Favorite thing to talk about.
This is a hard one – I love to talk! I think as of right now, it would have to be space. With the successful launch of the new James Webb Telescope, I’ve been really captivated by space and have brought it up in conversations with almost all my friends.
Can you explain why speech and debate is a relevant life skill in 2022?
The COVID pandemic has ensued massive political and social unrest. Finding your voice has never been more important in a world where inequalities are being exposed and discussed in a quotidian lifestyle. Speech and debate is invaluable in finding that voice – it is what makes this activity special. Other activities may explore research skills about different topics or application to law or ethics, but speech and debate is uniquely able to craft and shape your voice like no other activity.
Where did you first learn about speech and debate?
I actually first learned speech and debate from Golden State Academy. I’m ecstatic to have the opportunity to coach my speech and debate alma mater!
Were you a competitor?
I was and still am a competitor. Currently, I am trying to achieve a double-qualification to the Tournament of Champions by qualifying in VPF.
Did you have a routine before competing?
Aside from prepping for the upcoming round, I mostly listen to “hype” music during the 30 minutes before the round because it helps me get in the rhythm for debate. I’ve found that this works for me, but other debaters will have other routines that work for them.
With your experience as a competitor and now as a coach, what advice do you want to give to students apprehensive about competing?
Competing is hard, but routine, discipline, and practice make it easier and more enjoyable. I think if students are able to find joy in the activity — the research, the tournaments, the actual rounds, the friends that come along — they would be more successful and happier. Oftentimes debate can be stressful, but remembering that it’s meant to be fun can help a lot.
Are there any books or movies you would suggest?
I recently just finished The Passing by Nella Larsen. Given how prevalent racism is in America, I was really curious to explore the concept of biraciality. I’d suggest reading The Passing to explore this topic in-depth!
Favorite meal to have before coaching?
Personally, I just like to have a quick snack before I coach, as it makes teaching a lot easier for me. That normally just consists of a banana and/or some yogurt.
What’s your main strategy for coaching in 2022?
I want to make sure that my students understand the fundamentals and basics of debate. Aside from their speaking skills, if I as a coach am able to help them view the debate from a bird's-eye perspective, then I’d be extremely happy with myself. This was a skill that I definitely learned late in the game, but has been monumental for me in both understanding debate and performing well on the national level.
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