The Stoa community brings families together to impact the world for Christ. Even when we don’t realize it, we are inspiring others. Community judges often take notice of how we treat one another in and out of competition rooms. We are inspired by Stoa students helping fellow competitors in hallways, friends and family members praying together before a debate round, and seniors and alumni taking the time to create videos to give hope and inspiration to the next generation of competitors. 

So, as the world around us has its eyes on our Stoa community, let us continue inspiring one another to walk in a manner worthy of our calling, reaching the world for Christ.

2021 Stoa Member Vote

April is the time for the 2021 Stoa Member Vote! To help you be better prepared and informed on the voting issues, we are hosting another Leaders Live Chat to share details and answer your questions. Hear from the Debate Committee Chair, Steven Vaughan, about Lincoln Douglas and Team Policy Debate resolution options and the Speech Committee Chair, Debbie Snyder, about the proposed Wild Card choices.

Voting will be open to Stoa members from April 15–30. 

Click Here to See Your Voting Options!

NITOC preparations are fully underway and the first 2021 NITOC News arrived in your inbox last weekend! The NITOC website is now open with all of the important information you need on registration, housing, meals, and more! 

If you have tournament staffing experience and a heart to serve, let us know! Email your name, state, club affiliation, staffing positions worked, and area(s) where you would be willing to serve to info@stoausa.org.

As the final Stoa virtual tournament, the Silver Challenge, is just around the corner, we want to encourage all of our debaters to read through the Virtual Debate Protocol to ensure the best possible online experience.

It is important to follow protocol, especially those items that relate directly to our Stoa Debate Rules:

  • The official Stoa rules for Team Policy and Lincoln Douglas Debate state that "Evidence must be physically present, on paper, in the debate room." This rule still applies at virtual tournaments. All evidence must be printed and read from a physical document and not from your computer screen.
  • Debaters should only read from their screens when going over shared evidence. 
  • Judges have been trained to watch for students reading from their screens to minimize possible cheating. Make sure to follow this guideline!
  • Stay fully viewable on the screen during the entire round to be above reproach.

Be familiar with and follow the evidence sharing guidelines:

  • To share evidence easily, each team should create a Google doc before the round.
  • Upon entering the Zoom room, all debaters should share their email addresses to enable evidence sharing during the round.
  • When the opposing team requests evidence, the team can share it by cutting and pasting it onto the document. The document is shared with the other team as View Only.
Let's make the Silver Challenge debate rounds the best yet by following the protocol! There is still space for more competitors at the Silver, so please email stoavirtualsilver@gmail.com if you are interested in competing.  

Don’t have a student competing in the Silver Challenge? Sign up to judge as a community judge through the link on the tournament graphic below. Please also download the linkable Silver Challenge PDF judge recruitment flier. Share with your friends and ask alumni and alumni parents to judge, too!

All Evidence Is Support, but Not All Support Is Evidence

As mentioned in the Team Policy and Lincoln Douglas Debate Rules, debaters may make use of a “wide variety of support to defend and clarify arguments.” Evidence is one type of support that must meet very specific requirements. Confusion exists about what is meant by evidence versus support. In order to clarify, let’s take a look at excerpts from the debate rules:

Evidence (a subset of support) is the oral verbatim reading of quoted text as well as an accompanying citation from a particular source that is publicly available.


Evidence must be read verbatim from the first word of the sentence to the ending punctuation without redaction or addition.

Unless support is read verbatim from a written document during one of the speeches, it is not evidence. All else may be considered support but may not be considered evidence. If the debater refers to evidence “back at the table”, which has not been properly read into the round from the podium, it is not actually evidence. 

So we can see that there is a difference between support and evidence. Evidence must follow the guidelines laid out in the rules.

Why is this important? Again, we turn to the rules:

Evidence must be made available if requested by the other team or the judge, as the team presenting the evidence has the burden of validating that evidence if challenged.

Support that is only referred to by the debater and is not available or subject to review by the opposing team is not evidence. Lincoln Douglas Debate in particular uses a lot of support. However, when you say something is evidence, one must bear in mind, the evidence must meet very specific requirements. 

For further reading, please read the Evidence Standards document. If you have any questions, please be sure to discuss with your coach or contact the Debate Committee.

The Stoa Debate Committee

Stick to the Script!

Remember, per Stoa rules, all interp and platform speeches “must be memorized and delivered as written in the script." This means that your approved script for NITOC must contain the actual words you will deliver in your speech. You may not add or omit any content when presenting your speech during competition. Stick to the script!

A Look Back

This time last year, we were reminded that our best-laid plans do not always come to fruition. We said “Goodbye” to NITOC and “Hello” to facemasks. And we were disappointed. We were forced to remember why we do speech and debate. The Stoa vision tells us our goal is to develop students who speak boldly and change the world for Christ. 

“For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.” Romans 11:36

We gratefully look forward to NITOC at Union University, never taking for granted the privilege of attending our national tournament in person again. We remember that from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. And it is for His glory forever and ever. We can’t wait to see you! 

The Stoa Speech Committee

The Seeking Truth series is a self-guided video study by Stoa alumnus Matthew Mittelberg that has been designed to prepare you to confidently respond to the tough questions we all face as ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20). This month, two new videos are now available on Stoa’s YouTube channel titled Doubt and Sin and Suffering.

