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Foundation and Principles

Our team was founded as a club at Mountain View Speech and Debate in 1989, with parent Ric Haas as head coach and five initial team members. The first Los Altos student joined us in 1999, making us a district-wide team. This makes us unique among the majority of teams, which are generally single-school. Our goal from inception has been to provide a community for all students that supports them in achieving their individual forensics goals. Those goals are wide-ranging, from conquering national championships to acquiring leadership skills to making a second home for themselves among like-minded peers. In MVLASD, we believe all of these goals are equally valuable.

A Legacy of Success

Over the years, the team has sent students to the CHSSA State Tournament, the National Speech and Debate Association (formerly National Forensics League) championships, the Tournament of Champions (KY-TOC), and the Parli TOC. Our students have been champions at the CHSSA State Tournament, the LD TOC, the Congress TOC, and the Parli TOC, as well as prestigious national tournaments such as Stanford and Yale. Multiple students each year have been designated as National Speech and Debate All-Americans based on their grades, SAT/ACT scores, NSDA points, and school recommendations. We have also produced “quad ruby” students, who have achieved the Outstanding Distinction level requiring 1000 points through competition and service, and Premier Distinction “quint ruby” students, who earned over 1500 points.

MVLASD alums have gone on to attend many notable universities, including Stanford, Berkeley, UCLA, Harvard, Yale, Brown, MIT, Univ. of Chicago, Univ. of Pennsylvania, and USC.  Our former students are using their public speaking, writing, research and logical thinking skills in a wide range of occupations, including law, journalism, software engineering, medicine, international relations, government service, and documentary film production. 

Community-Based Governance

The success of the Speech and Debate Program since its inception in 1989 is the result of many dedicated parents, teachers, former team members, and community volunteers who have given countless hours preparing students and taking them to competitions. We are especially grateful to the volunteers who have served as Head Coach: Ric Haas (parent), Karen Keefer (parent), Teri Young (community volunteer), Robert Freeman (teacher), Terese Tricamo (parent), and Sharon Moerner (parent). We are pleased to have been able to fund a Head Coach position starting in 2015, currently held by Julie Herman. The Head Coach is advised by the Advisory Committee, comprised of team parents and former MVLA coaches, and the student leadership legislature.

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