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Seniors of CPS: Teddy G.

Updated: Apr 30, 2023

Teddy G., Senior — Interview conducted by Angela Wang

Wednesday, March 8th, 2023, 12:26: I look around for my interviewee as lunch comes to a close. Above the crowd, I spot him walking from the student center. I click record. “Welcome, Teddy.” The interview has begun…

Angela: If you could choose only one song to play every time you walk into a room, what song would it be?

Teddy: One song? I don't know… definitely something like Green Day.

Angela: That's a good band.

Teddy: Yeah, it's a really great band. "Jesus of Suburbia".

Angela: Nice! I like "Holiday". What is something unique about you that your classmates might not know?

Teddy: Some of you might not know, some subsect of them will know this, but for several years I was doing like a board game design studio. And I did several games that got sold and stuff. I'm very into board games.

Angela: Oh, wow. What kind of board games do you create?

Teddy: Like strategy games. I like asymmetric modular games.

Angela: What are some examples of the kinds of board games that you play?

Teddy: One good example of an asymmetric game is Route. It's a good game. It's like factions in the woods battling for dominance. It's sort of modular, but not really. A good example of a modular game and probably Istanbul. Istanbul is a fun one. It's pretty good.

Angela: Looking back at your experience at CPS, what is something you'll never forget?

Teddy: Hm... What is something I'll never forget about CPS? Probably the first time I went to like a debate tournament. During freshman year I went to like the very first debate tournament that was offered. And it was I think it was Long Beach—CSU. And it was just such a fun experience. It was sort of the first time I'd ever really done like super competitive debate activity and I really fell in love with that.

Angela: What was it about it that really intrigued you?

Teddy: Yeah, well, so I do Extemporaneous speeches so it’s like 30 minutes of research and memorizing this seven-minute speech, and the adrenaline rush—trying to put everything together in that time—is super fun. But everyone is sort of self-selected and you know, works in a very similar way on a wide range of issues. So I've had debates in preparation for the extemp that have gone from the war in Taiwan to egg prices to like Russia, Ukraine, arms sales in like the span of like two minutes. So you get very all-over-the-place discussions so far.

Angela: You seem to be very knowledgeable about current events.

Teddy: Yeah, I mean, it's Extemp, you need to sort of know about pretty much everything that's happening in the world.

Angela: So could you walk us through the process of when you're researching in that 30 minutes, and also what you do on a day-to-day basis?

Teddy: Yeah, for sure. So when you get your question, the first thing I do comes from my answer to my three points and sort of what we call the substructure like what we want the parts of the point to do. We might want what we call the A of the point, or the first part of it, to sort of set up a goalpost about for example, how the American military is aiding the Central African Republic. Then the B would be sort of like a knockdown like, "oh, the US is failing because like the US effort isn't like doing anything or helping a problem" or whatever. And so that's sort of the first thing that I do, and like sort of the first thirty seconds to one minute of it, that is just sort of finding sources that have the stuff you already know at a certain point. And stuff is very much about like knowing everything outside of the round of the ages and finding the sources to find like the specific statistics—the things you already know once you stepped into the room. And so on a day-to-day basis outside, I read a lot of news. I got to keep up with everything and do the practice.

Angela: Oh, I see, I see. Have you had a background in Extemp prior to coming to CPS?

Teddy: No. So I did Model UN when I was in middle school. And so that's sort of similar but very different. So I was already sort of thinking about the high school speech and debate landscape when I came to College Prep. And I definitely knew that I wanted to get involved, but I didn't know anything about stuff. And at the time that I came to College Prep, there wasn't anyone doing Extemp. And when I came to College Prep, I was sitting in the back of the room basically we're learning about like Policy debate or whatever. And I was incredibly bored. But I was on the National Speech and Debate Association's website and I was sort of flicking through the events, and Extemp really caught my eye and so I decided to go to the first tournament of the year. I never did anything else.

Angela: What would you say is a tip that you would give her like a key point for success when giving Extemporaneous speeches?

