SMC Debate Team Shines at National Tournament

(Left to Right) SMC professor and debate team coach Brianna Broady; team captain Ben Kolodny; Nicholas Graves; Shaindi Schwebel; Kyle Lee; Baylynne Brunetti; Andrew Mishkin; and Nate Brown, debate team coach at the Phi Rho Pi national tournament.

(Left to Right) SMC Debate Team Captain Ben Kolodny (holding the team’s Silver sweepstakes award); Shaindi Schwebel; Baylynne Brunetti; Nicholas Graves (holding his Silver award for the IPDA event and Bronze for the NPDA event), Andrew Mishkin (holding his Gold for the IPDA win and Bronze for NPDA); and Kyle Lee.

Monday, April 23

Santa Monica, CA –The Santa Monica College (SMC) Debate Team won multiple awards at the Phi Rho Pi National Speech and Debate Tournament held April 9-14 in Daytona Beach, Florida.

In the National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA) debate event, the SMC team of Andrew Mishkin and Nicholas Graves won the Bronze award. Mishkin and Graves also competed in the International Public Debate Association (IPDA) event. Mishkin took the Gold award and Graves won Silver. The SMC team won the Silver sweepstakes award, in recognition of a stellar performance compared to other debate teams of the same size.

"Being on the debate team this year has been especially rewarding, and Phi Rho was the culmination of all of the time and effort that we have put into debating,” said Graves. “I couldn't ask for better teammates and coaches. Without them, there's no way that I could [have found this] success.”

Mishkin added that attending the Phi Rho Pi nationals was a “once in a lifetime experience.” “The tournament provided opportunities for both intellectual challenge and fun,” he said. “Joining the debate team has been the highlight of my time at SMC, and it was particularly rewarding to see all of our hard work pay off at the national championships.”

SMC Debate Team Captain Ben Kolodny—who won Bronze in IPDA last year at the nationals—said that the team had worked “literally hundreds of hours in practice” leading up to the nationals. “While I didn’t do as I wanted as a competitor, my team thrived. And that’s a win for any team captain,” Kolodny said.

The team’s success at the national tournament follows multiple awards at the Hornet Invitational held at Fullerton College on April 7 and also at two February tournaments: the Tabor-Venetsky Tournament at Cerritos College, and the Pacific Southwest Colleges Forensics Association which took place at California State University, Long Beach.

SMC professors Brianna Broady and Nate Brown coach the SMC Debate Team; the students also received coaching from SMC professor Luis Andrade and Pierce College professor Robert Loy for the nationals.

For more information on the Debate Team please contact Nate Brown at Brown_Nate@smc.edu. In addition to receiving support from SMC, the Debate Team has been financially supported by the Santa Monica College Foundation and the SMC Associated Students.

Phi Rho Pi, the National Junior and Community College Forensic Association and Honor Society is a non-profit organization committed to increasing knowledge and appreciation of the forensic arts at the junior and community college level. It also happens to be one of the oldest forensics organizations, and was founded by Texan Sylvia Mariner in 1927. Phi Rho Pi organizes the only full service national tournament in the United States for two-year colleges. More information is available on their website at phirhopi.org.

Santa Monica College is a California Community College accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). Santa Monica College is the leader among California’s 114 community colleges in transfers to the University of California, USC, and Loyola Marymount University. SMC also offers over 110 career-focused degrees and certificates—in fields such as Early Childhood Education, Game Design, Animation, Accounting, and many more—which prepare students for direct entry into the job market or for transfer.

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