As we all struggle to constantly changing guidelines with Covid-19, we will be beginning the 2020-2021 competition year by conducting our club over Zoom. Since we so highly value our Stoa community, we hope and pray that we will be able to gather in person at a facility in the near future and are working toward that end, but we want to be equipped to run whether we can gather or not. As the club year progresses, there may be in-person small group gatherings in a home or otherwise, as size permits, and club event leaders will do their best to keep our member families informed and updated.
Our schedule will be modified somewhat this year to account for this need for more flexibility. Parent participation is more important than ever toward this end. Parents will need to be at least in the background (within earshot) during Zoom sessions, and will be expected to assist their child by helping them to write and practice speeches between club meeting times.
Fortitude is a multi-faceted club, run by parents and alumni of like mind. This is not a drop-off club! Each family should plan to have a parent present, both to learn how to help their own students, and to become judges both during club coaching time, and at tournaments.
Tournaments are the primary vehicle for sharpening our students’ skills. At tournaments, speech competitors will give their speeches a minimum of two times, before a three judge panel. Debate competitors will run their cases in front of one judge a minimum of six times. Tournament fees vary from tournament to tournament, but parents should expect that the larger expense would be for travel related costs and housing. Sometimes, tournament families can get free “host-housing,” but each family is on their own to sign up for tournaments, travel, and secure lodging. Since, we believe that the parents are the best educators for their students, and decision makers for their families, we do not require a minimum attendance of tournaments. That being said, we do actively train students with the goal of competition in mind. We recommend a minimum of three tournaments each year, including one in the fall (especially for debate students). Many families do far more tournaments, and a few will do less. Because we are working with tournaments in mind, students who come prepared and are scheduled for upcoming tournaments will be given more opportunities in club to present in order to sharpen their skills than otherwise.
During club time, students will be expected to participate and discuss in club, for the betterment of everyone. We assess presentation, with the goal of growth and building one another up. We use our club time to coach students to be the best, most effective communicators that they can be.
Out of Club Time:
We expect that students will be crafting speeches and/or researching and preparing debate cases at home, with the goal of being fully prepared for competition. Hours per week for practice will vary, but you should plan on a few hours a week at home. During the fall semester, more hours are spent researching, writing, and creating, while during the spring semester, more time is spent in practicing and refining.
As a Stoa affiliated club, we host our own local tournament in the later spring (usually the first weekend of April). We do need all of our local Fortitude families to come together for this project, which is a high point in the speech/debate season (and a lot of fun)! There are a myriad of ways that families can help, both before and during the tournament. Many hands make light work! Information as to how you can help will be available in the spring semester.