Debate coach, Mark Hernandez, brings a wealth of experience to our GSA family. With 24 years of experience as a coach and competitor, Hernandez, has earned hundreds of awards competing and has led debaters through late elimination rounds of all major national tournaments and championships. A Bay Area native, he started out from humble beginnings and at times faced homelessness. With perseverance and the guidance of MacArthur Fellow Genius recipient, Mr. Tommie Lindsey, of the James Logan Forensics Team, he developed into a highly successful competitor in policy debate and other events.
From this experience Hernandez would be inspired to begin a decorated career in marketing and sales and eventually start the Sacramento Urban Debate League for low-income, students of color where he would ultimately lead them to the Tournament of Champions. We asked him a few brief questions so that our community could get to know him a bit more.
With a background like Coach Mark's we knew he was getting inspiration from somewhere. So we asked him to name his favorite speakers of all time.
When we asked what aspects of speech that seem to be the most challenging for students, he mentioned one major issue...
We were curious if Coach Mark felt that skills learned in interpretive events provided any benefit to students in other events. Could interpretation help debaters debate?
At the Golden State Academy we know tournaments can be challenging and intimidating. As tournaments are ramping up we wanted to see if he could offer advice. Coach Mark provided suggestions to students going into competitions and offered advice about research, vocabulary and current events.
We want parents and students concerned about tournaments to know that, even with a successful career in speech and debate, Coach Mark had to start somewhere. With the help of his coaches and the courage to push forward, he has made a name for himself. Some of his notable accomplishments include the East African country of Uganda consulting with Hernandez on the application of a nationwide debate curriculum as well as formatting the first ever Presidential debate.
At the Golden State Academy we are committed to working with each and every student to realize their potential in speech and debate as a tool they can use to accomplish their goals. Check out more on Coach Mark as well as other award winning coaches here.
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