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[home page last updated  7/15/23]

Click this link to be taken to the latest pics, results & defining moments:
Velásquez Academy – Results Page
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Velásquez Academy – Triumphant & Enduring Diversity  (iCloud Album)

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Thank you for visiting our web site! Even though our squad has had the absurd good fortune of producing FIFTEEN NSDA national champions, FORTY-FOUR national finalists and TWENTY-THREE California State Champions in just the last eight years, we tend to update this site haphazardly, mostly pictures on the Results page as the year goes by and the final spots at the end of each school year. On this page and others, you will find info about our philosophy and deeper detail on our many winners, though we define winning more broadly than most speech academies. Along with our state and national champions, we call “winners” whomever dares to think independently and incessantly strive for new personal bests. Those who overcome fear and the defy the allure of complacency are those we celebrate and proudly remember as “winners.”

National Champions Hall of Fame

2022-2023 School Year

8th Grader Natalie Chen and 7th Grader Hannah Yang respectively win the 14th & 15th NSDA National Championships since 2015 for Velásquez Academy!!!

Velásquez Academy kids left their mark on the 2023 NSDA National Middle School Championship in Phoenix, Arizona. Not only did they produce another two National Champions for our squad, but they placed five Finalist entries into the Top 4, three others were painfully 7th (the next step from becoming a Top 6 Finalist), eleven entries into the National Top 10 and seventeen different entries made the Top 14 of the United States for this year. Scintillating. Though not all made the group picture, these were their names and placements: 1st Place) Natalie Chen – Declamation 1st Place) Hannah Yang – Informative 3rd Place) Samuel Ma – Impromptu 3rd Place) Samuel Ma – Extemp 4th Place) Natalie Chen – Informative 7th Place) Arshia Gottipaty – Declamation 7th Place) Hannah Yang – Impromptu 7th Place) Arshia Gottipaty – Orig Oratory 10th Place) Ovee Dharwadkar – Orig Oratory 10th Place) Maya Lian – Impromptu 10th Place) Max Peng – Humorous 11th Place) Maya Lina – Informative 12th Place) Alice Chen – Impromptu 13th Place) Ovee Dharwadkar – Drama 13th Place) Angel Song – Extemp 13th Place) Samuel Ma – Declamation 14th Place) Zimeng Dou – Humorous
After winning five national titles (Top MS Team, Top MS Speaker, MS Declamation, MS Congressional Debate, MS Drama) and taking 2nd Place in ELEVEN other categories, Velásquez Academy pulled off the 4-Peat and won the NOF Middle School Team Championship for the fourth year in a row, shattering the record for most points at an NOF Nationals, nearly doubling the total of the second closest team. So, of the 20 categories we submitted entries for, we placed 1st or 2nd in FOURTEEN categories, 3rd in three others and placed Top 5 in 19 out of 20 categories at a National Championship Invitational. Easy to say but hard to do in the context of other talented kids and teams participating and preparing well. We are humbled at our good fortune.

Velásquez Academy swept ALL THREE of the major Middle School team championships it attempted to win: the 2023 NOF National Championship, the 2023 SCJFL State Championship and the 2023 West Covina Unified State Championship
2023 Middle School Tournament of Champions: Velasquez 8th Grader Samuel Ma places 1st in Extemp and 4th in Impromptu, while 7th Grader Hannah Yang places 1st in Impromptu and 2nd in Informative!!! Two TOC Champions is an incredible honor to have in one year. What a luxury to field such brilliant speakers!

2023 SCJFL Middle School CA State Championship: Velásquez Academy shatters the record for the most points won by a team by winning ELEVEN titles (e.g. Top Team, Top Speaker, Drama, Declamation, Informative, Extemp, Original Oratory, World Schools Debate, Prose, Speech to Entertain) and placing 2nd in two others. (Spar Debate & Congressional Debate). We doubled the points total of the nearest team and failed to place 1st or 2nd in only two of the categories that we competed in.

