Why and How to Study Current Events? Extemporaneous!

Thomas Jefferson once said, “If we are to guard against ignorance and remain free, it is the responsibility of every American to be informed.” How can we make that happen? For our students, I believe the answer is through Speech and Debate. More specifically, more students need to study current events (through a Biblical Worldview). And the way they can practice and apply what they are learning is through the speech event – Extemporaneous. It is through this event where so much value takes place…

  1. Expanding knowledge.
  2. Analysis of the news.
  3. The ability to make informed decisions.
  4. Purposeful discussions.
  5. Critical thinking skills.
  6. Understanding cultural literacy.
  7. Responsible citizenship.

I think we can all agree that learning and studying current events can be quite beneficial, but where do we start or how do we begin this journey? The answer is simple – We need to start and to have practice! And there is no better place to start – join an online group! Lasting Impact! has TWO Extemp opportunities coming up…

Hope Rawlson, the reigning Extemp Champ and Lasting Impact! team member, says, “The most common thing said about extemp is that it’s boringgg. And it’s true!! Extemp can be insanely, extremely boring to listen to, sometimes I’m even bored. But my goal is to bring life into this event through the gathering of students, ideas, and learning together! We need break down the stigmas that Extemp is only for the ultra smart or boring competitors. I will teach you that Extemp is fascinating and we will make it entertaining and interesting. Our goals will include to go from giving good speeches to great speeches. And just being more interesting automatically boosts your ranking up!! This Wednesday I’m going to go over how being interesting is way easier than you think and more ways to go from good to great in Extemp!!”

Hope is passionate about current events and Extemp! We hope you jump in and explore this with her.

Coming Soon! NCFCA Lincoln Douglas Guidebook

Whether you’re a first-year debater or a 6-year debater wanting to dig deeper, this brand new sourcebook from Lasting Impact! is about to be your best friend!

We are putting together an NCFCA LD Guidebook–It’s like a typical sourcebook, yet with LD coaching tips and arguments all in one. This is not a curriculum. Hope Rawlson, 2019 NCFCA LD Champion is part of the project, “I am so excited to be involved in this! I LOVE LD, but felt typical source books, just didn’t offer enough. I’m thrilled Lasting Impact! will be offering more to help competitors, parents, and coaches and making a resource that will be really helpful for understanding the resolution and debating rounds.”

The guide will be split into sections, it is organized by the different elements of an LD case:

  • Definitions
  • Resolution Analysis
  • Applications

Plus, inside each section there will be an explanation on how to use it in LD. You will have a plethora of resources at your fingertips– including definition briefs, application briefs, in-depth arguments, and more! In addition, the sourcebook will include analysis of different arguments, how to debate this resolution, and how to successfully debate LD in general, all written by nationally ranked debaters with years of proven experience! Lasting Impact! is beyond excited to offer this incredible resource to share with all of you. Available by ebook only. Release date September 2019.

If you are as excited as we are… be sure to sign up for Hope’s Online LD Workshop – Aug. 28. Perhaps, you will get a sneak peek into the guide!

Apologetics Prepares You to Offer Jesus (Not Yourself) by: Kaitlyn Butts

Kaitlyn Butts is one of Lasting Impact’s Apologetics’s Coaches. She is passionate about the speech category. But not just as a speech category, for life! Lasting Impact! continues to reach students all across the nation to help them gain skills that they will use for life. Speech and Debate is not just about the competition! Here is what the Lord put on Kaitlyn’s heart on WHY students should learn Apologetics…

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Wednesday Workshops are Tackling Apologetics and College with Kaitlyn Butts

Two more opportunities this week to learn from a seasoned pro! Kaitlyn Butts is excited to talk about getting the most out of Speech and Debate by competing in Apologetics, as well as how to use the skills you are learning to advance your college career and beyond. These online workshops will be recorded through our online forum called Zoom, however there is no guarantee they will make it into our Recorded Workshops. So, be sure to sign up! Recordings will be sent to the email registered and remember- Workshops are only $5-$10 for members! Sign up NOW! Or keep reading to see what Kaitlyn has to say…

