The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School


The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School


The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School


Working Toward Speech and Debate Nationals

Aiming for the same goal, both law-oriented students attempt to set a new record for Gables
Gracie Luzarraga
Sara Lecon and Naomi Galex stand proudly with their speech and debate medals. They someday hope to earn a trophy.

Sitting across from each other, Sara Lecon and Naomi Galex are surrounded by law notes and case samples of possible arguments.  With each point they craft and rebuttal they practice, the intensity in the room grows. As competitors on the Coral Gables Senior High Debate Team, they argue their way to the top. Aiming to make it to nationals this year, Lecon and Galex challenge each other to succeed by performing various debate rituals.

Sara Lecon

Intended to uplift future attorneys, actors or those employed in occupations that require public speaking, speech and debate has had a life-long impact on countless students. While taking part in lively debates, students engage in a variety of speeches allowing them to find their unique voices and to gain confidence. Familiar with this experience, Lecon has been an active debate participant throughout her years at middle school and now at the high school level.  

“I’ve always been good at public speaking, so when I got the opportunity to join speech and debate, I immediately took it. The first time I ever competed for the team I got second place, but I wasn’t happy with that. I knew I had to put in more work to win. The more I practiced and the more speeches I gave, I progressed further and further. Since that first competition, I have improved tremendously, and I now get first place at every debate,” junior Lecon said.

Participating in Gables’ speech and debate since her sophomore year, Lecon is aspiring to take her love of debate further than ever before. Inspired by her teacher, Ms. Camacho, the director of speech and debate, Lecon’s goal is to receive first place at every law competition she enters. Through determination, she plans to score high enough to win not only the National Speech and Debate Association South Florida District Tournament but also the 2024 NSDA National Competition. Competing against schools such as Christopher Columbus High School, Our Lady of Lourdes Academy and Ransom Everglades High School, she is confident in her ability to defeat her opponents from different high schools.

“Ms. Camacho has helped me grow my passion for speech and debate. Without her, I don’t know if I would have ever dreamed of going to nationals. Speech and debate have connected me with so many more people, and I feel so lucky that I have the opportunity to improve my skills while enjoying the competition,” junior Lecon said.

Sara and Naomi are very dedicated to what they do inside and outside of school. They are always waiting to hear when the next competition will be, and I’m so glad that I have been able to have been able to work with them in speech and debate. I have no doubt that they will succeed in whatever they do in the future

— Ms. Camacho

Naomi Galex

Like Lecon, Galex has been a member of Gables’ speech and debate since her sophomore year. By participating in competitions, she has not only grown as a person but also as a public speaker. Because of her never-ending efforts and dedication to debate, she now leads the team as captain and president. One of her many responsibilities with her newfound position includes encouraging students to join the team and to compete in every debate for which they are eligible. 

“Through my experiences, I’ve learned how to accept defeat and to work harder to be my absolute best for the next time. It’s because of this that I’ve learned the valuable lesson: pain doesn’t destroy you, it creates you,” junior Galex said.

“Speech and debate has allowed me to broaden my horizons. I have met so many new people and made countless friends, but working with Naomi has been really special. We both share a love for debate, and because of this, we are easily able to connect and support each other,” senior Alejandro Borja said.

As the captain of speech and debate, Galex has developed leadership and communication skills. She helps to prepare the team by reassuring them with positive affirmations, going over flashcards and creating speech outlines before competitions. By doing this, she helps them gain the confidence to participate in future debates. This year, Galex has promised herself to attend every event, whether it is for the district or the state. She aims to get as much practice with public speaking as she can, as she is also an active member in Mock Trial and Model United Nations. Focused on her future career in the medical field, she is certain that her public speaking skills will help her throughout her lifetime.

“Most careers require you to have good communication skills, but especially as a doctor I will need to know how to be direct, yet compassionate with patients and their families. Speech and debate has definitely had a positive influence on my ability to speak with others. I have become so much more confident in my ability to move others with my words and my presentation. I’ve learned so much not only as a member but also as the president of the debate team. I hope to put this knowledge to good use in my future career,” junior Galex said.

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About the Contributors
Kate Kuryla
Kate Kuryla, CavsConnect Staff Writer
Kate Kuryla is a sophomore in the International Baccalaureate program who is excited to return to Cavsconnect for her second year as a staff writer. Aiming to improve since her previous year as a freshman, Kuryla is entering sophomore year with a new mindset. This past summer she was rarely home, as she was traveling to Scandinavia, Turkey and Italy. She definitely came back from her trip part Italian. She loves to try all kinds of food and listen to all types of music, but her favorite artist has to be Lana Del Rey. She hopes that maybe one day Del Rey will come to Miami on tour. When Kate is not doing schoolwork or with her friends and family, you can find her curled up in bed sleeping. She dreams of moving to New York City one day and have a cat to keep her company. Kate does not know what she will major in yet, but she believes it will be either in the medical field or law studies. She’s very indecisive. Hopefully sophomore year will guide her on the right path to success.

Gracie Luzarraga
Gracie Luzarraga, CavsConnect Staff Writer
Gracie Luzarraga is a sophomore at Coral Gables Senior High and is a part of the International Baccalaureate program. She is a first-year member of Cavsconnect and very excited to be part of the staff and see how her writing improves throughout this school year. Gracie is very ambitious and loves trying out new things as well as traveling to unfamiliar places. She values writing about her experiences, which is where her passion for writing comes from. She is a member of the swim team and various clubs. Outside of school, she enjoys spending most of her time under the sun, at the beach, baking or reading a good book. Gracie hopes to make the most of her sophomore year by giving back to the community and being as active as she can in the student body. She hopes to pursue a career in the health field one day and work with kids. Overall, Gracie looks forward to this school year and plans to continue to strive as a student.
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