Teddy: Yeah, it's really important to understand what the advocacy you want to convey is because there's a tendency in speech and debate to sort of engage with it as if it's like the smartest person in the room competition. And to some extent, it tends to be the smartest people in the room. But the way you win is by having, like, clear, persuasive storytelling. It's important to understand, like, oh, not just like, you know, technically the United States might not be helping the Central African Republicans fight against terrorism. Instead, how in particular is the US letting down the commitments that we've made overseas, the people of the country, and so by doing that storytelling, you can sort of unlock a lot more, you know, emotional appeal, and sort of how we tie the very dry statistics and facts exactly the real world. Because people care a lot more about kids dying in Yemen than they do about the geopolitical situation of the Arabian Peninsula, as they should.

Angela: I guess that leads us to our fourth question, what are you looking forward to in the future?

Teddy: Um, let's see. So I'm looking forward to a lot obviously, the end of high school is a very big transition going off into college. I'm really looking forward to in a very similar vein, seeing sort of what the speech and debate landscape looks like in college, because speech and debate is very, very big in college. There's a lot less pressure because in high school, if like speech and debate is like the main thing that you do, like what college you get into, like, we'll depend on how you place at, you know, national championships, your junior year, they'll depend on whether you get invited to MBA your senior year. It'll depend on, you know, all sorts of these very high-pressure things. Whereas in college, I mean, like, if you're going for a job they don't care about it if you're going to grad school they don’t really care about it. So it's really just people who are really passionate about it. It's a lot more low-pressure, so I mean, that's definitely something I'm interested in: the culture shift.

Angela: I see. If you say thank you to one room and CPS which one would it be one room and see?

Teddy: Yeah, let's see. Wow, this is really turning into, on my part, a very one-sided interview, but I'm gonna have to say the debate room. Yeah, no, I'm really only talking about one thing but I mean, you know, I think the debate room there's a sort of, you know, stayed the same. We've had a lot of changes on the College Prep campus over my four years. Obviously, we have very nice new Hill buildings right here. But the speech and debate rooms stayed mostly the same, I mean, you can see right now we have the certificates all up on the walls of all the freshmen and sophomores. So that's cool, but you know, I went to my first Policy class there.

Angela: Right. I guess in order to make this less one-sided, would you say your second favorite room?

Teddy: Yeah, I suppose like, I have to say the second debate room.

Angela: *laughs*

Teddy: Let's see, I don't know. Probably the Learning Center. I just spent a lot of time there. You know, that's sort of where I go. I do my homework during lunch and free periods or whatever there, hang out. So that's more of a well-rounded perspective. I guess that's where you could find me.

Angela: All right. Our last question is what do you feel like you have accomplished?

Teddy: Well, first of all, obviously, I'm very proud of debate, you know, all my accomplishments. Very proud that I'm the chair of the Libertarian Caucus.

Angela: Would you like to talk more about that? That's really interesting.

Teddy: Yeah, for sure. So I joined the LIC in like, sophomore year. So I was looking for like a, you know, the younger crowd to get involved within the party. And so I realized there wasn't really anyone in California because we started like, all the way out in Virginia. So I started the California chapter where I became the Pacific Regional Representative. And then I became the vice chair, then I ran and got elected to the chair last summer. And so I've been, you know, running sort of the relaunch of the organization and, you know, making it integrating the board, the Libertarian Party, getting more chapters set up all that stuff.

Angela: What is the nitty-gritty of what you do, like what does it mean to be a part of the Libertarian Party?

Teddy: Yeah, well, I do a lot of different stuff like for campaigns, but in terms of the OYC most of what I do is just sort of like top-level management. For example, right now we have like five national committees, and so I'm you know, making sure the affiliate support committee is bidding up the materials that we promised to our affiliates. I'm making sure that our fundraising committee is meeting their targets and making sure that like we have, I meet with the Chair of the National Party, like once a month to go over everything. So it's a lot of just sort of like making sure that like all the pieces stay together.

Angela: I see. It was good talking to you, Teddy! Thank you for the interview.

Teddy: Thank you so much.


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