Some reflections, news, and updates.
View this email in your browser


October 2016 

New Competition Year!

Craig Smith

For the past few years, your Stoa board of directors has held their face-to-face fall or spring meeting on location at the venue of the upcoming NITOC.  It's given them a chance to survey the site and add insights from past NITOCs.  But mostly, it gives them a chance to get excited about seeing the campus filled with Stoa competitors and their families!  This was the case in September when the board met for three days on the campus of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee.  Their agenda covered a wide variety of items regarding the upcoming season and the promising future of Stoa. It's easy to get excited for NITOC 2017 because the leadership of Union University is aligned with the mission of Stoa.  In addition, the university has lovely green lawns, beautiful buildings, many large rooms, and really delicious food!  


October signals the beginning of the Stoa competition season.  The board is praying that it will be a fruitful, meaningful, and safe season for all our Stoa families, and that we'll all keep our focus on our gracious Lord.

You Asked, We Listened

There will be NITOC 2017 improvements that are based on member survey feedback from our time at Drury University and NITOC 2016.

Survey thoughts:

  •  "The awards ceremony was too long." – We're already discussing ways to celebrate while decreasing the time with some fun ideas. Wait and see!
  •  "Extemp Round 1 prep time was shortened." – Noted and addressed. Won't (and didn't) happen again.
  •   "The opening ceremony was too long and didn’t start on time.  Also, it was in the middle of the afternoon which made it difficult for travel plans to arrive earlier in the day." – Plan on a later and shorter opener for NITOC 2017.
  •  "Announce judge decisions for debate out-rounds. ('In a 3-0 decision...')" - Count on it!
  •  "Ballot push/give in prelim(inary round)s felt state discriminatory at times." - Duly noted and will be addressed.
  • "The food at the cafeteria wasn't very impressive." - There was a vendor change taking place the week we were at the campus.  Here's the good news for NITOC 2017: The food at Union University is excellent!
  • "The whole NITOC travel and lodging experience can be expensive" – At Union University, we'll have some very affordable on-campus dorm packages available!
  • "I want a better understanding of what takes place in tab." – Look for Tab Trivia in StoaBytes throughout this year.

Thank you for taking the time to complete our survey.  YOUR comments help improve NITOC.  See you next year! 

A Stoa First

Mark Russell

We've compiled a published annual report looking back at Stoa's first years and casting a vision for the future.  Besides perusing this for your own information, this can be used to promote Stoa among your churches and with potential donors and sponsors.  You can find our annual report in the Media Kit file of our website here:–-2016-Final.pdf

Tips and Hints from the Speech Committee 

  • Just a note to Tournament Directors regarding Cold Reading material. Please be careful to select material appropriate for all ages.
  • Coaches, if you would like some tips regarding Mars Hill, please check out the Coaches Forum.

Meet CJ Tam

I remember my first time at a debate competition in 2008. It was overwhelming! And it was only a round robin! "Is this for my family? Will my kid ever have an interest in this? I don’t even like public speaking!" Fast forward…it's 2016, I am here and would do this all over again. My sons have graduated and moved on to college. I have moved on from a debate mom with Modesto Debate to being a board member. God has orchestrated my journey in this speech and debate world. He placed people in my life…club and league parents from over all the country! He has a job for me here at Stoa. Is it to encourage another overwhelmed parent? Or to sit through a 14-hour board meeting? Perhaps it’s all of that plus more. is all for His glory and His Kingdom! I count this a privilege to serve our KING!  

“Heavenly Father, thank you for placing me with your willing servants to bring glory to Your name. From the very tiny baby to the supportive grandparents at the tournaments, you put us together to reveal the uniqueness of the Stoa community. It’s not just a competitive league. It’s also the body of Christ called to shed some light to this world. As we serve You, please help us be reminded of Proverbs 3:5-6 as we trust in You with all our heart and lean not on our own understanding; in all our ways submitting to You and You will direct our paths straight. Show us what compassion, humility, joy and grace look like when the circumstance calls for them. By this, the world will come to know our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and see the dire need for redemption in their lives. Amen”       -CJ Tam

Tab Trivia!