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Senioritis; Speech and Debate Reflection by: Joshua Anumolu

If you were to ask my parents, they would have diagnosed me with a strong case of senioritis this year. For those of you blessed to not know the meaning of this term, senioritis refers to when students nearing graduation experience a precipitous drop in motivation towards their academic studies. Symptoms may include: dropping 2 AP exams, a decline in grade performance, and a sudden desire to embark on world travel. At least, that’s what I assume it’s like for other seniors?!

But being a senior this past year has caused me to reflect on Speech and Debate and what it has meant to me over these past 6 years. I’ve come to a richer realization that the real value of Speech and Debate is what happens outside this journey, not what happens in it (for those of you taking notes, this is my thesis). I believe that Speech and Debate is one of many things in life we won’t fully appreciate until later.

  1. For example, faith in Christ is a living hope that won’t be fully realized until we are in heaven.
  2. Our education is comprised of years of tests and toil for character and knowledge we reap as adults.
  3. And I won’t fully appreciate my parents’ cooking until I’m at college, subsisting on eggs and cereal. Though to be fair: I can cook some beautiful scrambled eggs.

Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate Speech and Debate a lot. But I think I will appreciate it even MORE when we use the skills we have gained in the “real world.” For example, the forensic clap. I was recently at another event, and a lady was announcing the results, with long applause for each team. I was thinking “What an inefficient use of time” and desperately wanted to instruct them in the way of the forensic clap. That’s definitely a skill we should transfer.

I still remember my first debate round. I was a cocky novice with too much confidence for my own good. My family had already been in Speech and Debate for a couple of years, I was a master timer, and my partner and I did well in our club’s practice tournament. Then came our first tournament, the very first round we went affirmative against one of the best teams in the league. They argued every single stock issue and several disadvantages; and oh, a counterplan to top if off. It was a good reality check, and one of many failures that taught me more than success ever did. I look back at that tournament fondly because our club had fun “mock” debates in the lounges about installing “Biometric Presidential cake warmers”…..It was hilarious and dumb…. Still with a better rhetoric than some of my speeches.

At another tournament my novice year, we were against a good team with an even better case, and we had no good arguments. I always ran a DA, but since we didn’t have any good ones, I became desperate and said that their plan is a: “violation of federal law”. With the resolution of “reforming federal election law”, that’s exactly what the affirmative team should be doing. I felt ridiculously silly, and the ballot reflected that.

Needless to say, I did not live up to my self-projected image as a novice. Yet failures like these are exactly what makes the Speech and Debate experience NOT a failure, but a success. If we truly believed the real value of Speech and Debate consists only in what happens inside of Speech and Debate, then any mistake could be grounds for despair because it’s all a waste of time. But as a senior who’s now looking forward, I’ve realized the real value of Speech and Debate lies in what happens next, after we graduate, when we put these skills and character development into use.


Last summer, I was in Amman, Jordan on a study-abroad program. And it was a wonderful experience. It was fun to play soccer with Muhammad, a neighborhood boy, in the middle of the street, defying angry taxi drivers. It was fun to visit Petra and Wadi Rum and the Dead Sea. It was fun to roam the streets of Amman and eat Kanafeh, a sweet, syrupy, cheesy dessert, from angels disguised as street vendors. Truly a taste of heaven.

But the experience was also…..interesting, for lack of a better word, not only because it was a completely new country and culture, but also because it was the first time I spent such a long period of time away from home surrounded by people who are not Christians. And I’m not just referring to the people of Amman, but also the American students who I spent most of the day with. Being surrounded by people who didn’t share my values as a Christian was sometimes very depressing and isolating.

