Sharing stories of difficulties overcome, two College of the Mainland Collegiate High School students won first place in the Optimist International Oratorical Contest – Galveston.

Natasha Jacobsen, of Dickinson, and Greyson Chisolm, of Houston, spoke on “How My Optimism Will Help Me Press On To 'Greater Achievements of the Future.'”

“I told stories about myself. I talked about my parent’s divorce, discipline problems and death of a family member,” said Chisolm, who is also in the COM Debate Team, coached by Dr. Nakia Welch. “I discussed my feelings and how it will better me as an individual.”

Jacobsen, also on the COM Debate Team, spoke on having optimism as a self-proclaimed realist.

“I talked about how I was a pessimist, but having optimism is attainable. The speech was almost like a debate, being forceful about my ideas and passionate,” Jacobsen explained. “(Competing) was rewarding and taught me that sometimes optimism works out in the end.”

Chisolm will graduate this May with an Associate of Arts in general studies.

“I think debate has given me a direction I didn’t know I wanted. I speak very casually when I do speeches now. I’m thinking of doing something in law,” said Chisolm.

The COM Debate Team meets weekly and competes in regional tournaments against community colleges and universities. For more information about the COM Debate Team, email Welch at

COM Collegiate High School helps students earn an associate degree while simultaneously completing their high school diploma. Enjoying the best of both worlds, Collegiate High School students attend all classes at COM while still participating in extracurricular activities at their home high school. Plus, CHS students have access to all COM student resources, events and activities.

The program is available to Clear Creek, Dickinson, Friendswood, Hitchcock, La Marque, Santa Fe and Texas City ISD students and home-schooled students. For more information, visit