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SMJUHSD and the Migrant Education Speech and Debate Competition back button

More than a dozen SMJUHSD Migrant Students shined during the Migrant Education Speech and Debate Competition in Visalia on May 5th.

The students, who represented Santa Maria and Pioneer Valley High Schools, started preparing speeches, debates and other public speaking techniques in February. Those that won in the regional competition in March were invited to compete at the highest level for the Migrant program - against every district in the State of California.

“Speech and Debate require a lot of important life skills like fact-based research, public speaking, critical thought, and the ability to maintain enough open-mindedness to argue any side of complex and controversial issues,’’ said PVHS English Teacher and Debate Coach Elana Leonard. “Our students displayed a level of professionalism, intelligence, and diligence that was truly incredible to watch. We could not be more proud of what they accomplished, and cannot wait to see where this will take them in the future.’’

The region proudly returned home with five separate trophies, composed of a debate team victory as well as four individual speech participant wins. Santa Barbara County migrant students from Lompoc USD and Guadalupe’s Kermit McKenzie Junior High School also competed.

Here are the winners.

Debate: English Team, 3rd place: Sindy Valle, Opener, 11thgrade, SMHS Maricarmen Garcia, Cross Examiner, 11thgrade, SMHS. Jessica Pintor, 10thgrade, Responder, SMHS. Jenifer Lopez, 11th grade, Rebutter, SMHS Yulianna Vega, 11th grade, Closer, SMHS

Speech: Isabel Cruz, SMHS, 3rd place Franchs Hernandez, 10thgrade, PVHS, 3rd place Micaela Villa, McKenzie Jr. High, 3rd place Leslie Guia, McKenzie Jr. High, 3rd place

The Speech students were coached by Minerva Rangel, Oliva Rubulcaba, and Olga Lopez. They were assisted by Bilingual Instructional Assistant, Fernando Aguilar.

NONDISCRIMINATION POLICY: The Santa Maria Joint Union High School District is committed to ensuring equal, fair, and meaningful access to employment and education services. The SMJUHSD does not discriminate in any employment practice, education program, or educational activity on the basis and/or association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics of age, ancestry, color, disability, ethnicity, ethnic group identifications, gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, marital, family or parental status, medical condition, military or veteran status, nationality, national origin, immigration status, political affiliation, pregnancy and related conditions, race, religion, retaliation, sex (including sexual harassment), sexual orientation, or any other basis prohibited by California state and federal nondiscrimination laws respectively. Not all bases of discrimination will apply to both education services and employment. If you believe you have been subjected to discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying, immediately contact the District’s Discrimination, Equity and Title IX Compliance Officer Mr. Kevin R. Platt at 2560 Skyway Drive, Santa Maria, CA 93455, (805) 922-4573 or You may request a copy of SMJUHSD’s Uniform Complaint Procedures, Non-Discrimination Policies, Sexual Harassment Policies or click here.