GCA students bag seven golds in forensic tilt


Grace Christian Academy students bagged seven gold medals in this school year’s regional forensic arts competitions in all divisions from Kindergarten to 12th grade.

Four GCA gold medalists will join the CNMI team in the upcoming national competitions for National Junior Speech and Debate Association and National Speech and Debate Association this June in Birmingham, Alabama.

The GCA’s gold medalists were led by 12th grader Minna Natsuko Ito, who will represent the CNMI in original oratory.

This may be Ito’s last forensics competition but her best yet because she also won another two gold medals in expository speech and impromptu speech.

Ito, a veteran competitor who has been representing the islands in different categories since 6th grade, said, “Speech and debate has been such a huge part of my life, from performing Shel Silverstein’s ‘Sick’ in first grade to competing at the national level in high school. I feel so honored to represent my island in Birmingham in my last year of high school, and I will definitely work my hardest to bring pride to the CNMI.”

Another 12th grader and veteran competitor, Yujin Lee, will join Ito in the CNMI National Debate and Speech Association team after winning gold in dramatic interpretation.

“It was truly an honor to represent not only Grace Christian Academy but the CNMI for the last seven years,” said Lee.

Lee said that joining the national speech and debate competitions “has been one of the best decisions of my life, a door to a whole new world was opened for me. For my last trip, I will cherish every moment and do my best in my performances. I hope to set an example for my younger peers so that they will come to join and love the NSDA.”

GCA also has two gold medalists who will join the CNMI National Junior Speech and Debate Association team for the national competition. Both first timers at the national competition, Na Lee Christy Lee and James Alexander Keaton were excited after winning the gold medals in Lincoln-Douglas debate and extemporaneous speaking, respectively.

The 8th grader Lee said, “Joining NJSDA for the past years has honed my skills in public speaking. This year, I am honored to represent GCA in the Lincoln-Douglas debate for the regional competition. My hard work paid off, and it will truly be an awesome privilege to represent the CNMI team at the national competition in June. This trip will not only enhance my skills, but surely build memories, friendship, teamwork, and help me gain more experience that will continually help me in my future public speaking.”

Keaton, a 7th grader, was enthralled upon learning that he won the top spot in extemporaneous speaking. “Reading different articles as well as present issues helped me organized my thoughts in preparation for the competition. Truly, I am honored to represent the CNMI team in Birmingham. This event will give me more experience, meeting new friends as a team and, most importantly, to inspire others though public speaking.”

Fourth grader Tae Hee Kim, who won a gold medal in dramatic interpretation, will represent GCA at the Primary Grades Forensic Conference special banquet presentation for the PGFC gold medalists at the end of the school year. Like all the older gold medalists who started competing in PGFC competitions during their younger years, Kim has been competing since she was in kindergarten. Kim believes in the old adage “practice makes perfect,” which their PGFC coordinator Esther Manzano always tell the competitors. “I feel proud, and I think that this well-known saying is true. I also feel really blessed in my PGFC accomplishment this school year,” Kim said.

Organized by the National Forensic League board with Harold Easton as the chairman and supported by the CNMI Public School System, PGFC, NJSDA, and NSDA competitions encourage public and private school students to participate in and become proficient in the forensic arts: reading, debate, public speaking, and interpretations.

PGFC coordinators and competition registrar Esther Manzano and NJSDA/NSDA Grace Duran, together with all the GCA volunteer judges, parents, teachers, and administrators, are very proud of all their forensic competitors this year.


All of the 10 GCA competitors who competed with over a hundred 9th to 12th grade students from private and public schools at this year’s NSDA regional competition (held in March at Marianas High School) won one or more of the top major awards.

Minna Natsuko Ito
1st Place in Original Oratory
1st Place in Expository Speech
1st place in Impromptu Speech

Yujin Lee
1st Place in Dramatic
3rd Place in Story Telling
2nd Place in Prose Reading
5th Place in Poetry Reading

Sumin Melody Woo
3rd Place in Dramatic
4th Place in Poetry Reading

Arvin Dayao
2nd Place in U.S. Extemporaneous Speech
Commentary finalist

Martin Angelo Pangilinan
3rd Place in U.S. Extemporaneous Speech
Commentary finalist

Lanz Jabez Victoria
4th Place International Extemporaneous Speech
Commentary finalist
Tae Yong Kim
5th Place in Dramatic Interpretation
Semifinalist in Poetry Reading

Alice Kim, 5th Place in Duo Interpretation
Semi Finalist in Prose Reading

Sein Woo
5th Place in Duo Interpretation


Almost all of the GCA competitors who competed with over a hundred 6th to 8th grade students from private and public schools advanced to the next rounds in this year’s NJSDA regional competition (held in February at Mount Carmel School).

