This post is a virtual high-five to nearly 50 writers and editors to this year’s edition of Monument Publishing sourcebooks. These young people (and a few old fogies like me) dedicated much of their summers to make sure homeschool speakers and debaters are totally prepared for the upcoming tournament season.
This is my summer routine. I do a lion’s share of writing in the spring, but my summer job is more of a managing editor. I have five main editors to each of the five sourcebooks we come out with:
- Blue Book. Co-authored by Vance Trefethen (who lives in France) and myself, this sourcebooks kicks off the year of team-policy debate by pulling together analysis of NCFCA and Stoa resolutions, plus three spotlight cases to launch from.
- Red Book. Edited by national speaking champion and current Colorado Christian University debater Cheyenne Ossen, she managed 10 other authors — all champion debaters of the past, even titlists — to bring cohesion to the new value resolutions of NCFCA and Stoa.
- Gold Book. The editors of our sixth edition of the extemporaneous sourcebook are Sabrina Cruz (Stoa) and RJ Martin (NCFCA). They managed a dozen authors, including themselves, to set the year of current events research in motion.
- Silver Book. I jumped into the apologetics writing by streamlining the basic instructional information for apologetics students in this year’s edition of Silver Book. The league changes of the past couple years are also streamlined into one solid resource for competitors.
- Bronze Book. Scott Weaver brought on additional editing help from champion Ellen Densmore, platform champion and recipient of other rewards of top-honors. Ellen write full-fledged interp and platform instructions that will help launch new speakers, and the spotlight articles will be the best for any speaker.
I couldn’t be more proud of these editors. Same with all the authors they managed to juggle throughout busy summer schedules. This is such a great community of champions at Monument Publishing. These young people are passing on their competitive expertise to the next generation of speakers and debaters. They all have had strong runs in competitive success, and they just finished a summer’s worth of work to pass that experience onto you.
In case you’re wondering, yes, I do pay them for their work. So yes, feel very good about buying your sourcebook.
Want to meet them? The rest of this post is taken from the biography sections of each of the five sourcebooks. Here are the authors in alphabetical order…
Joseph Abell, Red Book NCFCA Edition
Joseph Abell is a second year debater with an insatiable work ethic. A head injury he sustained in his junior year persuaded him to drop sports and pursue debate to the fullest, and he’s been obsessed ever since.
His passion for forensics has always been channeled into Lincoln Douglas debate, and since the beginning of his career, he has never dropped a check in that event. In his junior year, Joseph saw much debate success; he placed first four times that season and once in a single weekend hit finals thrice. In his first year at nationals, he finished 19th in LD and 4th in LD speaking, and attributes his swift success to a combination of great coaching and hard work. Above all else he ascribes his accomplishments and ambition to God, knowing that without Him, he is nothing.
Outside of debate, Joseph writes poetry and piano music. He spends most of his time thinking.
Phillip Allevato, Red Book Stoa Edition
Although originally from California, Phillip didn’t get involved in speech and debate until moving to Colorado. He competed in Parliamentary and Lincoln-Douglas Debate, numerous speech events, and had the honor of winning multiple titles throughout his three years of competition. In his first year of competition as a sophomore, he took 7th Place Lincoln-Douglas Debate at Stoa NITOC 2012 in Colorado Springs. Since then, Phillip has placed 14th and 3rd place respectively at NITOC 2013 and NITOC 2014. He qualified to NITOC in every event he ever competed in, and in his senior year placed in the top ten on Speechranks.com in both Parliamentary and Lincoln-Douglas debate.
Outside of Stoa, Phillip loves to play Ultimate, saxophone, League of Legends, football, and, in general, he just loves trolling with people. Phillip will be attending Whitworth University in the Fall of 2014 and doing collegiate IPDA while studying International Studies/Political Science.
Micah Bock, Bronze Book
Micah has participated in speech and debate for the past six years. He has consistently placed high in Humorous Interpretation, and Team Policy Debate. His passions include but are not limited to: speech, and debate, air-soft, Mario Kart, soccer, long walks on the beach, and candlelight dinners.
This past year, Micah placed 5th in Humorous Interpretation at the NCFCA 2014 National Championship, and 2nd in Team Policy Debate. While speech and debate is a large portion of his life, Micah also enjoys sitting around with a good book, and discussing logic with his siblings. The second oldest in his family, Micah is the most interesting speaker in the world. His motto is: “Stay funny, my friends.”
Evan Buck, Gold Book
Evan Buck resides in San Diego, California. He loves the Lord and desires to please God through his life. Evan enjoys meeting and getting to know people from across the country. Since 2008, Evan has enjoyed competitive forensics. His most notable accomplishments include being a two-time Apologetics Tournament Champion in 2014, the Tournament Champion in Extemporaneous Speaking at the 2013 Concordia Challenge, and going undefeated in prelims in Lincoln-Douglas Debate at the National Invitational Tournament of Champions (NITOC) in 2013.
In addition to public speaking, Evan enjoys writing, researching, and is a political analyst. In 2012, he was asked to blog for im2moro (http://im2moro.org/category/blog) and became a contributor on the team in 2013. One of Evan’s favorite memories is being asked to be the keynote speaker for the USS Midway’s 2013 Flag Day Celebration! (http://youtu.be/tdmihrRCSoQ) Evan is a business analyst and is a contributor for The Motley Fool (www.fool.com). He is an alumnus of the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE, www.fee.org) and will strike up a conversation about liberty and free market capitalism at the drop of a dime!
