Just north of Santa Monica, 60 community colleges joined in some fiery debate, competing with over 400 of some of the nation’s brightest public speakers.
The Las Positas College “Talk Hawks” were among those students.
Sarah Kellner, Erica Efigenio, Kimbria Mitchell and Lauren Sampson all placed in the top three of their respective contests, representing for LPC. The team finished eighth overall.
“Half the team made it to semi-finals,” Sampson said. “It was a really good finish. These events we’ve been working on all year long, August, September, even over summer. It feels awesome to get bronze in my first year.”
Four other members competed, but didn’t end up with awards. Nonetheless, Sampson attributes some of her success to her teammates.
“It’s awesome to not only be on a team that wins, but also because everyone works hard, and it brings you up with them,” said Sampson. “Not a lot of people know about the Talk Hawks, but it’s a great team effort.”
Sampson won a bronze for informative speaking. Efigenio had similar words to offer.
“I think the reactions I had to winning my awards was a little different than what people typically feel,” Efigenio said. “I felt really accomplished because this is what we had been working towards all year but it was more of how I felt while being up to receive my award that I walked away with rather than the award itself.”
The Talk Hawks compete year round and recently returned from a tournament in Belgium. Team member Kimbria Mitchell won a bronze medal in Poetry interpretation, one of many individual events held.
“I was thrilled to receive an award because it was for my favorite event that I worked the hardest on,” Mitchell said in an email. “I did Poetry interpretation, which is a compilation of poems that are meant to shed light on a particular topic. It’s usually controversial. For example, mine was about the issues that arise during interracial relationships and how sometimes love does not conquer all.”
Kellner won a bronze in after dinner speaking and a silver in prose interpretation. Efigenio went home with bronzes in both prose interpretation and informative speaking. Others who competed were Josh Thompson, Samantha Rogers, Danielle Lim, Megan Morris and Nick Sears.
When the members speak of the events, it becomes clearly evident that all of them consider awards to be more than individual.
The words “our,” “we” and “us” are present in nearly every sentence shared with The Express.
Coach James Dobson said in a press release that “this was a fantastic year and he couldn’t be prouder of this team.”
And though the events are individual, members don’t forget to attribute the success as a team effort.
“This team is definitely the best group I’ve ever worked with,” Mitchell said. “They are supportive and inspirational. We are a family—drama and all.”