As a Hindu girl in a Catholic school in L.A., I couldn’t help but question if my constant
bad luck was due to my belief in Hinduism. Every year, I faced disappointment when my
Spanish teacher would distribute bread on RoscaDeReyes and my roll was never the one with the sacred, baby Jesus figurine. I would try a different flavoured bread every year; I was never the one. In kindergarten, I chose the white loaf and dove into the passion to swim, but when that didn’t work out, a year later, I chose the sweet bread as I graced (correction: scarred) the tennis courts. When my attempts at hitting the ball across the net failed, I turned to brown bread as my forced piano lessons kicked into play. My success in bread-choosing correlated with my passion searches- all failures. Soon, religion was no longer a subject which was taught in my new school in Florida. The dream of ever achieving the figurine of the baby Jesus was unattainable- or so I thought.
My life pivoted as early as fourth grade when I was recruited by the Forensics Club. From interpretation to debating events, this was my true calling- my holy bread. From fourth
grade to now, there has been nothing more enjoyable to me than waking up at 5 A.M to kick on
some pantyhoes and a Hillary suit to attend a local, run-down high school or prestigious
university for a Speech and Debate tournament-- no sarcasm intended. Throughout High School, Speech and Debate has been channelled through just about every aspect of life. Through school, my speech skills aided my articulation skills from essays to presentations. Through Forensics, I was offered my first job- coaching middle school incomers with Champion Briefs Institute, fostering students to build their skills like I did with the support of my team-- my second family-- and coaches. More than anything, competing in Original Oratory has given me the opportunity to speak in front of rooms and auditoriums full of people-friends and strangers- to spread messages that are bigger than you or me and which have the scope to impact lives on a monumental scale. My trial and error passion hunt was well worth my
In an activity that demands traveling nationwide almost every weekend, I cultivated
friendships from California to the Carolinas and have been blessed to have seen so much of
America—from wild horses in Kentucky to the Chicago Bean. But what keeps the Speech
community so bound together is beyond these excursions. It’s the degree of respect that speakers from a vast array of backgrounds learn to treat one another with. Having watched each other grow from novices who just loved dressing up in suits every Saturday to young adults who take pride in the gravitas of our messages, we speakers develop a sense of compassion for all, regardless of skill or heritage.
Despite multiple absences a month, I aimed to maintain a good GPA and keep up with my schoolwork. At first, it was hard- even torturous. Sleepless nights led me to consider quitting my passion until I quickly turned around and thought, ‘Wait up. Who am I kidding?’ I had always occupied myself in chasing the “future”- my holy bread- but often forgot to live in the moment until now. I had finally found that baby Jesus, which I waited for practically my whole life; giving it up would have been surrendering life, so I took a risk, knowing that it was one worth taking. I stuck with speech for all four years of high school. Every word, life I touched and hand gesture was worth it. No regrets. Time management became something that I am proud to be adept in. Forensics indirectly gave me vast amounts of knowledge on how to balance priorities, time manage, and succeed as a student as well as the second best orator in the nation.
Let’s be honest. How often does the average Joe, or Jane of course, get the opportunity to
stand in front of a room full of people who have no other purpose than to listen to them spread a meaningful message of their choice to anyone they want. I have been fortunate enough to do it hundreds of times over the last 8 and a half years. This is my greatest wealth that no one can buy off of me. I have learned that the activity is not about the trophy at the end of it- but about using my voice to make real change.
Guided by my peers, parents, and coaches, I stood proudly as a Harvard and Bronx and
Blue Key finalist, but woefully watched as many public schools dissolved Forensics programs.
As a proud Tulane student, I continue pray for every student to develop the life skills Forensics
has to offer. As I judge novices at tournaments and mentor young debaters, I count my blessings that allow me to experience the greatest culture my Speech family and I have ever known. Always Fight For Forensics.