Matthew earned a bachelor’s degree in entrepreneurial business from Grand Canyon University and a certificate of theological studies from Oxford’s Wycliffe Hall, where he was trained at The Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics (OCCA). He has spoken at universities, churches, conferences, and youth events in both the United States and the United Kingdom and has led international mission trips in Europe and Asia. Matthew is passionate about helping people understand that faith in God makes sense while removing their barriers to belief and introducing them to Jesus. 

As a Stoa member, you can access other Stoa Visual Library materials, including Matthew’s past Seeking Truth videos.


If you have been tossed about in the storms of life or feel there is a surprise around every corner, don't miss our next Facebook Live event, Undaunted, Monday, April 26th at 4:00 p.m. PDT. Stoa alumni Matthew Mittelberg and Kasey Leander, along with former National Forensics League debate coach Ivy Tyson, will lead a 1-2 hour discussion on standing firm when life’s storms pound on us with full force. 

Matthew and Kasey led the first Facebook webinar, the More Conference, now available on Stoa’s YouTube channel. Matthew was featured last year in the March 2020 Alumni Post, and Kasey was recently featured in the March 2021 Alumni Post

Everyone is welcome, so bring your friends and family! Please let us know you plan to attend by emailing angela@stoausa.org.

Join Us In Seattle!

Are you a coach, a parent, an alumni or any adult involved in Stoa? We have an event for you! Stoa Academy 2021 in Seattle will offer something for all of you! We are currently assembling an all-star cast of experts on myriad topics to encourage and equip you as you head into the future of your ministry to Stoa.

Five Reasons to Visit Seattle This Summer!

  • The average temperature in the Seattle area in July is 75 degrees.
  • Sixteen hours of daylight per day allows for lots of activities.
  • Washington is an outdoor lover’s dream with lakes, the ocean, mountains, national parks, etc.
  • Starbucks fans can visit the original store in the famous Pike Place Market.
  • Of course, the best reason to visit Seattle this summer is to attend Stoa Academy! 

We are working hard to provide our parents, coaches, and club leaders with content that will equip, encourage, and energize you as you prepare for another year of speech and debate. We will have sessions on leadership, understanding tab, coaching speech events, analyzing the new debate resolutions, and so much more! 

Stephanie Dropping and Sharon Nagatani
Stoa Academy 2021 Directors

Social Media Intern Wanted

Want to be Stoa’s next Social Media Intern for the Fall 2021 semester? Get experience in planning, designing, and running a national organization’s social media platforms. For more information, contact angela@stoausa.org.

Stoa’s mission is to teach students to speak boldly and change the world for Christ, something that is needed now more than ever. The Training and Development Committee strives to fulfill Stoa’s purposes through four key areas:

  1. Facilitating training
  2. Equipping coaches
  3. Sharing ideas
  4. Starting new Stoa clubs

In order to better serve you, we would like to hear from you! How can we help? Is your club struggling? Do you need coaching help? Would a mentor be useful to you? Please fill out our Training and Development Survey so we know how we can help.

We exist to serve the body of Stoa. If we don’t have an answer for you, we will find someone who does! For questions or comments, contact joe@stoausa.org.

2021 Stoa Seniors Speak

Last year after NITOC was canceled, the class of 2020 was given the opportunity to reflect on their time in Stoa and say goodbye through videos posted on Stoa’s YouTube channel. This year, graduating seniors will be filmed on-site at Union University for the 2021 Stoa Seniors Speak project. 

Check out what 2020 Stoa Seniors had to say and be thinking about what you would like to share. Watch for more details coming soon!

Thank you for participating in the March Trivia contest! Congratulations to our latest winner, Lori Longridge, from California! For your chance to be the next winner of a classic pullover Stoa hoodie from our Stoa Merch store, answer the questions below correctly by April 7th, and you will be entered in the random drawing.

  1. When will the 2021 Stoa Member Vote open?
  2. Where will the Stoa Seniors Speak project be filmed this year?
  3. What is the best reason to visit Seattle this summer?

To participate in the trivia contest, please click here.

Our Father,

As this season of Spring begins, we are reminded once again of your goodness toward us. We are reminded of your promises of hope, renewal, and rebirth, and we are blessed. Resurrection Sunday, coming within the next few days, points us to the hope we have in you and in your Son, who gave his life in order to give us a new birth. Thank you, Father, that you have provided a way for us to find reconciliation with you through Christ, and for this season of remembrance of that gift. In Peter 1:3 your Word says, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." 

In the coming days, help us to meditate on this truth and be renewed and refreshed in our walk with you. During the coming weeks, help us to strengthen our resolve to persevere through the challenges that this pandemic has brought, as well as through all of the usual end-of-the-school-year busyness that this time of year brings with it. We want to be steadfast in you and in our resolve to speak boldly in your name and for your glory. Amen. 

Lynda Sloneker, Stoa Board Member

Until Next Time...

Greg DeJager (President), Ronette Bakke, Maggie Carabelos, Jeff Eschen, Sharon Nagatani, Lynda Sloneker, and Mike Winther 
Email the Stoa Board

Angela Childress, Executive Director
Email the Executive Director

Debbie Snyder, Speech Committee Chair 
Email the Speech Committee

Steven Vaughan, Debate Committee Chair 
Email the Debate Committee

"For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen." ~Romans 11:36
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