If you see 12-year-old Shruthi Nagulapalli before a competition, you may see her “shaking it out,” running through tongue twisters, or, most importantly, having a special moment with her sister as she wishes Shruthi good luck. She calls her sister her lucky charm!
Whether it’s the countless hours of practice or this special routine--it’s working.
Shruthi was selected as the NSDA showcase finalist in two categories, declamation and pro con challenge, at the National Speech and Debate Tournament. She was a state champion in not one, but two categories: humorous interpretation and storytelling. She also won silver at the Middle School State Tournament.
“I honestly think that though awards are awesome, what I’ve learned along the way matters a whole lot more. I’ve learned how to be more comfortable with strangers, and I’ve also gained confidence,” she shared. “And that’s what I value the most!”
Shruthi joined the Golden State Academy because she wanted to try something new, while improving her confidence and speaking skills at the same time.
And with experience in six different events now, she’s built both that confidence and those skills.
“I think the hardest challenge to overcome was my fear. I was always super nervous before any tournament,” she said. “After attending more tournaments though, the fear subsided.”
She’s learned everything from how to create and deliver strong debate cases to talking on the spot.
If you ask her about her greatest strength, Shruthi will share that she has LOTS of energy. She believes that this is an important skill because if you’re having fun, chances are your judges are having fun, too.
As for advice for other speech and debate students, she shares, “It isn’t all about winning. It’s about learning from your mistakes so that you can improve next time. Don’t forget to have fun!!”
This year, Shruthi is looking forward to more competitions--and is planning to win many more events.
The Golden State Academy
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