Max Carr, Bronze Book
16 year old Max L. Carr has been competing in the National Christian Forensics and Communication Association (NCFCA) for four years, going on his fifth. He has been exposed to public speaking for 9 years because of his wonderful mother, who pushed, dragged, and encouraged him when he was a reluctant speaker. Max Carr is proud of the fact that he now has absolutely no problem stepping out of any “box” when it comes to performing in front of people. That again is thanks to his mother, who started him out speaking in front of 3,000 people when he was 6 years old.
The younger brother of two accomplished older sisters, Max has felt the burden of trying to live up to his talented older sisters. There was a time when he felt like he would never rise to the challenge, especially when his first year competing in the NCFCA was his sister’s last (she qualified in everything to nationals, he didn’t break at all). However, his family encouraged him to dig in and keep going. It was 2013 when Max Carr and his duo partner Jesse Shaffer won their first tournament ever. Max thought that they would never do it again, but in 2014 Max and Jesse won two state tournaments, regionals and quarter-finaled at nationals. Max feels blessed beyond his imagination by getting to compete in twenty final rounds of speech in the NCFCA and receiving ten first place awards. He was also thrilled to represent Region 8 as a Marathoner at the 2014 NCFCA Nationals at Patrick Henry College.
Max says that he owes it all to his family; his stubborn, amazing, and kindhearted mother, his forceful, supportive, and helpful father, his motivating, passionate, teaching sister Tess, and his congratulatory, believing, and determined sister Rachel. They each encouraged Max to carry on, no matter what the struggle. His family has taught Max that whether it was one more lap, or one more speech, always set the bar high for yourself and don’t stop until you get there.
Emily Casado, Bronze Book
Emily has been around the world of speech and debate since she was twelve, watching her older sisters give Limited Prep speeches and 1ARs. The first speech Emily ever delivered was an Open Interpretation in 2011. Since then, she has competed every year, excelling in Open, Duo, and Humorous Interpretations, as well as Storytelling. Emily has qualified for and has attended three STOA National Invitational Tournaments.
In 2013, Emily traveled to Arkansas for NITOC, made it to finals in Storytelling and took 1st place for her Open Interpretation.
More recently, at NITOC 2014, Emily finished her third year of competitive speaking with a 1st place award for Storytelling, a 2nd place award for Humorous Interpretation, and a 10th place in Sweepstakes.
Emily is looking forward to her fourth year of speech, and is excited to assist others in the development of their communication skills, especially in interpretive events.
Lydia Childress, Blue Book
During her six years of forensics competition, Lydia has participated in multiple platform and limited preparation speeches, as well as three forms of debate – Lincoln Douglas, Team Policy, and Parliamentary. She has achieved success at state and national levels, qualifying to the National tournament for four consecutive years in both speech and debate events. Lydia has received numerous first place titles at qualifying tournaments, in events including Team Policy, Parliamentary, Extemporaneous, Persuasive, Apologetics, and debate speaker awards.
In addition to competition, she has coached Team Policy debate for the past two years. Aside from speech and debate, Lydia’s interests include writing and research, particularly in the area of mental health. She is a recent high school graduate and plans to attend Azusa Pacific University in Southern California this fall, where she will pursue a double major in Biochemistry and Psychology.
Sabrina Cruz, Gold Book Editor
Sabrina jumped into speech and debate at the age of twelve with absolutely no idea what she was doing. Over the next six years, she competed in every event Stoa had to offer, for a total of thirteen speech events and three types of debate. Her experience in this wonderful activity has helped her in many different areas of her life, and she strives to share the blessings of competitive speech and debate with anyone who will listen.
Although she enjoyed every event she competed in, her favorites were limited preparation speeches and Team Policy Debate. In her senior year, Sabrina received first place in Apologetics and Mars Hill Impromptu, as well as first place in Team Policy Debate with her partner, Aidan Gilmore, at regional tournaments. She has also received multiple first and second place Team Policy speaker awards. Her national tournament successes include sixth place in Extemporaneous in 2013 and fourth place in Apologetics in 2014.
Sabrina’s hobbies include dancing, reading, going on adventurous walks, basically doing anything with friends, and laughing. She likes laughing a lot. Much of her time is spent babysitting and tutoring, and she is excited to start a new season of her life at The Master’s College in the fall to follow her passion for teaching elementary school.
Ellen Densmore, Bronze Book
Ellen lives in the beautiful state of Colorado. She competed in Stoa for two years – a year of policy and a year LD, with Parli throughout; LD is definitely her favorite debate style. Platform speeches are her strong suit, but she learned to love extemp, and did a bit of experimenting with interps. She grew in incredible ways through her Stoa career, and she’s so thankful for her coach, club, and awesome friends in Team Colorado!
Ellen is a patriot, plain and simple. She loves reading – history, politics, economics, foreign policy, philosophy, theology… you name it! Yes, she considers herself a nerd. Starting in August, she will be at Colorado Christian University studying Political Science, competing on the forensics team, and loving learning. Her hope and prayer is that she will learn how to more effectively be God’s hands, feet, and voice so that she can help guide her nation through this storm. She loves people, the Lord of the Rings, epic soundtrack music, popcorn, fruit, America, and anything in the great outdoors, especially Colorado’s Rocky Mountains! Most importantly, Ellen prays she may be faithful to her Savior, Creator, and King, make the most of every opportunity, and bring glory to Him.