Na Lee Christy Lee, 1st Place in Lincoln Douglas Debate, 5th Place in Extemporaneous Speech

James Alexander Keaton, 1st Place in Extemporaneous Speech

Joyce Liv Francisco, Semi Finalist in Poetry Reading

Emily Lee, Semi Finalist in Poetry Reading

Steven Adriatico, Semi Finalist in Prose Reading

Matthew Ernest, Semi Finalist in Prose Reading

Anthony Jacob Camacho DLG, Finalist in Extemporaneous Speech

Soleil Lamar, Finalist in Duo Interpretation

Brandie Matsumoto, Finalist in Duo Interpretation

NJSDA/NSDA Coach/Coordinator- Miss Grace Duran

Over 200 Kindergarten to 5th grade students from 10 private and public schools vied for this school year’s PGFC regional awards in forensic arts: reading, public speaking, and interpretations at Grace Christian Academy last March 25, 2017.


First Round
Humorous Interpretation A
Hans Gabriel Ordas, 3rd Place
Hannah Gabaldon, 5th Place

Impromptu Speaking A
Jonathan Rosh Vivero, 2nd Place
Hans Gabriel Ordas, 3rd Place
Sofia Cariaso, 5th Place

Impromptu Speaking B
Arielle Mae Matutino, 1st Place
Min Su Andy Kim, 5th Place

Final Round

Humorous Interpretation
Hans Gabriel Ordas, 5th Place
Hannah Gabaldon, Finalist
Breanna May Lopez, Finalist
Aiyana Victory Fatialofa, Finalist

Dramatic Interpretation
Maria Sofia Gomez, 3rd Place
Breanna May Lopez, 5th Place

Impromptu Speaking
Arielle Mae Matutino, 2nd Place
Jonathan Rosh Vivero, Finalist
Hans Gabriel Ordas, Finalist
Sofia Cariaso, Finalist
Mariska Badal, Finalist
Llyana Jaira Manalang, Finalist
Min Su Andy Kim, Finalist

Readers Forum
Llyanna Jaira Manalang, Finalist

First Round

Readers Forum A
Eunice Nicole Pagaduan, 4th Place

Readers Forum Masters B
Jennifer Woo Tae, 1st Place
Ashley Ji Hye Jeon, 2nd Place

Readers Forum Masters D
Tae Hee Kim, 2nd Place

Readers Forum Masters E
Azriel Fatialofa, 1st Place
Yellena Sarang Kim, 3rd Place

Humorous Interpretation A
William Matthew Cano, 4th Place
Azriel Fatialofa, 5th Place

Humorous Interpretation B
Ashley Ji Hye Jeon, 3rd Place
Serim Woo, 5th Place

Duo Interpretation B
Moira Grace Ernest, 4th Place
Seungeun Olivia Ha, 4th Place
Impromptu Speaking A
Eunice Nicole Pagaduan, 2nd Place
Nestor Ablog Jr., 2nd Place

Impromptu Speaking B
Moira Grace Ernest, 3rd Place

Readers Forum Quarter Finals A
Jennifer Woo, 1st Place
Eunice Nicole Pagaduan, 3rd Place
Ashley Ji Hye Jeon, 5th Place
Rafael Busby, Quarter Finalist

Readers Forum Quarter Finals B
Tae Hee Kim, 2nd Place
Nestor Ablog Jr., 4th Place

Readers Forum Quarter Finals C
Kei Lizama, 4th Place
Azriel Fatialofa, Quarter
Yellena Sarang Kim, Quarter

Readers Forum Semi Finals
Ashley Ji Hye Jeon, 1st Place
Tae Hee Kim, 4th Place
Kei Lizama, 5th Place
Jennifer Woo, Semi Finalist
Angieleysha Marie Punzalan,
Semi Finalist
Eunice Nicole Pagaduan, Semi
Nestor Ablog Jr., Semi Finalist

Final Round
Dramatic Interpretation
Tae Hee Kim, 1st Place
Jennifer Woo, 4th Place

Humorous Interpretation
William Matthew Cano, Finalist
Azriel Fatialofa, Finalist
Sena Woo, Finalist
Ashley Ji Hye Jeon, Finalist
Serim Woo, Finalist
Olivia Ha, Finalist

Duo Interpretation
Moira Grace Ernest, Finalist
Seungeun Olivia Ha, Finalist

Impromptu Speaking 
Moira Grace Ernest, 3rd Place
Eunice Nicole Pagaduan, Finalist
Nestor Ablog Jr., Finalist
Alex Kim, Finalist

Readers Forum Masters
Tae Hee Kim, 2nd Place
Ashley Ji Hye Jeon, Finalist
Kei Lizama, Finalist
Jennifer Woo, Finalist
Angieleysha Marie Punzalan,

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