For example, one day, when we were all on the bus, one American student was talking about how he competed in public school debate, and was openly bragging about how he fabricated evidence. The fact that a public school debater fabricates evidence wasn’t surprising, the fact that he openly bragged about it surprised me – so I asked him “isn’t that unethical?” He looked at me with spite, and responded, “Haven’t you read Friedrich Nietzsche? God doesn’t exist.” The way he said was matter-of-factly, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world, was so infuriating. I happened to study Nietzsche the past school year, and believe me, I very much wanted to give him a piece of my mind on why Nietzsche is one of the crappiest philosophers ever. But alas, he wasn’t open to discussion. This was a good wakeup call to what life is like outside the Speech and Debate and homeschool world.

I mean, Speech and Debate truly is unique. A few years ago, I was at a tournament, when the unthinkable happened, a tragedy to make Shakespeare jealous: I lost my tie clip. As a joke, I replaced it with a clothespin. I wore it in an impromptu speech. Some of my friends that it was bold and edgy, and I felt like a bad boy. You know you’re a debater when you think that wearing a clothespin instead of a tie clip counts as edgy.

There’s a Japanese word called Mono No Aware. Mono No Aware — forgive my less-than-sublime pronunciation — refers to a bittersweet sadness that comes from sensitivity to transience, an awareness of the fleeting nature of things… such as certain experiences like tournaments, periods of life like growing up or parenting, the taste of delicious food like chicken tikka. To quote one Speech and Debate alum, now a successful entrepreneur, reminiscing about his homeschooling journey: “The freedom to design my own schedule was priceless. The freedom to do homework in my pajamas was, as I quickly found out, overrated.” Savor your Speech and Debate journey, whether this year is your first, last, or both, and savor your years of homeschooling, with the confidence that God is working in you to work for His glory.

Cultivating the Debater’s Soul by: Isaiah McPeak

For those of you who don’t know him, Isaiah’s passion is teaching students to think deeply and something (like me) he spends a lot of time thinking about!! After somewhat of a hiatus, Isaiah is looking forward to seeing both old and new friends in Chicago this August…

I’m really excited to help a new group of students stretch themselves and think about debate like never before. If you are thinking about sending your student to camp, or if you haven’t worked with me before, here are three things you should know:

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Going Digital AND Persuasive Speaking – for Speech and Beyond

This week starts our series of Workshop Wednesdays!! An opportunity for you to grow and dig deeper into some of speech and debate categories. One of our fabulous coaches, Isabelle Clausen, will kick our week off with Digital Design – a great overview of how to make your speeches digital for Digital Presentation or Expository. Next, she will explore Persuasive Speaking. Not quite sure you want to sign up? Isabelle will give you the reasons to try these Platform Speech Categories…

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Sign UP NOW for Online Workshop Wednesdays!

SIGN UP NOW FOR AUGUST – $5 WORKSHOP WEDNESDAYS!!

Can you believe it? It’s that time of year again–The beginning of a new school year!
New classes, new books, new clothes, new friends, and so many things to look forward to, plus my favorite….
A new season of speech and debate!

To help you get geared up, Lasting Impact! is offering Wednesday Workshops all through the month of August. Every Wednesday our fabulous instructors are ready to help you learn about different categories, dig deeper into familiar ones, or just explore new ideas. You won’t want to miss getting a head start on your Speech and Debate journey.

Signing up for an Online Workshop is easy!! All workshops are through an online forum called Zoom. It’s a quick and easy download that your instructor will send to you as part of their introduction email (usually within 24 hours of your workshop).

So, check out this fantastic line up of Online Workshops coming directly to you, in the comfort of your own home and sign up NOW so you don’t miss any of the ideas, tips, and valuable information! All workshops are recorded, and there is no guarantee we will be able to make it into a Recorded Workshop, therefore we encourage you to sign up, even if you cannot attend. The recording will be sent to your email, after the session is downloaded.

