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Speech and Debate (Forensics) Team


Develop your communication skills with the LAVC Forensics team!

The nationally ranked Los Angeles Valley College Forensics Team cordially invites you to check out our Speech and Debate program! We travel to tournaments across the country competing against hundreds of other colleges and universities, and we have frequently placed in top honors in many national tournaments.

Contact Us

To get more information about the speech team, contact one of the coaches or

stop by the squad room, located in Bungalow 24.


Coach: Duane Smith (818) 778-5537

Coach: Josh Miller (818) 947-2981

Coach: Kevin Briancesco


Frequently asked questions about the LAVC Speech Team


Why is speech competition called Forensics?

Forensics is a Greek term and means the study of argumentation.


What are the requirements to join?

The LAVC Forensics team is open to all part-time or full-time students regardless of major or area of study. You do not need to be adept at public speaking to join.


Do I have to be good at public speaking to join? I get really nervous speaking in front of people.If you are adept at speaking in front of an audience and have no problems speaking, we want you to join. 

If you are not good with public speaking, get nervous, anxious, but want to get better, we DEFINITELY want you to join. There

is no better way to improve speaking skills (or any skill) then with practice, and in forensics, you will definitely get practice.


I have never debated, acted or spoke in public before. Will I do well?

Some of our most successful speakers had little to no speaking experience, and some even had speech issues such as stuttering and impediments. But they got there from lots of practice and coaching. So long as you are willing to put in the work required, there is no limit to your success potential.


Will competing take a lot of my time?
It depends on what you want to get out of it, but generally, yes. But it has been our experience that the time becomes worth it, once you start winning trophies.


Where do we compete?

Most tournaments are at local community colleges and universities. We prepare each year for our national tournament which, is held in a different location each year. Past national tournaments have been held in Chicago, San Francisco, Florida, and New Orleans.


Do I have to register for classes to compete?

Yes, you need to be enrolled in Speech 106 and 137. You also must join the Valley College Associated Student Union if you have not already done so during registration.


What are the benefits if joining the speech team?

There are many benefits to competition. You will:

1) Learn debate, public speaking and, acting skills.

2) Build your resume. Employers and universities are impresses by people who have competed in speech;

3) Increase your social scene. Speech is a social event where you have a great team to hang out with. You will also meet talented people from across the country.

4) Develop research and writing skills.

5) Overall, you will become a better communicator!


I get nervous just thinking about giving speeches. Will I do well?

Yes, if you work with your coaches. Most everyone gets nervous before they speak.


What are the events I can compete in?

There are four categories of events:


Platform Speaking: Also referred to as Public Address events. These speeches are researched and written by the students and should all 8-10 minutes long. There are four platform speeches: Persuasive, Informative Speaking , Speech to entertain a.k.a. After Dinner Speaking, and Communication Analysis or Rhetorical Criticism:


Oral Interpretation Events: Oral interpretation (or interp) is close to, but is not, acting. These events are great for actors, or those who want to be actors. There are five categories of acting events: Prose Interpretation, Poetry Interpretation, Dramatic Interpretation, Duo Interpretation, and Program Oral Interpretation (or POI).


Limited Preparation Events: These events are prepared and delivered within a set amount of time. There are two limited preparation events: Extemporaneous Speaking and Impromptu Speaking.


Debate Events: There are two general categories of debate: policy and parliamentary. In policy debate students debate the same topic all year long and in parliamentary style, the students debate a different topic each rounds of competition.