Clare Downing, Gold Book
Since her freshman year, Clare Downing has devoted her life to speech and debate. This past year she competed in both Stoa and NCFCA policy, as well as Parliamentary debate. Clare and her partner were the second place ranked team nationally in parli. Clare has won every event she has competed in, except for impromptu, at least once.
Clare has competed in Extemporaneous speaking for two years. She has been in final rounds 12 times over her career, consistently placing well. She was a regional finalist in both 2013 and 2014. In 2014, Clare was honored to receive the title of NCFCA National Champion in Extemp. Clare has enjoyed every minute of her competitive career in this speech category particularly, and is looking forward to helping others find the joy in this event.
Jordan Embree, Gold Book
Jordan Embree is a homeschooled high school graduate who plans to attend Wheaton College as a freshman in the fall. Jordan competed in many different forensics events during his five-year career in STOA, but his favorite speech event was extemporaneous. At NITOC 2014, Jordan’s senior year NITOC, the Lord blessed him with a 13th place finish in extemporaneous to close his career. Extemporaneous (or extemp within the STOA community) is Jordan’s favorite speech event for various reasons. Primarily, extemp is Jordan’s favorite speech event because it combines his passions for current events and exhaustive analysis. Another reason extemp is his favorite speech event is that he was given (nearly) free reign to indulge his passion for reading The Economist because of participation in extemp. These benefits, combined with the possible advantages in his future career field, cemented extemp’s position as his favorite speech event. In addition to extemp competition, Jordan has also had the opportunity to compete in the three major styles of debate and every major speech category with NITOC qualifications in: Lincoln-Douglas values debate, apologetics, broadcasting, extemporaneous, and impromptu.
This fall Jordan will be attending Wheaton College in Illinois, pursuing a double major in International Relations and French. While at Wheaton, Jordan will participate on the parliamentary debate team and at some point study abroad, hopefully in France or Belgium. Once he has earned his Bachelor’s Degree, he hopes to continue his education to obtain a Ph.D. Ultimately, God directs his steps but at this juncture he is strongly considering a career in the US Foreign Service.
Emily Erickson, Red Book Stoa and NCFCA Editions
As implied by the title, this is Emily. As implied by the photo, she’s blonde. That says pretty much all that needs to be said, but as a debater Emily enjoys rambling on anyways. My three years in Stoa speech and debate were a blast, but she’s not going to tell you her rankings because if you really care you can find them on speech ranks! =)
Emily loves her Australian shepherd, Boone, running for reasonably short periods of time, writing creatively and academically, trying to beat Haley Greer in Candy Crush Saga, working for a wedding florist, playing music, listening to music, hanging out with friends or goofing off with family, and when in doubt, reading CS Lewis with a cup of chai tea or coffee.
Matthew Erickson, Red Book Stoa Edition
Matthew participated in Team-Policy, Lincoln-Douglas, and Parliamentary debate, but his passion through high school was Lincoln-Douglas. He won many titles, but most prominent among them was winning Stoa Nationals in 2012, and being the top rated debater on Speechranks.com in 2012.
Matthew has extensive coaching experience. He became head LD coach at LOGOS in Colorado while competing his senior year in high school. He has continued coaching through this year, and has coached camps for Training Minds
Matthew is a Junior Business Administration/ Accounting major at Colorado Christian University where he competes in Parliamentary Debate, Impromptu, and Extemporaneous speaking. Among other things, Matthew won 1st Place at NFFCA Nationals in Parliamentary Debate this last spring with his partner Hudson Jungck, in addition to taking 1st Place Speaker. When he isn’t collecting articles for Extemp and parliamentary debate, Matt enjoys hunting, hiking, playing with Microsoft Excel, and hanging out with his friends and family
Luis Garcia, Silver Book
If you could sum up Luis Garcia, he would be simply defined by his passion for Jesus and the proclamation of Christ’s magnificence and Holy Word. Luis competed in speech and debate as a founding member of the club Set Apart for three years. In his final season, 2011, God blessed Luis with the unprecedented and undefeated record of receiving first place in Apologetics at all four tournaments he attended, including the National Invitation Tournament of Champions (NITOC). God also blessed him with the NITOC title for Impromptu, placing Luis on Speechranks.com as the number one speech and debater in the nation for the 2010-2011 season. All glory be to the Lord!
God has been using what Luis accumulated in those years for what speech and debate is purposed to train for—being a disciple of Jesus Christ and multiplying His kingdom. This is his heart in how he trains students. Luis has coached for three years in multiple states, including California, Arizona, Colorado, and Nevada. Luis is the author of Before the Altar, and he will be graduating with a Bachelors in Biblical and Theological Studies Fall 2014 from Liberty University.
Noah Gray, Red Book Stoa Edition
Noah is a musician, shirt salesman (for real), and a debate alumnus, coach, and nerd from Springfield Missouri. Noah loves argumentation, Netflix, and long walks on the beach. When you think of “stereotypical, awkward homeschoolers,” you are thinking of who Noah was before he got involved with debate. Now, thanks to debate, he is only awkward.
