Welcome to the CHSSA Coach’s Corner. This blog will be updated by members of the CHSSA council with materials for the classroom, to help build your competitive teams, and to provide insight into what coaches across the state are doing. Look out for new information to be added throughout the school year.
Historian - CHSSA
Hall of Fame Memories
In a Hall of Fame career there will be many ups and downs. Three CHSSA Hall of Famers have shared a few of their “ups”
Current CHSSA President Reed Niemi (CHSSA class of 2011) remembers:
“The only way to survive as a forensics participant is to be able to reflect back and laugh. Our activity is not easy. However, when looking back through the years (okay, decades) one event that sticks out to me occurred during the first day of the state tournament in 2003 in San Bernardino, while I was serving as Vice President of Activities. At the time, hosts still had a large requirement to provide judges, and the last round of Friday night we were short about 35 judges. I figured the only way to actually run the round was to empty the tab rooms, and pull in as many coaches as possible that were not assigned a round. What was most impressive to me at the time was the fact that not a single coach turned down a ballot and all three tab rooms and both judge houses, emptied their workers for a ballot (including pit-bosses). As some of the most impressive judge panels I have ever seen (Brasher, Montgomery, Cummings, Ballingall, Cardoza, Underwood, Kamel, Green, Keller-Firestones) walked out to their rounds, I was left alone in charge of both judge houses and all three tab rooms in complete silence and solitude. Besides the historic moment in the most qualified and successful coaches in the state taking prelim ballots (if I recall, Chuck judged impromptu with Mr. Underwood, for instance), the fact that all the renowned coaches stepped up to the request, without a single, “I can’t”, or “I don’t want to”, showed me firsthand the commitment of coaches around the state to do whatever was necessary to assure the students had their experience at state. It was refreshing, invigorating, and definitely one of the funniest experiences I can remember while directing the state tournament.”
Students of most recent inductee (2017) Mikendra McCoy have some lighter memories to share about this dynamic woman.
Chris Colfer: “Food was the core of our team … we had everyone bring snacks, and for some reason, you would forget your script, but you had your snack with you … so we were certainly the team to make friends with … but there was no greater moment that showed dedication, necessary craziness and the need for sustenance then the time that you walked us through the In and Out drive through at 12:30 in the morning, because the lobby was closed and we were on a bus …now that is “…what a memory is all about!”
David Matley (CHSSA class of 2012) has some lighter memories from Nationals.
Stay tuned for more updates from our Hall of Fame coaches.
CHSSA VP Activities
VP Activities Updates 2018
The beautiful thing about the California High School Speech Association is that all of us, regardless of our position or tenure, stand on the shoulders of the giants who came before us.There is no problem that exists, or circumstance in front of us, that has not already been solved by someone else in some other time. Knowing that, I would be remiss if I did not take a moment to recognize our outgoing Vice President of Activities, Nermin Fraser. For 13 years, Nermin served CHSSA, with a dedicated focus always on what is best for our kids and coaches. As a coach, I spent years standing in awe of Nermin’s calm, measured, masterful management of all things State and, now that I have had the chance to peek behind the curtain and step into her shoes, I can not even fully describe the respect I have for everything she did. The debt of gratitude CHSSA owes Nermin for her years of dedication is innumerable; after all, it is the hard work of people like Nermin that affords our organization the opportunity to touch so many lives. Thank you, Nermin.
Today, our students face unprecedented challenges that speech and debate educators are uniquely suited to help with. Our community is inspiring in its resolve, but that integrity, character, and service is not just limited to our coaches. In a time characterized by political strife, cultural division, and a rapidly changing social landscape, it is increasingly important to celebrate the positive leaders and role models of tomorrow. At our 2018 State Championship Tournament, the California High School Speech Association is introducing a new way to honor those deserving students who have demonstrably gone above and beyond the competitive elements of this activity: the CHSSA Student of the Year. Our annual Student of the Year award is intended to honor individuals who set outstanding examples in terms of their leadership, dedication, creativity, and service, both in forensics and in their greater communities as well.
