidence

About the Monte Vista Speech and Debate Team
The Monte Vista Speech & Debate team was established by Al Gentile in 1974 and joined the National Forensic League as a charter member in that same year. Instructor David Matley took over the program in 1989.

Currently 150 students actively compete at tournaments around the Bay Area in events ranging from debate and oratory to humorous and dramatic interpretation. Many of Monte Vista's top competitors travel to National tournaments across the United States. The Mustangs have been consistently ranked among the top five programs in the state and the top 20 in the nation.

This year has been especially successful. The Mustangs qualified a school record 11 students to the 2009 National Tournament to be held in Birmingham, AL June 13-20 in eight different events, and 25 students to the State Championships in Culver City April 23-26.

Throughout the season, the Mustangs gave hints that this would be a special season. The team took 2nd at the Glenbrooks National Tournament in Chicago in November, and went on to place among the top schools at the Santa Clara, Berkeley, and Stanford Invitationals. The team's preliminary season success peaked at the 4th and final League tournament as Monte Vista students took first place in 11 out of t he 12 varsity events.

About the Summer Program
Much of the team's success over the years can be attributed to our summer program. Established in 1992, the Monte Vista Speech & Debate Institute offers two speech and debate summer camps. Originally these camps were designed for incoming and current Monte Vista speech and debate students to prepare for the upcoming season. Over the years the camps have expanded to include elementary students and students from all over the East Bay. Many of Monte Vista's current and former competitors serve as instructors for the camp. Current students can polish their skills and prepare speeches for the upcoming season while younger students can begin to develop their own skills and confidence for the future.

You can read more about the team at or for information on our 2009 summer camps visit us at

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