Noah experienced undefeated records at his first tournament in 3 of the four forms of high school and collegiate debate. However, Noah has learned many lessons from his 10-0 victories and 0-6 losses. Noah is passionate about growing home school speech and debate and using his experiences to equip others for competitive victory, life success, and personal development- which is why he never shuts up about debate.
You can contact Noah on Facebook (he’s the Noah Gray who’s friends with all the other debate nerds on Facebook), he would love to hear from you and help you in any way.
Sara Harder, Bronze Book
Sara Harder is seventeen years old and entering her senior year of high school and has competed in speech and debate since the age of ten. She has competed in ten different speech events, and Team Policy and Parliamentary debate. Sara was ranked first in the nation on Speechranks for a few days in Dramatic Interpretation, and remained first in Colorado for the entire year. Sara and her duo partner were ranked first in Colorado for the second half of the year and received sixth place in the National tournament for Stoa.
When not working on school, speeches, debate briefs, or sleeping, Sara can be found strumming hymns or Disney songs on her guitar, reading old classic novels, watching Disney movies, and drinking coffee.
Travis Herche, Red Book Stoa and NCFCA Editions
Travis Herche is a professional online speech and debate coach with 14 years of experience in the forensic world. He is the country’s leading expert in high school literary interpretation and has coached state, regional, and national debate champions in several leagues.
Travis lives in central California with his wife Christina, his turtle Darlene, and his two cats: Sydney Aniston and Dread Rio Samson. He offers free tips for excellent speaking and living at travisherche.com.
Justin Holiman, Gold Book
After his loving parents forced him into speech and debate, Justin Holiman fell in love with forensics and hasn’t looked back. He began competing in his freshman year of high school with Paradigm Speech & Debate Club, and immediately realized that this was what he was born to do–as weird as that might sound.
This past year, Justin stepped far out of his comfort range and competed in four speech events—Original Oratory, Persuasive, Duo Interpretation, and Extemporaneous—in addition to Team Policy Debate. His best qualifying tournament was the Camelback Classic in which he finished 7th in Extemporaneous, 3rd in Team Policy Debate, and 1st place in Persuasive. He was then fortunate enough to qualify for the 2014 National Invitational Tournament of Champions (NITOC) in all five of his events, carrying all of his speech events to semifinals. Taking both his Persuasive and Extemporaneous speeches to finals, he finished third in the nation in Persuasive, and became the 2014 Extemporaneous National Champion in his first year competing in the event. Pretty crazy right?
Currently, Justin is planning to do even MORE events this next year in addition to Parliamentary debate–which is his new love interest. In addition, he has been the negative research coach for Paradigm Speech & Debate Club’s Team Policy Debate Team this past year, and will be for the next season. In his down time (what little there is), Justin loves to watch way too many movies (and is very opinionated about those he likes), hang out with all the amazing STOA friends he has made, listen to at least 6 hours of music a day, play guitar and piano, and help others learn to love and appreciate the wonderful world of competitive forensics, but most importantly, help them to learn to express themselves and change the world for Christ.
Ciera Horton, Red Book NCFCA & Stoa Editions
Ciera Horton competed in the NCFCA for five years. As a competitor, she won 1st Place in both Lincoln Douglas debate and Sweepstakes at two consecutive tournaments. She went on to win 1st Place for the LD Speaker Award, Apologetics, Illustrated Oratory and Biographical Narrative, also taking 2nd Place in Original Interpretation. Throughout her competitive career, Ciera competed in nine out of the ten speech categories and placed in almost all of them. She has also worked as a debate coach at Legacy for Christ, the largest club in Region 8.
Last year, Ciera wrote for NCFCA and Stoa Red Books with Training Minds. She was also named the Distinguished Young Woman of Florida (Junior Miss) 2013 and was named the 2nd Runner-Up for America, winning awards for her interview and on stage question. Ciera currently studies at Wheaton College and she was just recognized with the Outstanding First Year Student Award.
Chris Jeub, Blue Book and Silver Book
Coach Jeub is president of Training Minds Ministry and owner of Monument Publishing. He co-authors several of the sourcebooks every year with dozens of writers and editors, the best in the Stoa and NCFCA leagues. He works with coaches from across the country to bring the best products possible into the hands of young speakers. Mr. Jeub has taught speech and debate at camps, local clubs, and to his own family since 1995.
Mr. Jeub resides in Monument, Colorado, with his wife and 12 of his children, six of whom are “speaking age” this year. You’ll likely see Mr. Jeub at tournaments, most certainly at nationals cheering on his own children, his club’s students, his campers, and all the speakers in the nation who work through his training materials. You can connect with him at his blog www.chrisjeub.com.
Micah Jeub, Bronze Book
Micah wants to be a comedian someday, but he was getting sick and tired of people not taking him seriously. So he set out to be the funniest guy in both NCFCA and Stoa leagues. He won both national titles in Humorous Interp in 2014, dispelling all doubt that he was meant to be laughed at for the rest of his life. See him in the funny pages soon.
Micah is the second oldest son of the 16 kids of the Jeub family. He considers himself one of the most privileged because he shares a bedroom with only one other sibling. Micah enjoys ultimate frisbee, parkour, building (and blowing up) things, and bow hunting. His most recent social media hangout it Vine. Follow him there.