Dave McKinley

Based on post-NITOC surveys and the attendance at the Stoa Academy sessions on tab, there's much interest in this fundamental function of tournaments.  We'll be running short informative items on tab, starting with this one from Dave McKinley, your Stoa board member who oversees the topic of tab for Stoa.

During a tournament, what is tabulation?  Tabulation, affectionately known as "tab," is the process of pairing competitors in debate, sectioning competitors in speech, and tabulating the results from those rooms through a computer system to determine the results.   Stoa mainly uses software called Joy of Tournaments, which has Stoa pre-sets already established when setting up Stoa-style tournaments. Tabulation can be done manually, but the preferred method is using software specifically designed for tabulation.


This short snippet on tab only scratches the surface.  Check out future StoaBytes for more tab insights.  Also, go to on our website for an overview of Stoa's tab philosophy. Any additional questions can be sent to

Stoa Vision Core Values Spotlight

Stoa exists within the Christian Home school speech and debate community to ffacilitate opportunities for competition and training.”

While it's true that Stoa exists to promote Christian home school speech and debate, one of the main reasons why we see people joining our happy throng is because they see the community of Stoa in action at tournaments and club meetings across America.  The positive peer pressure, encouragement, and accountability between our member families looks like a byproduct, but it's actually one of our key missions.  Let's all keep that in mind as we begin our season of competition.  It seems like an oxymoron that competition begets community, but as Stoa members, we have a higher calling beyond winning trophies and collecting amazing ballots.


If you haven't seen it yet, please take a look at our latest promotional video here:   This short video gives a glimpse at the cohesive and enduring aspect of Stoa, showing that we're teaming up families to have a positive influence on each other in order to change the world for Christ.  We admit that it is a lofty goal, but it's doable as world class community.


Joining a local club or starting one on your own is a great way to begin building a world class community

Did you know Stoa provides support for coaches, both new and seasoned? Join the coach’s loop at

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

~Romans 11:36 (NASB)

NITOC 2016 Photo Highlights

All the photos from NITOC 2016 are up now on Shutterfly.  Since we want to be protective of our Stoa families, when you go to this link, you'll be asked to request access.  The Stoa IT team will confirm your current membership and you'll get to enjoy the pictures that were taken throughout the national tournament and the group shots during awards.  So that's another reason to remind your Stoa friends to renew their membership on the registration site here:

Stoa Academy 2017

It's not too early to start planning for Stoa Academy! It's one of the ways we support our membership and a way to continue building a world class community.  Here are two compliments from some of the participants this past July:


"I came to this conference feeling a bit overwhelmed with what I have gotten myself into and walked away at peace and feeling
part of a community that wants to support me!"


"This was valuable even for someone who has been in this arena for five years.  Exceeded my expectations."


There are more details to come, but at this time it's looking like our next Stoa Academy will take place in northern California in mid to late July. Plan now to attend and send your coach


Everything's Up To Date

All ballots, rules, and documents for the new season are available on the website!  link




Wise competitors, parents, and coaches will take a look and plan accordingly!


Contact The Board


Christian Community Credit Union:  Open a free checking account and get $100 deposited free into your account and Stoa will receive a $50 donation! Sign up at Please, use GROUP CODE #1374. 

You can also donate directly to Stoa at
Follow on Twitter
Follow on Facebook
Follow on Instagram
Copyright © 2016 Stoa Speech & Debate, All rights reserved. 
You are receiving this email because you are a Stoa Member or Friend 

Our mailing address is: 
Stoa Speech & Debate
300 Esplanade Drive
Suite 2100
Oxnard, CA 93036
Add us to your address book

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list 

This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
Stoa Speech & Debate · 1509 K Street · Suite 110 · Modesto, CA 95354 · USA