What I loved most about speech and debate was working with the team to help each other improve. Speech in particular is largely an individual activity, but performing in class and coaching each other makes every member on the team a part of all the individual victories. Nothing feels better than watching yourself improve at articulating your ideas and feeling the satisfaction that your effort was worth it, but also that you have an entire team supporting you that helped you get there. Being a part of taking Mitty from a small and virtually unknown participant in in our league to one of the top powerhouses is the accomplishment I am most proud of in high school.
— Niki Griswold, Northwestern (pictured right, middle)
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.
— Lindsay Carrigan, UCSB (pictured left, left)
I had been a part of a sports team before, but being a part of a speech and debate team was a whole new ballpark. I was able to tell people with pride that not only was I an athlete, but I was a speech and debater, too. It helped me gain the confidence and research/speaking skills that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. I was confident both in my athletic abilities and in my ability to interact and engage with my peers and those who might have intimidated me before.
— Chandler Ramirez, Westpoint (pictured left, right)
When I was younger, I had a lot of confidence and sass. Coming into high school however, I lost a lot of it. But Speech and Debate gave me back some of the self-assurance that I thought I had lost. Even more important than succeeding competitively was the confidence I gained from my incredible teammates and coaches. I have formed a community here that will support me wherever I go, and I am eternally grateful for the part of myself I have been given back. Thank you MSD.
— Catherine Newcomb (picture left, second from right)
The sooner you go all in on this activity, the sooner it begins to quite literally change your life. The work is hard and fun, but the friendships, memories, and life lessons last a life time. You will meet the most supportive, intelligent people you have ever met through this activity and they will become your family as you grow and develop together. There is a saying that goes: “Don’t you wish there was a way to know you’re in the ‘good old days’ before you’re out of them?” Have fun and relish every moment on this team, because looking back on it, the waking up early for tournaments, the blitzing late despite having homework to do, the researching, the staying until all rounds are done even though it’s past 11 at night and you’re tired, the stress of States and Nats, all of this will be an integral part of your high school and life experience thus far. You will affectionately look back on this time as the ‘good old days’. This activity will change your life, but only if you let it. I can say without a shadow of a doubt that this activity, including both the competitive experiences and the friendships created, has been the best time of my life and I know that I’m better prepared and confident for the rest of my life because of it. Thanks to everyone who was with me along the way on this incredible ride, and as for MSD and its future, I know that the best is yet to come.
— Derek Eggleston, Kings College in London (pictured above, second from right)
Speech/Debate—regardless of the event you choose to participate in—equips you with the drive and belief that you can influence the world and you can take a stand. Whether you are studying Janet Yellen’s quantitative easing policies or crafting a speech on the spot, you understand the importance of speaking up and articulating your own perspectives. This, in turn, translates to greater involvement in the civic space and the vision to improve society. That is the legacy of Speech/Debate that I will carry with me throughout college and beyond.
— Manasi Patwa, Yale University (pictured left)
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Although it may be considered an “extracurricular” activity, speech and debate was undoubtedly the most educational experience I had in high school. Through MSD, I grasped many of the things in life that are better learned than taught – what it means to live passionately, what qualities I value as an individual, how to recognize success without a trophy or a reward. It’s difficult to look back on my time in MSD with anything but fondness, and I will be forever grateful for all of the incredible students, parents, and coaches who have been a part of all of the tears, triumphs, and tribulations that have grown me into the young adult I am today.
— Jonathan Pham, University of Michigan
I joined the Mitty Speech and Debate team my freshmen year not really knowing where it would lead me, but now reflecting, my time on the team was truly the most fulfilling and rewarding portion of my entire high school experience. Never would I have dreamed that an activity, and moreover a community, could have taught me the lessons and shaped me into the individual I am today the way MSD did, and for that I am ever grateful.
— Akaash Tawade, UC Berkeley