The Archbishop Mitty High School (AMHS) Speech and Debate team was established during the 2011-2012 school year and has grown from a 20-member after-school club to a 120-member team with four academic courses taught during the school day. Archbishop Mitty competes in one of the top Speech and Debate leagues in the country, the Coast Forensics League.
In 2015 Archbishop Mitty’s Speech and Debate program placed 5th in the state and top 10 in the nation. By participating in AMHS Speech and Debate, Mitty students become members of the National Speech and Debate Association, a non-profit educational honor society that aims to foster public speaking and presentation skills. Students compete against fellow high school students in local, regional, and national competitions in several different events. The events range from fast-paced, academic debate to quick-thinking impromptu events to platform speeches advocating societal change to theatrical interpretation events.
Since its inception, AMHS Speech and Debate has attracted significant interest as an educational and co-curricular activity within the student body, drawing Archbishop Mitty students from all areas of interest and backgrounds. The team is split into four academic classes each focusing on different events. All classes challenge students to become more confident in their own voice. Being a part of one of these classes – and therefore a member of the AMHS Speech and Debate team – helps students grow in confidence and ability. They improve on important skills such as public speaking, writing, research, and creative thinking. In addition to being coached on how to best prepare and advance competitively at tournaments, students learn important life lessons about dedication, leadership, teamwork, time management, persistency, humility, and confidence.
Alumni Speech and Debate team member Lindsay Carrigan ’14 said, “You can hear over and over again that Speech and Debate will help you in every aspect of your life, but you never fully realize it until you walk into a room full of people and can coherently express your (well-organized and eloquent) thoughts. I find myself able to talk to professors with ease and never question whether I am competent enough to not make a fool out of myself. I have the confidence to run for leadership positions amongst people I barely know, all due to the confidence that speech and debate has given me.”
These life lessons are even more rewarding than trophies because they shine brighter and last longer.