There have been many debates about what exactly CHSSA ought to be. While I will never be so presumptuous to assume to know the answer, I do know that lately, when I am faced with a conflicted choice, I ask myself three questions. Does this help students? Does this help coaches? Does this make the State Tournament better? These three questions are the same that have guided every good decision this organization has ever made. We are carrying on a proud tradition as we both honor and expand on the work of the forensics giants who came before us. If we remain principled and productive, I know we will do them- and thousands of young, future leaders- proud
Congress Committee - Chair
Congress Committee - Member
Congress Committee - Member
Congress Update 2018
Student Congress serves a unique role in forensics competition as it brings together the skills of both speech and debate in a real world setting. In today’s political climate the ability to listen, interpret and respond to each other through civil discourse is paramount. As we move forward, the CHSSA Congress Committee will continue to seek ways to improve the quality of discussion and debate in Congress.
Our three main priorities for improving discourse in Congress at the State Tournament involve accountability and integrity in use of evidence, greater use of communication technology and the streamlining of rules and procedures to be consistent with local, state and national tournaments.
Honesty and integrity are of utmost importance in legislative debate. Clear guidelines regarding use and citation of evidence are key to upholding these values. We recently established Article XIII, Section 17 in the CHSSA By-Laws to lay the foundation for use and misuse of evidence in Congress. These principles will be further clarified in our Congress Manual distributed to all state qualifiers.
Modernization of Congress through greater use of technology keeps Congress relevant to today’s generation and provides a greater opportunity for students to participate, listen and respond.
Our recent by-law revision regarding the use of computers in congress allows Congress competitors to better organize and access evidence during the round. We will also continue to incorporate technology so that students have a greater voice in the determination of timely legislation that reflects issues important to them and society.
Consistency of rules and procedures across local, state and national organizations provides greater ability for new students to access the activity in a meaningful way. The recent addition of precedence and recency in determining speech priority is consistent with speech priority used at many invitationals and national championship tournaments. We will continue to work to streamline Congress procedures to align CHSSA with leagues and national organizations.
As we continually strive to ensure that Congress provides students with an engaging, relevant and purposeful legislative forum, we are dedicated to make this event one where they can achieve their highest potential as speakers and leaders in a democratic society.
CHSSA IE Committee - Chair
IE Committee Update
One can tell it is state qualifier time in California by a few hallmark signs. Highlighters become a treasured commodity and students become aggressively protective of one color. Speechies across the state are accessing Purdue Owl at rates high enough to crash the system and coaches are scrounging the staff lounge for a dropped copy code. League presidents seemingly disappear into prisons made of paper and drain their measly bank accounts to pay for endless postage. Area chairs start booking chiropractic appointments for back issues caused by lugging around fifty pounds of paper. All this in the name of scripts. From student to coach to league president all the way up to area chair, participants in CHSSA will report that scripts are the most stressful part of state qualifiers. (Unless you talk to a policy debater. They will claim that it is recutting their Trump DA every week…sad.)
The IE committee will be discussing possible solutions to this problem at the CHSSA meeting. We will be working on a proposal to eliminate area chair vetting and put the responsibility on student and coach. Leagues already bear the responsibility of script legality and face the consequences of an illegal script. Other proposals look at the possibility of electronic script transporting in the future. Ultimately, our first goal is to solve the issue of students being disqualified after three adults approve it. As the individual event committee we will work towards a solution to empower students and coaches to produce quality scripts that represent their hard work at the state champs tournament.
Congratulations to Gay Brasher!
Leland High School coach, and CHSSA Hall of Fame member Gay Brasher has been in education for over fifty years. In that time she has changed countless students’ lives, impacted thousands of coaches’ careers, and achieved success at the highest level. In recognition of her excellence the National Communication Association awarded her the 2016 Marcella E. Oberle Award for Outstanding Teaching in grades K-12. Congratulations to Gay for this exceptional recognition. You are a valued member of the CHSSA community, and we can’t wait to see what you do next.