At the 2023 CHSSA Middle School State Championship, Velásquez kids were indelible by taking:
1st, 2nd & 6th Place in Declamation/Oratorical Interpretation
1st & 3rd Place in Extemporaneous Speaking
1st Place in Informative Speaking
2nd, 4th & 6th Place in SpAr Debate
2nd, 5th & 6th Place in Impromptu Speaking
3rd Place in Dramatic Interpretation
3rd Place in Original Oratory/Platform
5th Place in Congressional Debate

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2021-2022 School Year

Sophomores Elizabeth Vassantachart and Lauren Velasquez-Galvez respectively place FIRST and SIXTH in the nation in Prepared Commentary!!

Velásquez Academy won Gold in High School SpAr Debate, Elementary School Congressional Debate as well as Middle School SpAr Debate, Congressional Debate, Declamation, Impromptu, Informative, Extemporaneous, Prose Interpretation, Top Overall Speaker and Top Overall Team at the 2022 NOF (National Online Forensics) National Championship!!!

Velásquez Academy won 1st Places in Congressional Debate, Impromptu Speaking, Prose Interpretation, Top Overall Speaker and Top Overall Team at the 2022 SCJFL Middle School State Championship, as well as 1st Places in Middle School Impromptu, Drama, Declamation, Extemporaneous and Elementary School Informative, Impromptu, SpAr, Declamation, Storytelling and Top Overall Speaker at the 2022 SCJFL SoCal Championship!!!

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2020-2021 School Year

Velásquez-Liangyi Leadership Academy 1st Place Awards 2020-21

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Velásquez-Liangyi 9th Grader Places FIFTH in Impromptu at NSDA NATIONALS!!!

Velásquez-Liangyi wins an incredible 10 CHSSA 2021 Middle School State Championships!!

2021 CHSSA MS State Awards reduced
Velásquez Academy won 1st Places in Original Oratory, Dramatic Interpretation, Declamation/Oratorical Interpretation, Informative Speaking, Big Questions Debate, Original Advocacy, Original Prose & Poetry, Top Overall Speaker and Top Overall Team at the 2021 CHSSA (California High School Speech Association) Middle School State Championship Tournament!!!

Velasquez-Liangyi 11th & 9th Graders Place 1st AND 2nd at CA State in Informative!!!

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T
he most NSDA Speaker Points in U.S. history by an elementary school student!!

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2019-2020 School Year

Velasquez-Top Education 1st Place Awards 2019-20 (before COVID-19)

Velásquez-Liangyi YLA 1st Place Awards 2019-20 (after COVID-19)

The COVID-19 Pandemic caused forensics to go online for Nationals at the High/Middle/Elementary School levels and we managed to hold Middle School State online as well in California. We picked up four more State Champions (SpAr, Impromptu, Declamation and Speech to Entertain) and got 19 students to Middle School National Finals. Since the NSDA officially declared all finalists tied, other academies started claiming they had a bunch of national champions last year. We dislike hyperbole, so we refused to do that. Instead, we got our pencils out and summed up the cumulative ranks of all competitors. Below, we are pictorially showcasing our five students who took 1st Place in all rounds of their events, but our calculations indicate that we had 14 students finish in the Top 5 of the United States in their events, with four of them being the “low cume” and TRUE National Champions in their event. All hail Katelyn Ma in Congressional Debate (11 points, meaning 1st Place from 9 out of 10 judges, the top overall score at Nationals), Adrian Baek in Extemporaneous Speaking (12 points and the second national crown for Baek, who won Congress in 2019 and placed 2nd in 2020), Isaiah Sohn in Declamation and 7th Grader Cat-Tam Huynh in Humorous Interpretation. Out of thousands of students, these four earned four of the six best scores at the 2020 National Championship, and we beam with joy at their excellence, integrity and historic mark.

