Introduce yourself to our GSA family.
Hello! My name is Stefan Boone and I coach Lincoln Douglas and Public Forum debate. In high school, I was part of the Basis Independent Silicon Valley speech and debate team. I qualified to the Tournament of Champions, won the California Round Robin, and was ranked top 20 in the nation my senior year.
Is speech and debate a relevant life skill? Why?
Speech and debate is the most relevant life skill that can be acquired in middle school and high school. Through speech and debate students improve their critical thinking skills, improve their public speaking, and learn how to do research. I still continue to use the skills I learned in debate to this day. For example, I use these skills when writing essays, doing research for my professors, or even when talking to other people. Colleges also understand the value of speech and debate which is another reason speech and debate is beneficial.
Where did you learn about speech and debate? Can you share a favorite moment from your experience competing?
I originally started doing speech and debate in 8th grade through the Golden State Academy. Through GSA, I was able to pick up all of the necessary skills to begin a successful debate career and win tournaments. The best part about speech and debate is the friends made along the way. By going to camps and tournaments throughout the US, I made a lot of lifelong friendships. I also really enjoyed traveling with my debate team to Arizona State University and getting one of my first qualifications to the Tournament of Champions.
How has coaching for the GSA impacted you in positive ways?
Coaching for GSA has given me the ability to try to give students the same passion that I have for politics and economics. Until I began doing debate, I was completely unsure of what I wanted to do in college and beyond. Through debate, I learned about domestic politics, international relations, and economic systems which lead me to my current majors of Finance and Political Science. Through debate, I also realized that I want to go to law school. Beyond this, I have been able to see students transform from quiet and reserved to passionate and outgoing.
What has been one of your most effective in-class strategies in helping apprehensive students debate in LD or PF? With your experience as a competitor and now as a coach, what advice do you want to give to students apprehensive about competing?
Losing and mistakes are not a bad thing. When I first started debating, I was in the same position that every beginning debater is in. I struggled to think of arguments and was not good at public speaking. I thought that debate wasn't for me because I didn't like to give speeches or do research. Then, I went to my first tournament at Santa Clara University. It was one of the most rewarding experiences because, even though I only won 1 out of my 5 rounds, I realized how fun debate can be. In-class practice debates have been successful at showing students that speech and debate isn't as difficult as they think and giving them a small piece of the debate tournament experience.
Last but not least, it's November. What is your favorite time of the year? What are you most grateful for?
My favorite time of the year is definitely December and January around Christmas when I get to spend a lot of time with my family. I am most grateful for the health of my family and having the ability to see all of them in a few weeks over Thanksgiving break.
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