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Read how speech and debate helped writer and feature reporter Emily Stroud!
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February 2015 Alumni Newsletter
Thank you to our many donors, many of who are alumni, for helping us reach our fundraising goal to expand the Communicators in the Classroom program to every middle school in Broward County in 2015! Because of your generous support, hundreds of students will have access to the life changing experience of speech and debate. Thank you!
 

Emily (Schapmann) Stroud is a 1984 graduate of Homewood High School who competed in Extemp, Policy Debate, Lincoln-Douglas Debate, Humorous Interp, and Dramatic Interp. Emily is currently a feature reporter and fill-in anchor at WBIR-TV in Knoxville, TN and author of the acclaimed novel Broken News. 


"Debate taught me to be gracious in both losing and winning, support your teammates in good times and bad, and know that whatever happened the last round doesn't matter — you must focus on the task at hand."

"From my first job interview I used the skills I learned in debate. . .  Sitting in court all day then boiling it down to a two minute report uses skills I developed through Extemp. Twenty minutes to prepare a seven-minute speech on a foreign policy question? No problem. Arriving at a murder scene 10 minutes before I need to go live? Debate taught me to assemble facts quickly, discern what is important, then present them in a logical and compelling way."


Why did you join your speech and debate team?
My drama coach, Patricia Bailey, was also the debate coach. She encouraged me to give it a try.


Tell me about your successes and failures as a competitor, and what you learned from those experiences.

My most surprising success was qualifying in Extemp for the National Debate Tournament in San Francisco my sophomore year. That was an awesome trip! When I drew the topic at the qualifying district tournament I had zero supporting information on it. My heart sank. I ended up kind of winging it and drawing from a personal experience instead of official sources. The judges gave me top scores. What seemed like an embarrassing loss turned out to be a victory after all.

I also went to nationals my junior year in Extemp in Kansas City. My senior year I also qualified for nationals in San Antonio but a car wreck the day after graduation kept me in the hospital instead. That was my biggest disappointment.

The first time I debated in class not even an actual tournament I cried. My debate partner and best friend, Robert McAliley, encouraged me to stick with it. We won a lot of rounds together and we lost a lot too. Debate taught me to be gracious in both losing and winning, support your teammates in good times and bad, and know that whatever happened the last round doesn't matter — you must focus on the task at hand.


Do you have any favorite memories from your time as a competitor?
Late nights at the library researching. We didn't have the Internet or even computers! Long van rides to tournaments. Coming up with just the right question during cross examination. Eye contact and raised eyebrows with Robert during an opponent's speech — knowing we could win that particular argument. Learning about a big world beyond my high school and small town. Meeting super smart students from across the country. Figuring out that my teenage self did not have all the answers.

How do you think speech and debate has helped you become successful in your career?
From my first job interview I used the skills I learned in debate. Eye contact, firm hand shake, communicate clearly, sum up why you should win the round / get the job.

As a reporter, part of my job is interviewing prominent people. Debate set the foundation for the confidence to do that. Part of my job is absorbing a lot of information then molding it into a story on deadline. Sitting in court all day then boiling it down to a two minute report uses skills I developed through Extemp. Twenty minutes to prepare a seven-minute speech on a foreign policy question? No problem.

Arriving at a murder scene 10 minutes before I need to go live? Debate taught me to assemble facts quickly, discern what is important, then present them in a logical and compelling way.

What advice would you give to students who are joining speech and debate?
Nailing the details is important but don't miss the big picture. Oh, and drink some water right before you stand up to talk. Dry mouth is not good.

Anything else you want to add or address?
I loved my time in speech and debate. It was just one of my many extracurricular activities in high school but by far the most fun and by far the one that had the biggest impact on my life.
Did you know that as an alum of the National Speech & Debate Association, you can create a FREE custom account on our website? Visit www.speechanddebate.org/login to access your "dashboard" with competition and judging guides, career development webinars, job opportunities, and more.
 
Check out our free webinars designed specifically for alumni! Sign up for free by clicking the links below.

Making Giving a Part of Your Company's DNA, presented by Ryan Scott, CEO of Causecast
Feb. 24 at 6:00 p.m. CT

GRE or GMAT: Which test should I take?, presented by InGenius Prep
March 3 at 8:30 p.m. CT

Tips for applying for PhD programs, presented by InGenius Prep
April 7 at 8:30 p.m. CT

Check out some of the previous webinars
How to Write a Great College Essay

Using Speech & Debate to Get into Your Dream School

Law School admissions tips

MBA Admissions tips

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