All 1 hour workshops are $5 for Members/$20 for nonmembers and 1.5 hour workshops are $10 for Members/$25 nonmembers. For complete discriptions or to sign up CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, August 7 at 6:00-7:30pm CT
Digital Presentation with Isabelle Clausen

Wednesday, August 7 at 8:00-9:00 pm CT
Persuasive with Isabelle Clausen

Wednesday, August 14 at 6:00-7:00 pm CT
Apologetics with Kaitlyn Butts

Wednesday August 14 at 7:30-8:30 pm CT
Speech and Debate/College Connections with Kaitlyn Butts

Wednesday, August 14 at 8:00-9:00 pm CT
Team Policy: What makes good evidence on an energy topic? With Eric Meinerding

Wednesday August 21 at 6:00-7:00 pm CT
Extemp with Hope Rawlson

Wednesday, August 21 at 7:30-8:30 pm CT
Moot Court with Eric Meinerding

Wednesday, August 28 at 5:30-6:30 pm CT
NCFCA Lincoln Douglas Debate with Hope Rawlson

Wednesday, August 28 at 6:30-7:30 pm CT
Cutting for Humorous Interpretation with Luke Crory

Sign Up NOW!! New Classes/Clubs Added for Fall 2019!!

Do you have a local speech and debate club? Does it offer Apologetics or Extemp? What about Moot Court? Are you looking for accountability? Lasting Impact! Fall Classes/Clubs are just around the corner, and this year we just added more clubs/classes to our mix.

How cool is it, we live in an age where we can meet people all over the country from the comfort of our homes? How awesome is it, that your students can receive solid coaching and instruction from experienced instructors?

Lasting Impact! strives to give you the most opportunities in your journey with Speech and Debate. Our coaches are amazing! They have proven track records, making delving into Speech and Debate fun and engaging. Our Online Community allows students to get to know other kids from around the country. These clubs are not lecture type classes, all students learn, grow, and participate… making connections for a lifetime!

Our classes are run on an online meeting forum called Zoom. It’s a quick free download on to your computer. Classes are recorded, therefore, even if you can’t be there- you won’t miss a thing.

This year we have even MORE opportunities than ever before for students to engage in Speech and Debate! Now is the time to join! Space will be limited – so be sure to sign up early! https://lastingimpact.info/product-category/clubs/

Advanced Online Apologetics Club with Kaitlyn Butts

When: Every other week starting August 26, 2019 (8 sessions)
Mondays at 8:00 CST/9:00 EST
Cost: $40 Members/$65 Nonmembers

Advanced Apologetics is designed to provide experienced apologetics competitors an opportunity to deepen their understanding of apologetics topics and grow as speakers. Club sessions will consist of both teaching and speaking strategies that will help students transition their ideas about defending the reliability and historicity of Scripture, explaining the attributes of God, and sharing the gospel into creative and powerful speech content. The speaking focused sessions will train students in how storytelling, style, and persuasion all play vital roles in becoming a seasoned apologetics competitor. Each session will be full of fresh ideas and dynamic discussion, but the ultimate goal of this club is to train up devoted and excellent communicators of the gospel.

Online Apologetics with Joel Erickson, Matthew Harper & Kristen Erickson

When: Every week starting September 3, 2019
Tuesdays from 8:00-9:00 pm CST/9:00-10:00 pm EST
Cost: $50 Members/$75 Nonmembers

Join us once again for Online Apologetics. We offer weekly accountability, great teaching and resources, growth in knowledge and confidence, and experiences that will last well beyond your competitive years. Each session will be full of engaging discussions and guest speakers with lots of opportunities for students to practice and participate. The ultimate goal of this club is to train up exceptional communicators of the gospel.

Extemp Club for NCFCA & Stoa with Hope Rawlson

When: Every week starting: TBD
Mondays at 6:30 CST/7:30 EST
Cost: $80 Members/$100 Nonmembers

Are you planning on competing in Extemp this year? Our Online Extemp Club is designed to provide Extemp speakers at all levels a fun, productive and practical opportunity to deepen their understanding of extemp topics and to grow as speakers. Hope Rawlson will be focusing on three specific areas to equip you to master Extemp: How to Extemp like a boss; Diving deep and discussing current events; and Practice – because practice makes perfect This club will be a place for progress, discussion, encouragement and learning where we all can not only advance in our skills in Extemp but really come to love it!