Emma Lancaster, Bronze Book
As the youngest in a family of athletes and entrepreneurs, Emma stood out as “the speech nerd.” She found her niche in NCFCA and it became her dramatic outlet and her second family. The competition brought out a side of herself that she never knew was there and pulled her out of her comfort zone in a truly wonderful way. PSSDC, her home club, has been a really brilliant influence and it’s student-led format has shaped her speeches in a unique way. It has been an incredible journey. 2015 will be her 5th -and final- season.
Over the different competition seasons, Emma has tried out various events but in the last couple of years discovered a fit in Humorous Interpretation; placing 10th at Nationals in 2013 and 12th in 2014 and she is excited about the possibilities for this upcoming season and the piece she has chosen. Emma’s position as the interp coach in her speech club does a wonderful job of pushing her speeches to another level of polish, which gives her more reason to anticipate this upcoming season with enthusiasm.
Riaz Lane, Bronze Book
Riaz Lane is a rising sophomore. He enjoys writing, solving the Rubik’s Cube and playing baseball. Riaz, above all, loves to learn. He taught himself to play chess, play the guitar, knit/crochet and is now learning a back-flip.
Riaz has competed in NCFCA for 4 years. In 2014, he and his brother went to policy debate finals in 4 out of 5 in-region tournaments and achieved 24 consecutive wins.
Riaz competed in humorous interpretative, persuasive and after dinner speaking for the first time in 2014. He won his first qualifiers competing in each. His HI scored 4th place at the NC National Open, his persuasive was 1st place at regionals and his after dinner placed 1st at regionals and 7th at nationals. Riaz wrote both platform speeches within a week of a qualifier and memorized them withing 48 hours of that qualifier.
Riaz’s best friend is his 3 time debate partner, forensics coach and brother Razi Lane.
Karlyn Leander, Bronze Book
Karlyn Leander has participated in competitive speech for three years and LD debate for one, placing highly in various interpretive events. This competitive season she and her brother, Kasey, were consistently ranked first in duo on Speech Ranks, going on to win first place at the National Invitational Tournament of Champions.
Karlyn is very grateful to her brother for making this unforgettable year, her parents for making this unforgettable year possible and to God for making unforgettableness, her parents, and her brother. Along with speech and debate, Karlyn enjoys making music on her violin and visual arts including (but certainly not limited to) acrylic and oil paints, drawing, resin mold casting, watercolor, giant paper mache elephant heads, and anything else that requires going to a craft store. Karlyn takes little credit for her success in speech and debate because she could not even make it through the day without the grace of her Lord. For His love and mercy she is truly grateful
RJ Martin, Gold Book Editor
NCFCA Hall of Famer RJ Martin is a 19-year-old student from the state of Alabama, and he currently studies Economics in the Honors College at Auburn University. Competing in NCFCA for all four years of high school, RJ was blessed with over 130 awards, including pre-qualifying to NCFCA Nationals in Lincoln-Douglas debate, Apologetics, and Extemporaneous.
In 2013, RJ won the NCFCA National Championship in Extemporaneous. Over his career he also won three NCFCA National Open titles in Extemp (a league record), for a total of four national-level Extemp wins (double the previous league record). RJ broke in every Extemp tournament in which he competed, making the final round in 18 out of 20 career tournaments and winning 9 of those 18 finals. He credits his extemp style to his hero Captain Jack Sparrow.
RJ was one of only twelve people awarded an Elite Scholarship to Auburn University, Auburn’s highest level of merit recognition. Now a college student, RJ currently works as a Research Assistant in the Economics Department and is assisting with a paper on campaign finance and asset prices. In his spare time he enjoys learning more about the legal process through interning for the 37th Judicial Circuit Court of Alabama. You can also find RJ leading an afterschool project to tutor local elementary school children or simply reading the latest Abraham Lincoln biography. His favorite hobbies are watching bad tennis matches, critiquing British patriotic anthems, and collecting Nike shoes.
Brendan McKinley, Bronze Book
Brendan has participated in all three debate styles and extemp, but interpretive speeches are by far his favorite. He lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado and this is his third year in competitive speech and debate. He won several tournaments in duo interpretation with his absolutely stellar partner Sara Harder, and placed 6th at NITOC. In his free time, he enjoys skiing, rock climbing, and mathematics.
Rachel Moss, Red Book NCFCA Edition
Rachel (Seay) Moss competed in Speech and Debate for five years and has coached for two. She ranked nationally in 7 speech events as well as Team Policy and Lincoln Douglas debate including winning national opens in Apologetics, Impromptu, and Original Oratory, and 3rd place in Extemporaneous at the National Championship. Moving cross-country, she competed in NCFCA Regions IX and III as well as Stoa.
Rachel is currently studying Communications at Regent University. In the past year she also worked for the Virginia state homeschooling organization and a grassroots political organization. She celebrated her 2nd anniversary with husband Timothy Moss, a former fellow debater. This February, they welcomed a beautiful baby girl who has already been to her first tournament! Rachel enjoys hiking and party planning, is a firm believer in the oxford comma, and an avid fan of BBC’s “Sherlock.”
