April 17, 2017- Monterey Park, CA— For the third consecutive year, students of the East Los Angeles College Speech Team won the National Championship, in the Hindman Division, at the 2017 Phi Rho Pi National Championship Speech Tournament in Washington, D.C. Sixty community colleges, from across the nation, competed in this annual tournament. Dr. Vi Ly, Dean of Academic Affairs, East Los Angeles College praised the students and faculty for their efforts. “Before coming to East Los Angeles College, most of our students have never heard of programs such as Speech Forensics. We have opened a door that they did not know existed. Allowing them the opportunity to go to Nationals, and the possibility of them winning the title, will open up ten more doors for them into the future. We want to help our students achieve success, but if they don’t even know what is out there already their success is very limited.” said Ly. Communication Studies Department Chair and ELAC Speech Coach Ryan Smith said, “It was a hard-fought battle. We knew it was going to be close but the students came through and defended our national title for the third year in a row. We are elated!” The team of Magdalene Jacinto and Jonathan Tapia won the national duo championship performing literature about the struggle for education equality in the East Los Angeles Community, largely focused on the East Los Angeles walkouts of 1968 lead by Sal Castro.
This was a performance with special importance because it was about East Los Angeles community. Edward Kunkle’s Gold in Persuasive Speaking is the first Gold ELAC has won in that event at the National Championship Tournament. Layla Ramos carried on a long history of ELAC success in Poetry Interpretation, exploring the issues of gentrification in local communities. Team President Edward Kunkle received a total of three awards including Bronze in Communication Analysis, Bronze in Program Oral Interpretation, and Gold in Persuasive Speaking. Layla Ramos received Gold in Poetry Interpretation and Bronze in Communication Analysis. The team of Magdalene Jacinto and Johnny Tapia received Gold in Duo Interpretation. Erik Clerc received Bronze in After Dinner Speaking. Arthur Kozloyan received Bronze in Program Oral Interpretation. Peter Lopez Balanos received Bronze in Prose Interpretation. The combination of these individual awards resulted in ELAC having 65 team sweepstakes points edging out Kansas City Community College and Santa Rosa Community College, each with 56 points, to win the national title. Faculty members David Hale, Alixandria Lopez, and Ryan Smith coach the ELAC Speech Team and they are assisted by student coaches Chloe Romero and Thomas J. Martinez. For those interested in learning more about the ELAC Speech Team contact the Ryan Smith (SMITHRL3@elac.edu).