Online LD NCFCA Debate Club with Joel Erickson

When: Every week starting September 3, 2019
Thursdays from 8:00-9:30 pm CST/9:00-10:30 pm EST (approx. 1.5 hrs.)
Cost: $100 Members/$125 Nonmembers

Looking to turbocharge your preseason preparation? Joel Erickson is coaching an online LD club for intermediate and advanced competitors. We’ll focus on the three crucial elements of debate. First, we’ll extensively practice debate drills because debate is fundamentally a skill—something that is concretely cultivated, not abstractly conceived. Second, we’ll concentrate on the resolution and case development with background philosophy supplements. Third, we’ll solidify both rudimentary and advanced LD theory to help you communicate in a manner that is accessible to judges.

Online TP NCFCA Debate Club with Eric Meinerding

When: Every week starting September 5, 2019
Thursdays from 8:00-9:00 pm CST/9:00-10:00 pm EST
Cost: $100 Members/$125 Nonmembers

Looking to kick up your TP prep a notch or wanting to learn and grow with other competitors? Eric Meinerding will be leading an online TP NCFCA debate club for all experience levels. The club will be working through two primary areas. The first will be controlling the narrative in a debate round and choosing an AFF case. The second will be drills because hands-on practice is necessary for growth. Club members will spar against one another in mini-debates focusing on applying argument theories, lessons and formulas in a practical way. The intent here is to not just lecture at students every week, but actually practicing debates, impact work, word efficiency, line by line and four-point refutation and the like.

Online Moot Court Club with Eric Meinerding

When: Every week starting TBD
Thursdays from 7:00-8:00 pm CST/8:00-9:00 pm EST
Cost: $100 Members/$125 Nonmembers

Ready to hit the ground running with Moot Court? Eric Meinerding will be leading an online Moot Court club to help you on your way. Whether you’ve been competing in moot court since day one or are trying it out for the first time this year, the club will be tailored to all experience levels based on methods Eric used while competing in moot court in college at the national level. We will be covering strategy, speaking, how to answer judge questions, brief-writing, drills, and more.

Online Speech Clubs with Heather Neumann

When: Every week starting TBD (12 weeks) Choose from one of three options:
Tuesdays 9:00-10:00 am CST/10:00-11:00 EST
Tuesdays 1:00-2:00 pm CST/2:00-3:00 EST OR
Wednesdays 9:00-10:00 am CST/10:00-11:00 am EST
Cost: $100 per student with sibling discounts available

Learn all about the Art of Communication in one of Lasting Impact!’s very own Online Speech Clubs. Through the power of technology, online clubs will meet weekly in the comfort of your own home… or wherever you happen to be! Speech Coach, Heather Neumann, will lead students/families through a fun-filled 12-week journey on the basics of Speech- about different speech events, how to choose a topic, as well as delivery. Students will be held accountable, stretched, and encouraged. There will be expectations, presentations, and feedback and students will be well prepared to compete for the 2019-2020 speech season.

We can’t wait to see you! For the complete list and to sign up, CLICK HERE

You Don’t Have to Start Out Being a Great Communicator… Just Start!!

There is often a huge misconception about really good communicators. Most people think that those fantastic communicators started out that way… that they were just naturally talented or gifted!? I hear it all the time, “That person must have been a natural speaker.” Or “He/She is just gifted.”  Or how about, ” They were born that way!!” While they may be a great communicator now, I doubt they were born reciting Shakespeare.  Each of the coaches we have have at Lasting Impact! started their speech and debate journey between the ages of 8-16. And they didn’t become a National Champion Speaker their first year. The point is, they all made a conscience decision to begin. Will you?

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