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7th Grd Adrian Baek, 2019 State & Nat’l Champ in Congressional Debate! CA Results: Congress-1st, Declamation-5th, Impromptu & Info, 7th
Yahoo News lists ’19 National Champion mid. school students & coaches
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Velasquez 7th Grader Joie Zhang (tutored in LD by Academy of Higher Learning) takes 1st Place in debate at Nationals in 2017!
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7th Grd Carly Granda, 2016 National Champion in Informative Speaking!
CA Career: State Finalist in Informative & Congressional Debate (twice)
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8th Grd Jack Xiao,  2015 State & Nat’l Champion – Congressional Debate!
CA Results: Congress (1st), Finalist in Extemporaneous & Original Oratory
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National Finalists Hall of Fame

2016 8th Grader Dorothy Vassantachart: Tied for 1st in the US in both Impromptu & Original Oratory (but tie broken down to 3rd in each). Our second to advance in four events at one Nationals and the first to do so at State! CA career: 1st in Impromptu & Oratory. 2nd in Declamation (twice), Poetry & Impromptu. 4th in Congressional Debate & Poetry. Retired with the second most NSDA career speaker points in the nation to that point. Wow.

2021 8th Grader Evelyn Tsoi: 2nd in the US in both Impromptu & Spoken Word Poetry. Placed 1st at the Middle School Tournament of Champions in Declamation and 3rd in Impromptu! CA career: 1st in SpAr Debate & Declamation, 2nd in Impromptu, 3rd in Original Oratory and Top Overall Speaker! In her only year with VA, she amassed over 500 NSDA speaker points. Her senior year was one of the most impressive ever, clearly.

Evelyn 2021 Awards

2018 6th Grd Lizzie Vassantachart: 3rd in the U.S. in Declamation (one rank short of a three-way tie for 1st Place) & 14th in Prose Interpretation! CA career: 1st in Informative, 2nd in Declamation, Finalist in Congress

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2015 8th Grd Rachel Kho: 4th in Prose, 8th in Duo, 12th in Declamation!
CA Career: Drama-2nd, Duo-2nd & 3rd, Finalist in Declamation & Prose

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Catherine Tanidjaja: 7th (Oratory), 8th (Duo), 8th (Declamation), 22nd (Storytelling) in 2015. Our first to advance in four events at one Nats!
CA Career: Declamation (1st), Original Oratory (2nd), Duo (2nd & 3rd)

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2019: 8th Grd Jaden Wee – 6th in Declamation, 12th in Storytelling. Our second to quadruple-advance at State! CA results: Declamation (2nd), Storytelling (4th), Humorous (5th), SpAr Debate (6th), all as a rookie!

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2015 8th Grd Christian Sim – Finalist in Congressional Debate. Second in California (2014), CA Finalist in 2015. 5th Most Speaker Points in the U.S.

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6th Grader Lizzie Vassantachart amazes everyone by taking First Place  & Fourth Place in beating 12th Graders from all over the country at the 2018 National High School Invitational at Stanford University!

2018-2019 School Year:

Middle School (top placements only):
1st in U.S. – Congressional Debate
6th in the U.S. – Declamation
12th in U.S. – Storytelling

2019 U.S. Middle School Speech & Debate Championship Results

1st in California – Congressional Debate 
2nd in California – Declamation
3rd in California – Congressional Debate
4th in California – Humorous Interpretation
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th in California – Expository Speaking
5th in California – Declamation
6th in California – Spontaneous Argumentation
6th in California – Storytelling
7th in California – Impromptu Speaking
7th in California – Declamation
2019 California State Middle School Championship Results


2017-2018 School Year:

Middle School (top placements only):
3rd in U.S. – Declamation
14th in U.S. – Storytelling

2018 U.S. Middle School Speech & Debate Championship Results

1st in California – Informative 
3rd in California – Declamation
3rd in California – Informative
6th in California – Duo

10th in California – Congressional Debate
2018 California State Middle School Championship Results


2016-2017 School Year:

Middle School (top placements only):
1st in U.S. – LD Debate (LD guidance by Academy of Higher Learning)
Top 9 (tie) in U.S. – Original Oratory
Top 11 (tie) in U.S. – Original Oratory
Top 12 in U.S. – Congressional Debate
Top 28 in U.S. – Declamation
2017 U.S. Middle School Speech & Debate Championship Results

