The GGSA is part of Area 1 of the California High School Speech Association (CHSSA).
The GGSA serves the following counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Napa, San Francisco, Siskiyou (west of Yreka), Solano (sw of Hwy 12), Sonoma and Trinity. The GGSA develops and promotes speech and debate programs for high schools through the active association of speech and debate coaches dedicated to student development through speech and debate competition. Membership is open to any high school within the boundaries of the GGSA as defined by CHSSA.  At GGSA tournaments, we hope to provide the best possible experience for all of our member schools, coaches, students and parent volunteers.  
David J. Matley, GGSA President

Recent News and Announcements: 

2018-19 Waiver/Liability Form
GGSA 2018-19 Waiver/Liability Form

2018-19 Updated CHSSA Assessment Form.  
CHSSA Assessment Form 2018-19

To learn more about GGSA Tournaments or register for an upcoming tournament, click here.

GGSA Debate Directors Dan Leahy and Aleisha Readye present awards at Debate 1 under the sunshine at Lowel High School, Oct 6, 2018.

Presiding Officers get instruction before the the first Congress  Tournament, September 29, 2018 at Miramonte High School

GGSA dedicated our 2018 Debate and Congress State Qualifying Tournament to former GGSA treasurer and CHSSA Hall of Fame Coach Sandy Berman.

Sports and speech were the two activities that shaped Sandy Berman’s youth and his professional life. Sandy played varsity tennis and lettered in the sport during his freshman year at Lowell High School (SF). Sandy was, however, surprised one September day to receive a transfer slip out of his English class into another class taught by CHSSA Hall of Famer George Lorbeer. For the next four years, Sandy would compete in debate, extemp and impromptu. 
In February, 1958, a speech and history position became available at Harry Ells High School in Richmond. He took the job.  Harry Ells High soon became part of the Coast League, which at that time included schools as far south as Santa Cruz and as far north as the Oregon border. One memorable Saturday in 1962, Sandy hosted a league events tournament with an entry in excess of 1000 students. From Sandy’s perspective, it was time to split the league. He was instrumental in helping create the Golden Gate Speech Association where he served as executive secretary and tournament Director until 1966. In 1967, Sandy transferred to El Cerrito High to teach math analysis and calculus where he would continue until retirement in 1998.

Sandy became a sports commissioner of the ACAL and then as Commissioner of two leagues when the ACAL divided. He became the “Voice of the North Coast Section” from 1973 to 1992 announcing NCS State Qualifying Track and Field competitions as well as many other athletic events throughout those years at UC Berkeley. In 1981 the West Country Times (6/7/81) selected Sandy as their first choice in the Sportsman of the Year ranking. He was also chosen as the district Teacher of the Year for the second time. In 1988 he decided it was time to give up his responsibilities as Commissioner. With more time, Sandy returned to speech, serving as treasurer of the Golden Gate Speech Association until retirement. Physically, life dealt Sandy a tough hand. During his teaching career, he had a total of twenty-four surgeries, including the amputation of his left leg and an eighteen-hour spinal reconstruction surgery; what he used to jokingly call “his summer vacation.” He faced adversity with humor and taught lessons not found in textbooks.

GGSA celebrated the life and contributions of one of its longest serving coaches, at the Sanford Chandler GGSA Individual Events Tournament at Lowell HS, January 27, 2018.  

GGSA president David Matley and Mickey.

Danise and Shana Chandler, John Strain and Jessica Teters pose with Mickey Mouse before handing out finalist awards.  Mickey Mouse came to celebrate Sanford Chandler's contribution to speech and debate.  All varsity finalists were given a Mickey Mouse lapel pin along with their trophy.  Dozens of other lucky students took pictures with Mickey and were handed collectable Mickely Mouse lapel pins.  Sanford had a fond place in his heart for this Disney icon and was often seen in Disney clothing or sporting Mickey Mouse or other Disney pins.

In a 40-year career, spent mostly at George Washington High School, Mr. Chandler was a social studies teacher who took over the Washington speech team called Masque and Gavel in 1964. He retired after teaching and coaching for 35 years at Washington, and became the speech coach at Archbishop Riordan High School, where he was known for wearing a shirt that said, “Coach Chandler may be a dinosaur but he can still bite.”  When he retired from Riordan, he ran seasonal speech tournaments in parochial middle schools.