Ryan Kelly Murphy, Gold Book
Ryan Kelly Murphy is a senior in high school and entering her fifth year in the Stoa Speech & Debate League. She was honored to place 1st in Apologetics at the 2014 National Invitational Tournament of Champions (NITOC), as well as 2nd in Mars Hill Impromptu, 6th in Team Policy with her sister and partner Taryn Murphy, and 11th in Extemporaneous. During 2013-2014, Ryan placed 1st in Team Policy and 2nd in Extemporaneous at the Concordia Challenge, the largest California tournament of the year.
Ryan enjoys interning for CA Senator Joel Anderson, beekeeping and harvesting honey, practicing Irish dance, and surfing. Her aspirations include attending Patrick Henry College, majoring in Political Theory, and beginning a career in Washington D.C.
Cheyenne Ossen, Managing Editor of both Red Books
Every minute of Cheyenne’s six years of speech and four years of debate was an adventure! Though she experienced success in platforms, interpretations, and limited preparation events Cheyenne’s love was always for debate. Her most notable accomplishment was placing 3rd in Lincoln Douglas Debate and receiving the title for National Champion Lincoln Douglas Speaker at NITOC 2013. In collegiate debate, her semi-final streak continues as she placed 3rd at NFFCA Nationals in Parliamentary Debate (only to be beaten out by the team of her high school debate partner and her boyfriend- oh the irony).
Cheyenne will be a sophomore at Colorado Christian University, majoring in Business Administration and English. When she is not studying, debating, researching legal information, or working as a teller, she is … sleeping. However, if coffee arouses her, Cheyenne enjoys baking, shooting guns, watching Psyche, and enjoying the small things in life with friends. She is extremely excited for all the opportunities God has placed in her life.
Rob Parks, Blue Book
Coach Parks captained his High School NFL debate team from 1978-1981. A graduate of Bowdoin College and University of New Hampshire Law School, Captain Parks served as an Air Force JAG officer for 5 years before starting his own private practice in North Carolina specializing in arguing criminal cases before appellate courts. During that time he appealed a half dozen cases to the US Supreme Court and regularly argued cases in front of the highest courts in our land: including the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, US Court of Claims, US Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces and the US 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. He also spent time as an adjunct professor teaching Torts, Criminal Law and Consumer Law at Wesley College and Trial Advocacy at Widener University School of Law.
After a private sector career that included owning his own law practice, working in insurance and estate planning and working for two nonprofits, Rob is currently on the rating board of the Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, DC.
Shane Roberts, Bronze Book
Since the days of the slicked back hair and ill-fitting suits, Shane has always loved giving speeches. That’s right, he one of those exclusive kids that actually wanted to be involved in speech and debate. Before his affiliation with NCFCA, Shane began his public speaking career during the 4th grade when he signed up for the County 4-H Speech Contest. He was hooked. His involvement in 4-H led to other various forms of speech and debate before ultimately affiliating with NCFCA. He is very thankful for the experience that league has left him with; for it ultimately impacted the course of his life.
Though Shane is an avid competitor and fan of forensics, he actually has a life! This means he has hobbies and time-wasters just like every other teenage kid. While not working on research or school work, he can be found doing a wide variety of things. Some of his favorite pastimes include playing classical piano, training in Martial-Arts (he’s a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo), mountain biking, wake boarding, and just hanging out with friends and family.
Shane is enrolled at Patrick Henry College in the Class of 2018. He’s seeking to continue the development of his oratorical skills through PHC’s forensics program and later hopes to make his talents applicable in the real world as an attorney; perhaps even a politician.
Though he doesn’t have every aspect of his life planned out, nor does he want it planned at 18 years old, he trusts that the Lord will ultimately position him at the right place during the right time so that He can use Shane as a tool to better the kingdom of God through serving others. This is made possible only because every good and perfect gift comes from the Lord and Shane has a legion of family and friends that care dearly about him and encourage him through both his trying times and victories. So now that the days of of the slicked back hair are over, Shane eagerly takes life one day at a time and is excited for what the future holds.
Rebecca Samelson, Gold Book
Rebecca Samelson is a 17-year-old high school graduate from Pike Road, Alabama. After beginning NCFCA at 12 years old, she became desperately addicted and competed at as many tournaments as possible until she graduated from high school, six seasons later. Competing actively in both styles of debate, Rebecca was an LD quarterfinalist at the NCFCA National Championship in 2013, an octa-finalist in TP at the 2014 NCFCA National Championship, the 2014 Region VII champion in policy debate, and TP finalist at the 2014 North Carolina National Open. Her extemporaneous success includes first place at the 2014 Minnesota National Open, finalist at the 2014 NCFCA National Championship, and runner-up at the 2013 Massachusetts National Open.
Although being a full-time nerd took up the majority of her time in high school, Rebecca also enjoys singing with her local praise team, reading John Green novels, eating lots of white chocolate, and spending time with friends. Now a student at Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, VA, Rebecca is studying journalism with the intention of pursuing Public Relations. Hoping that the six years of NCFCA were not for naught, Rebecca wishes to use the skills she has learned in communication to glorify God in whatever ways He sees fit.
