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December 2016

"It's His birthday we are celebrating.  
Don't let us ever forget that." 

Stoa has a subtitle: "Christian Homeschool Speech & Debate." But often, in spite of our best intentions, we reverse that phrase and focus primarily on the speech and debate aspect, followed by the business of homeschooling, and if there's time, finally give a nod to the Christian portion.  Each of us need to remember that Christ is the reason we should be engaging enthusiastically in this endeavor.  In line with our aim of speaking boldly and changing the world for Christ, one of Stoa's mission statements is to promote the development of a Biblical worldview.  As the competition gears up for the busiest time of the forensics season (have you checked out the Stoa tournament calendar lately!) let's not lose sight of our end goal to bring Him glory.  And now, in the spirit of remembering the reason for Christmas, beautifully blended with a combo of Monologue and Cold Reading (the bishop character in this scene is reading a sermon that he didn't write), please enjoy this clip from a Christmas movie classic (hey, it's a bit Mars Hill too!), The Bishop's Wife (1947).

The Bishop's Wife

The Gift That Keeps on Giving...

While we're filling stockings, prayerfully consider gifting your coach or yourself a trip to our Stoa Academy 2017.  This year it will take place in the San Francisco Bay Area at California Crosspoint Academy in Hayward, California. The dates are July 20-22.

Here's a testimonial from this past July by the coaches of South Bay Articulators, Gary and Monika Cardinale:

"Stoa Academy is an impressive and wonderful two-day experience.  We were able to see the heart of the Stoa Board of Directors and the passion they have for serving Christ, and we participated in great classes where they shared the benefit of their experiences. This was an excellent way to come back energized for the upcoming year and we came back with helpful information to manage our growing club.  And to boot, we got the benefit of meeting other Stoa club leaders just like ourselves from other parts of the country."

Sound inspiring? More details are on the way!

...And Giving

Have you ever wondered how Stoa spends the fees from membership registration?  Take a look at our published Stoa Annual Report in the media kit found under the "about" tab on our website.  

Your Stoa board is keenly aware of their stewardship obligations to our membership and continue to seek ways to best allocate what God provides us.  As you know, Stoa is a non-profit volunteer run organization.  Because we're 501(c)3, you'll receive a receipt for any contribution to Stoa.  Prayerfully consider making a donation to Stoa before the end of the year.  It's easy! Some clubs share money left over from tournaments and fundraisers with Stoa as a way of showing gratefulness.  Any amount is appreciated at any time!

Board Member Prayer

Does your church put on a Christmas program?  Ours does. It's an interactive "Night in Bethlehem" experience that is presented for three nights as an outreach to let the local community know that there's a profound reason to celebrate Christmas.  At the event, guests are taken back in time and given a tour of the little town of Bethlehem and its various citizens and shopkeepers.  As the guests are hosted through the streets by a guide, they learn that some very excited shepherds have hurried by recently:

"So, they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them."   Luke 2:16-18

My prayer for our Stoa families is for us to have the same sense of urgency as the shepherds.  In our shared experience of speech and debate, let us focus on the eternal purpose of what we're practicing in order for us to spread the word about The Word Made Flesh.

May you have a peaceful and meaningful Christmas season with your families and loved ones!

Craig Smith

Better Than a Sears Catalog!

Many of you are too young to remember getting a Sears Christmas catalog in the mail. They were also known as  "Wishbooks." Families would share the catalog with each other and pore over them and dream about the cool items they'd like to order for Christmas.  They were a little bit like a print version of Amazon.  

Well, you'll be getting a Stoa version of the wishbook very soon.  What will you be able to order for a low fee?  How about a nice shiny new website for your club?  Yes, Stoa will be offering individual Stoa Club Sites for our members!  A Stoa Club Site is a custom-built website that your club can use for sharing information with others who are looking for a Stoa club in your area. And while it can be put together in ways that best suit your club with photos, calendars and club handbooks, it will have the look and feel of our very own new nifty Stoa website.  