In addition to rekindling the speech team, he started an Alumni Hall of Merit, to honor outstanding Washington graduates such as Ollie Matson, Phil Burton, Johnny Mathis, Lee Meriwether and Danny Glover.  As a teacher, he was a pioneer in dressing down to the level of his public school students and then some. He wore running suits and his own speech letter jacket to class, and often a ring on every finger. He liked for students to call him Mr. C or Coach Chandler. He also answered to Stanford, Sandy and Spud.  His speech team made it to the national championship 13 times, taking the team to Washington, D.C., Indianapolis, Denver and San Antonio. To pay for these trips, the team sold bagels on campus. Mr. Chandler would sell them at his classroom door and then come home and work the phones in the evening.

GGSA mourns the loss of long time coach and CHSSA Hall of Fame member, Catherine Berman. 

Cathy began her collegiate work at UC Berkeley where she earned her B.A. (French, English, and Span- ish), elementary and secondary credential, and a MAT in French.  She began coaching with her husband Sandy Berman in the late 1950's at El Cerrito HS.  In 1978, CHSSA Hall of Famer, David Dansky, approached Cathy and asked her to replace him at Kennedy High School so that he could take a one-year sabbatical. At that time Kennedy High School was the leading NFL chapter in the nation. In August, 1981, she was hired by El Cerrito HS in English with Forensics as her adjunct duty.  She was honored by being elected District Teacher of the Year and Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year; an honor that she would receive a second time in 1993.  During her twenty years at El Cerrito, she would make a total of fourteen trips to Nationals, and her students would earn a third place in policy debate in 1999 and a first place in L.D. in 2002.

Catherine also served the speech community at the national level as a member of the San Francisco Bay NFL district committee and was district chairperson from 1996-2001. At the state level, Catherine became treasurer of the Golden Gate Speech Association in 1985. She also served multiple times as the league’s debate director and events director. From 1988- 1995 Catherine served on the California High School Speech Council.

She retired in January, 2002, as a three diamond NFL coach.  In 1995 both she and her husband, Sandy Berman, were inducted into the CHSSA Hall of Fame, the first couple to be so honored.

GGSA mourns the loss of Lynette Williamson, beloved coach, teacher and GGSA colleague.
GGSA dedicated our Events 1 Tournament, October 21st, to the memory of long time GGSA coach and CHSSA Hall of Fame member Lynetter Williamson.

Lynette was not a speech or communications major in college. She attended Fresno State to study physical therapy and only dabbled in debate when she was in high school. When she landed her first teaching position at her alma mater, St. Vincent High School in Petaluma in 1984, she was assigned two sections of freshman speech. Relying on her own high school forensics experiences, she pulled off what she calls “a pretty convincing ‘humorous interp’ as a speech teacher.” Then the principal gave her the choice of coaching junior varsity girls’ basketball or forensics. She says that she was equally qualified for both jobs: She could dribble and she could talk. She opted for forensics, rationalizing that her tongue might hold out longer than her knees. She said it was the best decision of her professional career.

Seven years later, she matriculated to Analy High School in Sebastopol where coached speech and debate and taught English. In addition to her service to her school and students, Lynette has contributed a great deal to the California High School Speech Association especially in the area of curriculum.

As CHSSA Vice President of Curriculum for many years, she was successful in getting UC course approval for Rhetoric and Oral Interpretation--both courses continue to be offered by schools state-wide. Under her direction, the curriculum committee published, Speaking Across the Curriculum, a teacher's guide for infusing oral communication skills into a variety of subject areas. In addition, she has published articles in professional journals like California English and The English Journal. 

In addition to sharing her curriculum ideas through writing, Lynette also conducted teacher inservices and workshops at state and national conferences and at the Sonoma County Office of Education. Her seminars was included "Meeting the Demands of On-Demand Writing: coaching students for the SAT I and CAHSEE."

Upon her induction into the CHSSA Hall of Fame she wrote, “The students that have passed through my program have made the tedium and exhaustion of being an English teacher worth every red pencil; the coaches and colleagues that I’ve met along the way have kept me invigorated as an educator, and the opportunity to represent CHSSA as the Curriculum Chair for seven years was an honor that has continued to inspire me to publish and conduct workshops on curriculum.”