Zack Seals, Red Book Stoa Edition and Silver Book
Zack Seals began developing his skills as a public speaker at age 10 when he joined his local Toastmasters club. This paved the way for Zack at age 12 to become a founding member of the Set Apart Speech and Debate team. He was blessed with many successes during his 5 year competitive career in NCFCA and Stoa. His final season concluded his career as tournament champion at San Diego Epilogue, and several 1st place as well as Finals placements in Apologetics, Platform speeches, Mars Hill Impromptu. Extemporaneous, Impromptu and Lincoln Douglas debate throughout the year. At his first NITOC competing in LD Zack placed 5th and his following and final NITOC placed 6th leading him to take 2nd place NITOC Tournament Champion.
Over the year, following his graduation, Zack has continued coaching both his club and as a Training Minds Ministry author by writing for Bronze Book, Silver Book, and now Red Book. When he isn’t coaching or teaching apologetics at church you can find him playing piano, guitar, reading, teaching karate, touring in a theater group, or discussing philosophy with friends.
Caleb Scott, Gold Book
Caleb Scott got his first taste of public speaking in 2007 at the age of 11, where, at his first tournament, he won first place Regional Juniors Impromptu. From there, he was hooked, sinking countless days, nights, and more days into speech and debate. While he competed in a total of 12 events over his career, his greatest joy is, without a doubt, the limited prep events, such as Extemp. Honing techniques, presentation, and just about everything else that he could, Caleb went on to critical success with the Limited Preps, qualifying them all to Nationals 2 years in a row, as well as trophying nearly a dozen times. His proudest moment was at the NCFCA 2013 North Carolina Open, the largest Extemporaneous tournament in NCFCA history. Caleb placed 1st… out of 120.
But Caleb believes that there’s a point to all of his work, which helped fuel many day-long extemp sessions. All the things that he’s learned are techniques for presenting and communicating all truths, whether you have prep time or not. Caleb’s eager to work together with Training Minds this year to provide help to others who are in the middle of their own forensics careers.
Stoa Hall of Famer Jewel Soiland successfully competed in homeschool forensics for six years with five years of Lincoln Douglas Debate. Since appearing in finals at her second tournament in LD, she qualified every year for NITOC, her final year achieving Ironwoman status and placing in the top ten in five categories, including Speech Sweepstakes and Lincoln Douglas Speaker. Her senior year included a tour de force at the Sonoma County Classic where she went 6-0 in LD and took first place in three IE events, Lincoln-Douglas Speaker, and Sweepstakes. Jewel coached LD at Touché in California for her final season of competition and was extremely proud that all of her students qualified for NITOC.
Aside from Forensics, Jewel enjoys ballroom dancing, singing, and working on her novel manuscripts as well as traveling in her family’s silver airstream trailer, which they often bring to tournaments. She will attend California Lutheran University in the fall to pursue her studies in Business and Spanish. While she will not be competing at the collegiate level, Jewel hopes to coach debate in college.
Isaac Sommers, Gold Book
Isaac is a rising college freshman who will be attending the Guy D. Newman Honor’s Academy at Howard Payne University. Isaac has been blessed with great success in his six years of speech and debate competition. He has received many awards in speech and debate alike, including several top placements at all of the NCFCA National Championships, from 2010 through 2014, receiving placements ranging from 5th, 4th, and 2nd in Lincoln-Douglas debate, to 4th in Team Policy, and 2nd place Lincoln-Douglas Speaker. Isaac has also won three NCFCA National Opens (the 2012 Texas Open in TP, the 2013 Alabama Open in LD, and the 2014 Idaho National Open in TP), along with various other State and Regional champion titles. Isaac also won 2012 Best Respondent and 2013 Best Petitioner and 2013 Best Oralist at the Washington College of Law National High School Moot Court competition.
Isaac also has competed in Parliamentary debate for several years, and placed 3rd in Parli at the 2014 National Invitational Tournament of Champions with Tony Mirasola. In addition to this, Isaac has a distinguished record in several speech events, including Champion in both Apologetics and Extemporaneous speaking at the 2013 Alabama National Open, the 2013 Richardson Qualifier, both the 2013 and 2014 Texas State Championships, and 6th and 3rd in Extemp at the 2014 Stoa and NCFCA National Championships, respectively. Isaac coaches and has been teaching debate camps for the past four years, runs an online pre-season practice tournament, ”Ziggy Online Debate,” and is a Policy Analyst for the Texas Home School Coalition. He has a passion for speech and debate, enjoys using words like “efficacious,” and regularly tells the world how unhealthy sugar is.
Graham Stacy, Gold Book
Graham Stacy is an eccentric sixteen year-old who hails from the paradise town of Brandon, Florida. After his first three years of competing, Graham’s extemporaneous career had been fairly abysmal. Then, near beginning of this last season, he decided he would win a tournament. So he did. Since then, Graham has made a few notable accomplishments including: four-time tournament champion, fourth place at NITOC 2014, and quarter-finalist, NCFCA Nationals 2014, and being ranked 2nd in the nation overall.
In addition to speech stuff, Graham also had some success in debate. In Team Policy, Graham advanced to double-octas at NITOC in both 2013 and 2014. After he and his partner were tricked into competing at their first Parli qualifier, Graham decided he liked the style and kept doing it. Since then, he’s been in parli finals seven times, won six tournaments, received ninth place at NITOC 2014, and was ranked 2nd in the nation overall (again). Graham finds this stuff fun. So he’ll keep doing it.
