Humorous Interp – A Deeper Purpose? By: Nina Romeo

Hallelujah! Humorous Interpretation has returned to the NCFCA. We should all celebrate our triumph in overcoming the great injustice that has been the last two humorousless years. How could they have done this to us? Do they even care? Well, it may come as a shock, but the answer is a resounding yes. They care for the judges who were forced to sit through eighty minutes of poorly timed jokes, an overuse of Patrick McManus, superficial characters, and hyper teens using Humorous as an excuse to be obnoxious. This event was misused for years, and it is my hope that it’s return this year will be stronger and more powerful than ever.

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Moot Court Tips (part 1) by: Hope Turner

​Mister Chief Justice and may it please the court…

​Moot court is something special. It transcends the everyday and takes you to a higher plane of thought. At least, that’s how I think of it. I LOVE moot court, but I’ll be the first to tell you that it is HARD. However, I have learned that if you invest in it, moot court will grow you into a stronger, smoother speaker who gives mic-drop answers using razor-sharp reasoning skills.

​I would like to give you a few tips to approaching moot court that makes you a better advocate and helps you have more fun. These aren’t just abstract tips. I’ve actually done these. In fact, I’m doing them right now as I prepare to compete at Nationals in collegiate moot court.

Fully immerse yourself in moot court
​Moot court can be daunting at first. And two months in. And six months in. In all honesty, I’m still intimidated by it to this day. That’s ok. The Supreme Court of the United States is daunting too. Ask anyone who has argued before the Supreme Court.

​“Come on, Hope,” you say. “It’s just pretend. We’re not actually arguing for a real person in front of the real Supreme Court.” To which I say, “but what if it were real? What if you actually were arguing for a real person before the real Supreme Court trying to affect real change?”

​That is the attitude you should have when you compete in moot court. Take it seriously! Fully immerse yourself in the role of The Attorney: arguing passionately on behalf of your client, who has been seriously injured; or defending the United States of America, who has done nothing wrong. Don’t do it half-heartedly. You get out of moot court what you put into it. So throw your whole self into it! Treat every round as if it were your one chance to speak before the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). Your client is counting on you for justice. Act like it.

Read the cases
​Real talk: life is busy. Between high school (or college) classes, SAT prep, and everything else you are doing, your time is very limited. I get it. But actually reading the cases is invaluable to your moot court preparation for a few reasons:

  • Quotes
    ​SCOTUS has some pretty punchy lines. Use them to your advantage. Memorize them to use as answers to questions. Incorporate them into your arguments. Respond to opposing counsel’s arguments with them. They are wonderful little tools.
  • Actually understanding the cases
    ​This one seems like a no-brainer, but I can’t tell you how many times I have heard cases misrepresented or misquoted because counsel hasn’t actually read the case. Read the whole thing. Read the footnotes. Read the concurrences and dissents. Read it all.
  • Commentary on other cases
    ​It is common for cases to comment on past cases. Sometimes, SCOTUS overturns past cases (a fancy way of saying that they were wrong). They may even comment on cases you have available to you. That can increase your understanding of those cases, show you how to apply them to different circumstances, and distinguish the rule from dicta. (if you have no idea what I just said, let me explain: the “rule” is the part of a case that is binding on lower courts. It is the actual decision and the reasoning behind it that causes real change. It is how they answer the question presented to them. Anything else, like commentary on other cases or thoughts about potential future cases, is “dicta,” which is the non-binding opinion of the court. Dicta can be great for persuasive or rhetorical appeal, but it is not binding on the court.)

​​Tune into Hope’s next article for tips on – how to read cases…

Hope Turner is a Lasting Impact! Team Member and Coach. She is the reigning Moot Court Champion, along with her partner Hope Rawlson. For more one on one coaching, contact us.

Knocking Out Nervousness by: Julia Brousseau

Most of us dream of being that person whose speaking was so outstanding that it lived in the memories of its audience years after it was presented. For me, one of the most vivid recollections of a speech I listened to was one I saw over six years ago, yet I can still picture it as perfectly as if I was there last week.

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Join Lasting Impact! Online Clubs by: LillyAnne Beatty

If I could change anything about my first season, I would tell my past self what I wish I had known: being in a club, especially an online one, is one of the best things you can do for your journey through the world of speech and debate…

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How to take care of yourself and survive the Speech and Debate Season by: Hope Turner

Before we begin this article, let us introduce you to Hope Turner. She has been going to Speech and Debate Tournaments before she could compete, and hit the ground running when she was 12. She has been to a plethora of competitions during her Speech and Debate years, which culminated in 2019, her senior year, as Moot Court Champion with her partner, Hope Rawlson. If you want to know how to survive the long days of a tournament, read on…

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What I Learned About Mentoring Over Winter Break by: Wyatt Eichholz

One of the things they told me when I went off to college was that finals would be stressful. They were. What they didn’t tell me was that after you finish your first semester final exams, Christmas break can seem incredibly boring. As it happened, I made it home for break while my siblings were still in the thick of their own midterms. For almost two school weeks, I had little to do except sit around and keep myself occupied while by brother and sisters studied and prepared for their tests. Perhaps it was out of boredom, then, that I agreed to a rather unique arrangement one Thursday last week.

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Tips on Ballot Writing and Giving Feedback – FREE download

I know judges sometimes struggle with what to write on Speech and Debate ballots. It’s hard to express your feelings on paper. Over the years, I’ve seen thousands of ballots and they are usually a blessing (for the most part) and a source for students to refer back to. I mean, let’s be honest, some kids keep their ballots for years after competing. However, once in a while there are some comments that would be better not to write, and it usually involves a pre-disposed bias. So I challenge judges to really think before you write…

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Coaching Apologetics: Do a New Thing! by: Karen Harper

One of the things I love about the Lord is that He does not change. He’s the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He is constant, stable, reliable. He does not change like shifting shadows. And though He does not change, He is always doing something new.

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
~ Isaiah 43:19

I know He is always doing new things in me. And part of the reason He’s doing new things in me is because I’m growing, maturing in Christ, and He knows I am ready for Him to do new things in me and through me.

As a club leader, perhaps you’ve been considering doing something different with your Apologetics coaching. Your program is growing and maturing and it’s time to try something new. Or maybe, you want to begin something new in your club… like getting some Apologetics coaching going for the first time! If so, there’s good news for you… you can do a new thing! Now is the time for it to spring up… do you not perceive it?

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Guest Blog : My Team Policy Debate Partner? My Brother

Brothers, but not TP Partners.


This article was submitted by an Alumni Debater (not pictured)

Debate was my high school sport. I participated in a high school homeschool Speech and Debate League, which values real-world skills over technical debate training, I developed the art of rhetoric, composition, and professional conduct. Yet the most important lesson I learned during that time was a lesson I learned from my brother.

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