The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

RBHS Speech and Debate hosts COMO Classic Tournament

Garfield+sits+between+the+sweepstakes+trophies+at+the+award+display+for+COMO+Classic+on+Feb.+3.
Jenna Lin
Garfield sits between the sweepstakes trophies at the award display for COMO Classic on Feb. 3.

RBHS speech and debate hosted their annual COMO Classic tournament Feb. 2-3, which saw its largest turnout with over 25 teams from across Mo. attending. In previous years, both RBHS and Hickman High School organized and hosted COMO Classic, however RBHS hosted it alone this year.

The 2024 COMO Classic theme was Mardi Gras to resemble the “Work Hard, Play Hard” motto that RBHS speech and debate Head Coach Dr. Danielle Johnson created at the beginning of the season. Students wore green, yellow and purple, and the food in the hospitality room — the area for judges and coaches to get food — was inspired by Mardi Gras specialties. Assistant Coach Sage Carter helped host for the second year in the row. Her job was to assist with Extemporaneous speaking draw — where students who are competing in extemporaneous speaking retrieve their questions — and after she finished there, she said she particularly enjoyed judging policy debate rounds.

“I was in charge of Extemp draw and judging. Judging was my favorite job — I always enjoy seeing students present and giving them feedback for them to improve,” Carter said. “Especially because I often see students multiple times in a season, and seeing how they improve from tournament to tournament is incredible.”

Junior Shahab Bariz, Public Forum and Extemporaneous speaking chair, said while the tournament was fun, it was hard managing everyone who was there. 

“My favorite part of the COMO Classic was also the most stressful part,” Bariz said. “When we were falling behind schedule, struggling to keep up with results and rounds, the entire team was able to come together and get everything done with a little bit of oversight, making a task that was set to take hours happen as fast as possible. Oftentimes, in an activity where we all compete as individuals, in a vacuum, it becomes hard to see the bigger picture, but it was clear this weekend.”

Interpretive speaking chair sophomore Jessly Lemuz-Guerra was head of events, where she was delegated the tasks to check speech event rooms. With the large attendance, she said room checks were stressful but fun when done with the help of the others on the RBHS speech and debate team. In order to follow the “Work Hard, Play Hard” motto more, Lemuz-Guerra alongside the other people on room checks made a bingo sheet for competitors to use when they checked into rooms.

My favorite part of the COMO Classic was also the most stressful part. When we were falling behind schedule, struggling to keep up with results and rounds, the entire team was able to come together and get everything done with a little bit of oversight, making a task that was set to take hours happen as fast as possible. Oftentimes, in an activity where we all compete as individuals, in a vacuum, it becomes hard to see the bigger picture, but it was clear this weekend.

— Junior Shahab Bariz

“I love our motto this year because it showcases both sides of the realm of debate,” Lemuz-Guerra said. “I thought the Mardi Gras theme fit it really well and I think the debate teams from other schools also liked it.”

Despite RBHS being the only school to host this year, the team was excited to see the growth in both competitors and judges.

“I think the tournament went great. The only problem I can think of was that the tournament ran a little late, but that’s always to be expected,” Carter said. “We did have a little less people to help, but in the end everyone who helped did such an incredible job that the tournament ran perfectly.” 

Did you attend the COMO Classic? Let us know in the comments below.

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About the Contributors
Zay Yontz, Co-Editor-in-Chief
Senior Zay Yontz is the co-editor-in-chief of Southpaw. She is also the co-captain of the Speech and Debate team. Outside of school she enjoys baking, listening to music and doing her nails.
Jenna Lin, Staff Writer, Photographer
Sophomore Jenna Lin is a staff writer and photographer for Southpaw and Bearing News. She is a member of the girls' tennis team, co-captain of Scholar Bowl and Science Bowl and an officer for FBLA and Mu Alpha Theta. In her free time, she enjoys reading, funny tweets and quiet cinema.

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