Find Your Voice with the FLVS Speech & Debate Club
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. For the Speech & Debate club at Florida Virtual School, words are a very powerful tool that speak for themselves!
On the surface, a Speech & Debate team is the perfect opportunity for students to improve their communication skills, sharpen their critical thinking abilities, and prepare for college and the workforce. But for the FLVS Speech & Debate club, it’s much more.
Here students are encouraged to find their voices and use them to truly connect with others—no matter where they’re located. And they’re driven by a passion for communication. This is an important art in a world where so many of our interactions happens virtually.
“The ability to speak to each other regardless of location has truly encouraged more to join than in- person teams,” shared club President Madisyn. As a first year FLVS student, she quickly found community with the online club after leaving her brick-and-mortar school and its speech & debate team during the pandemic.
“Many people just come to hang out, talk, build up their interpersonal communication skills,” shared club member Riya. “We are a club based on diversity that accepts everyone, all who come to us.”
Finding a space where students feel equally empowered to speak, listen, and learn, has paid off in more ways than one. The club has accomplished a lot in a challenging year, with members of the club placing first, second, or third in each of their tournaments during the 2020-21 school year.
“Each club member has something unique to gain,” says FLVS student Sarah. “Through participating in debates, I have become more assertive. I have always had a leadership mentality and it truly came out through last year’s competitions…it gave me the push I needed to take charge, to move forward, and to show everyone, especially myself, what I could do.”
And for students who aren’t sure if public speaking is the right fit for them, FLVS graduate and prior club Vice President Abigail can attest to the power of the club’s support and encouragement.
When she initially joined, she was nervous about competing. But with the help of Dr. Mark Taylor, club sponsor and FLVS Biology instructor, Abigail quickly improved her public speaking skills.
“In my first congressional debate competition, I placed fifth. But in every one after that, I placed in the top two or three,” shared Abigail. This was an experience she plans to take with her to college and beyond.
When asked about the club’s success, Dr. Taylor explained, “the most rewarding aspect of sponsoring this club is the students. They make it very rewarding because they really enjoy participating and competing.”
And the team’s plans for this school year? Taking their talents all the way to nationals!
Ready to join the debate? Visit flvs.net/clubs for more information about joining the FLVS Speech & Debate Team.