The continuity and success of the El Cerrito High School Forensics program depends completely on the ongoing participation and support of the parents, guardians and/or relatives of students who participate in the Speech & Debate Team. The program receives no financial support from the West Contra Costa Unified School District – the costs of coaching, tournament fees, and materials are paid for with funds that have to be raised by the students and their families. Similarly, participation in tournaments requires that the students be transported to those locations, and each participating team is required to provide judges for most tournaments. Parents must step forward to transport students and judge at tournaments if the program is to function. That is how it has been since 1965 when the program started.
The Friends of El Cerrito Forensics (“FOECF”) is the non-profit parent group that exists to raise money for the program, and to organize the transportation and provide the judges necessary for the team to participate in tournaments. Parent participation and support is funneled through FOECF. Specifically, parents are expected to:
Donate funds to help pay for tournament registration fees and coaching. This year the suggested donation remains unchanged at $200 per semester, per student. This is not a requirement for student participation, but is strongly encouraged. In circumstances where it is not possible to pay the full recommended amount, a lesser amount is much appreciated.
Help with fund-raising events planned by FOECF. Parents are strongly encouraged to help plan and to participate in two to three fund-raising events, per student, during the school year.
Drive and judge at tournaments. Parents are strongly encouraged to drive to/from and judge at a minimum of two tournaments, per student, per school year. Judging might feel daunting the first time, but it is certainly interesting, rewarding, and gives a valuable window into an activity that your child and his/her friends are pursuing.
Contribute to the cost of overnight travel. FOECF funds cover only a small portion of overnight travel. Parents of students participating in tournaments requiring overnight travel are requested to pay their proportionate share of such costs, e.g. airfare, hotel.
Miscellaneous: There are several other areas where parent commitment is important. For example, students need a set of reasonably formal clothes to wear to tournaments, plus lunch/dinner money. Also, if a student has committed to participate in a tournament and the team has paid the registration fees, those fees are not refundable. We rely on parents and students to communicate their weekend calendars and to honor their commitments to the team.
Parent & Team email list
We use a Yahoo Group email list (SDECHS@yahoogroups.com) to communicate with parents about tournaments, meetings, funcdraising, and other team business. You can subscribe by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your connection to the team (for example, "I am Pat Wang's aunt - Pat is on the Debate team")