Stephen Steininger, Red Book Stoa Edition
Stephen Steininger (also known as Steve, Stefe, Stevo, Fanzie, and Cheezwiz) is so glad to be writing for Red Book this year. First things first, he’s the realist. But no, he’s a frisbee loving, public speaking, Christ following dude, who loves America, and Colorado specifically. He’s very passionate about the pro-life cause, and loves picketing in front of Planned Parenthood while praying for the unborn. When in speech and debate, he competed in Parliamentary, Lincoln-Douglas, Team Policy, Impromptu, Extemporaneous, Apologetics, Mars Hill, Duo, HI, OO, and Persuasive. He competed in LD for 5 years and qualified to Nationals 4 of those 5. His favorite event was Impromptu, so when it was dissolved, let’s just say he cried, A LOT! His favorite tournament is Rocky Mountain Classic. His favorite debate is Parli. And his favorite drink is sweet tea. Stephen Cheezwiz Steininger in a nutshell. Enjoy Red Book!
Hope Suffelette, Bronze Book
Hope Suffelette enjoys good conversation, long walks on the beach, and eating large amounts of pie. She is 17 years old and getting ready to be a senior in high school. Hope has been homeschooled ever since kindergarten and enjoyed almost every minute of it. She wouldn’t have wanted to be educated any other way. She has two loving parents who have blessed her immensely and have always supported her and all of her dreams.
Hope has been doing speech for two years and debate for one year. She looks forward to debating and participating in all of her speech events during the upcoming season. She’s planning on making this upcoming year the best ever.
Some of Hope’s other interests include reading, cheerleading, working to pay her dues, and sleeping for as long as she possibly can.
Vance Trefethen, Blue Book
Coach Vance debated in National Forensic League debate while in high school from 1979-1982. In college, he judged at high school NFL tournaments in North Carolina. After college, he moved around the country for various jobs, including some time with the Defense Department in the Washington, D.C., area and several years at the headquarters of Wal-Mart in Arkansas.
After moving back to North Carolina, he once again got involved in debate by volunteering as an assistant coach for public school NFL debaters. A homeschooling dad himself, he realized the growing potential and benefit of homeschool debate and switched over to coaching homeschoolers a couple years later. In 2001, he helped Chris Jeub with bringing The Blue Book to a more advanced level. He has been co-authoring Blue Book ever since.
Currently Vance is working in Lille, France for an engineering software company. He and his wife, Bridget, homeschooled their two now-grown daughters, Charlotte and Rebecca, who live back in the States.
Rebekah Verhs, Red Book Stoa Edition and Gold Book
Rebekah competed within the Stoa league for 4 years. This competition career included all three formats of debate, as well as multiple speech events. Her favorite event was Lincoln Douglas debate, in which she had several successes her Junior year, including multiple 1st place speaker awards and several LD tournament championships before ending the season with a 2nd place win at NITOC. Rebekah decided to try Parliamentary debate her last year and went on to win the 2014 Parliamentary National Championship with her partner, Stephen Wyer.
In addition to her success in debate, Rebekah thoroughly enjoyed her experience in the Extemp world with a first place win at ICC and placing as a semi-finalist at NITOC. Having completed her forensic career, she will be coaching Lincoln Douglas and Extemp her senior year, before moving on to pursue a degree in nutrition and becoming a dietician. Besides debate and nutrition, Rebekah is a passionate pursuer of music, and a very enthusiastic coffee drinker!
Josiah Walker, Bronze Book
Josiah Walker is a 15 year-old Junior and has competed in Speech for two years. God had blessed him immensely by giving him two loving parents who have homeschooled him almost his entire life.
Josiah immediately took hold of the platform speeches and feels very passionately about giving them. Being in a military family has prompted him to give speeches that are personal to him on subjects highlighting the military. His first year in Speech was rough and God had to humble him because of his prideful attitude. Before joining Speech Club he was very involved in sports and played club soccer for over 5 years. Being competitive was a plus, but Speech was a very new and challenging world.
Sitting in the shadow of an older sister who excelled in Speech was also tough. But after realizing this was God’s work in God’s way, Josiah returned and dove headlong into his second year with a different mindset. As a result, he took four speech events to the National Invitational Tournament of Champions in 2014. He ultimately took first place in Persuasive with all the glory going to God. Josiah is very grateful to his parents, his sister Gracie and to God for helping him persevere and giving him the these gifts.
Apart from Speech, Josiah enjoys participating in Civil Air Patrol, playing ultimate Frisbee and the drums, and beating his dad at ping pong. God has blessed Josiah so much and he is looking forward to what God has on the horizon for him.
Scott Weaver, Bronze Book
As a native of Colorado Springs, my love for anything adventurous and outdoors knows no bounds! I also play basketball, tennis, and volleyball (or really anything that allows me to stretch myself athletically). I’m a nursing major at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs, hoping to make an impact in the field of medicine. I could not be more excited about what life has in store as I try to walk hand-in-hand with my Savior.
I had the opportunity to enjoy one incredible year of competition in Stoa speech and debate! Highlights included multiple first-place awards and competing in the Duo interpretation finals of NITOC. Although I am disappointed that I was not introduced to this wonderful community earlier, I’m making up for lost time by participating as a judge and contributing to the Bronze Book as an editor for the second straight year.