1st in California – Original Oratory
2nd in California – Declamation (5th Grader)
4th in California – Congressional Debate
4th in California – Declamation
5th in California – Prose Interpretation (5th Grader)
6th in California – Dramatic Interpretation
6th in California – Informative Speaking
6th in California – Original Oratory
6th in California – Congressional Debate
6th in California – Declamation
6th in California -Prose Interpretation (5th Grader)
7th in California – Congressional Debate
7th in California – Declamation
7th in California – Prose Interpretation (5th Grader)
8th (tie) in California – Impromptu Speaking
8th (tie) in California – Declamation
8th in California – Prose Interpretation (5th Grader)
9th in California – Prose Interpretation
10th in California – Informative Speaking (5th Grader)
10th in California – Prose Interpretation (5th Grader)
2017 California Middle School Speech & Debate Tournament Results


2015-2016 School Year:

Middle School (top placements only):
1st in the United States – Informative Speaking
3rd in the United States – Impromptu Speaking
3rd in the United States – Original Oratory
7th in the United States – Informative Speaking
12th in the United States – Declamation
2016 U.S. Middle School Speech & Debate Championship Results

1st in California – Original Oratory
2nd in California – Declamation
3rd in California – Impromptu Speaking
3rd in California – Informative Speaking
4th in California – Informative Speaking
5th in California – Informative Speaking
6th in California – Poetry Interpretation
8th in California – Congressional Debate
8th (tie) in California – Declamation
10th in California – Congressional Debate
2016 California Middle School Speech & Debate Tournament Results


2014-2015 School Year:

Middle School (top placements only):
1st in the United States – Congressional Debate
4th in the United States – Prose Interpretation
7th in the United States – Original Oratory
8th in the United States – Duo Interpretation
8th in the United States – Congressional Debate
9th in the United States – Declamation
10th in the United States – Declamation
2015 U.S. Middle School Speech & Debate National Championship (full results link)

1st in California – Congressional Debate
1st in California – Declamation
2nd in California – Dramatic Interpretation
2nd in California – Poetry Interpretation

3rd in California – Duo Interpretation
4th in California – Congressional Debate
4th in California – Declamation
4th in California – Extemporaneous Speaking
5th in California – Original Oratory
5th in California – Congressional Debate
6th in California – Dramatic Interpretation
6th in California – Declamation
7th in California – Congressional Debate
7th in California – Impromptu Speaking
8th in California – Congressional Debate
9th in California – Original Oratory
9th in California – Congressional Debate
10th in California – Impromptu Speaking
10th in California – Declamation
2015 California Middle School Speech & Debate State Championship (full results link)


2013-2014 School Year:

Middle School (top placements only):
13th in the United States – Original Oratory
16th in the United States – Declamation
20th in the United States – Congressional Debate
22nd in the United States – Duo Interpretation
2014 U.S. Middle School Speech & Debate National Championship (full results link)

1st in California – Impromptu Speaking
2nd in California – Congressional Debate
2nd in California – Original Oratory
2nd in California – Dramatic Interpretation
2nd in California – Declamation

4th in California – Congressional Debate
5th in California – Duo Interpretation
5th in California – Congressional Debate
2014 California Middle School Speech & Debate State Championship (full results link)


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The new year has already seen amazing performances and 1st Place performance from nearly everyone on the team! We are proud to produce champions at every grade level, which can easily be kept track of here: www.velasquezacademy.com/results

The year started off with a bang with Hilda Velasquez-Galvez finally getting her points properly reflected and zooming to #1 in Western Los Angeles County and #2 in California among ALL speakers over the last three years. Amazing job Hilda!

Hilda #1 in Western Los Angeles County Hilda #2 of 40 in CA

2014-2015 School Year:

The YouTube playlists below are edited filmings of our middle school awards from 1) Fall 2014 (1st Places only), 2) Nationals in June 2015  (our seven entries in the National Top 10, including Rachel Kho taking 4th in Prose and Jack Xiao taking 1st in Congress) 3) Fall 2014 all trophy recipients, including many that came against high school competitors):

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