Also – this idea is SUPER EASY – no assembly required. You don’t need to know how to ‘build a website’.  Just fill out the easy-breezy form and Stoa IT will do all the work for you! So be looking for the Stoa Club Site “Wishbook” in your email box soon! You'll be able to check out some of the options available while you're enjoying some holiday downtime, and then put in your order in January when Stoa Club Sites are rolled out.

Merry Christmas!

One Size Does Not Quite Fit All

Greetings from your Stoa Eligibility Committee

We're so excited that there is so much growth within Stoa this year! A happy side effect is the growing number of questions about eligibility, specifically questions regarding HSLDA definitions. In the past few years, this has been an easy identifier for parents, who may have had questions about whether they're really homeschooling or not in their state. However, we have had a growing number of questions about where to find information for specific requirements as a national community.

To help clarify our desire to uphold HSLDA current trends from state to state, we are adding a link on our eligibility page to the HSLDA state laws for homeschoolers. We hope that you find your state information easier to find, so that there's less hunting for eligibility in the future. Our heart, as your servant leaders, is to make this eligibility requirement as clear and concrete as we can, giving you as much control as possible to determine homeschooling eligibility for your family.

May you be blessed as you pursue His best this season!

Thank you,
Patricia Shaw for the Stoa Board of Directors

Tab Triva

Tiebreaker Problem:  So how should tournaments use Speaker Points, Speaker Ranks and Strength of Schedule when breaking ties? How should these three data points be used to determine a team’s rank within a particular Win/Loss bracket?

In past years, the tiebreakers were applied serially. The computer looked at the first tiebreaker before all others. The second tiebreaker was only used if there was a tie at the first tiebreaker. The third tiebreaker was only used if there was a tie at the second tiebreaker.  This process continued through all the given tiebreakers. In the past, the first tiebreaker was traditionally a variation on Speaker Points and the second tiebreaker was traditionally a variation on Speaker Ranks. Subsequent tiebreakers usually went back and forth on additional variations of Speaker Points and Speaker Ranks. Strength of Schedule was used far down the list, if at all.

Tiebreaker Solution. Stoa Tab sought to develop a method that incorporated all three data points in parallel fashion rather than a series. Applying all three data points at the same time by combining them is superior to applying them one at a time because, in the past, ties were often broken based on Speaker Points alone. As a result, the current tiebreaker system creates a bracket ranking (Win/Loss bracket) using all three data points and is similar to the room ranking system used in speech events.  The three rankings are then combined to create the first tiebreaker. Subsequent tiebreakers are based on variations of the summation Stoa Re-Rank and, thereafter, the older tiebreaking methods are utilized.

The above excerpt is from the "Stoa Joy of Tournaments Install and Tabulation Instructions 2016-2017" available on the Stoa website. With a special thanks to Dr. Van Shalin for his continued dedication to Stoa.

Dave McKinley


Hints and Tips from the Speech Committee

  • Interpretation Publication:  We understand that the digital world has brought much confusion about publication. To make this simpler, the Stoa Speech Publication Guidelines encourages competitors to "look for a piece that has
    " ...a permanent number assigned from a nationally or scholastically recognized registry unless the piece was written before 1970."  While not necessary, it will certainly ensure the interp selection will be within the publication rules and guidelines.
  • In-Text Citations:  Having trouble figuring out how to use in-text citations in your Platform speech?  Review this excellent example of citations from Breakpoint by The Colson Center for Christian Worldview. The goal is to give credit where credit is due. The advantages include boosting the credibility of the Platform speech!

Until Next Time...

Mark Russell, Angela Childress, CJ Tam, Dave McKinley, MelRae Ambs, Craig Smith,Patricia Shaw, Debbie Snyder, and Mary Winther

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

Stoa Core Values Highlight

Stoa Core Value #5
We promote integrity and honesty in every situation.
As you prepare your debate evidence.  As you put together your case.  As you craft your script for your speech.  As you host your tournament.  As you distribute ballots.  As you support your tab room.  As you judge.  In all these situations, let integrity and honesty be our touchstone as we follow The Rock.

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