Some reflections, news, and updates.
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September 2016

We Want to Hear from YOU!

Hey members!  We want to hear from YOU! What ideas do you have for Wildcard Events? Debate Resolutions? Changes to event rules? Stoa is about listening to the membership.

Please share your great ideas for the NEXT season (2017 and beyond)!!!

"The Steadfast Love of the LORD Never Ceases"

Sometimes it might feel like this endeavor of Stoa speech and debate never ceases. We're in the thick of the season, then once the tournament year is over it's summer and we start working on new cases and looking for new speech material, then it's September again, and our clubs begin in earnest and the Stoa tournament calendar fills up fills up faster than an Extemp Speaker’s Dropbox.

This is why we're so grateful that our loving Lord's steadfast love never ceases! If we strive to take on the challenges of speech and debate on our own strength, it comes to no avail. Let's all seek to keep our focus on Him this season of 2016 - 2017 as we lead, participate, and compete in Stoa homeschool speech and debate.

"His Mercies Never Come to An End"


The Stoa Board of Directors is well aware that we have a merciful Heavenly Father. Much was learned in the former season and we forge ahead after gleaning lessons in the past.

In a spring Stoabyte there was an article that aimed to educate about the importance of transparency in tournaments. In doing so, it may have seemed to impugn the character of an unspecified tournament's leadership. We so regret that and are thankful for forgiveness.

We exhort all to keep tournament processes in alignment with Stoa core values.

"They Are New Every Morning"

Of great interest to everyone, there are lots of exciting new updates in Stoa speech and debate!  It would be wise to read the executive summaries put together by your intrepid Speech and Debate Committees. And then, follow that up by taking a look at the documents they refer to in their helpful summaries. Everyone needs to stick within these (pretty loose!) guidelines. Last year we had some 11-minute speaking in 10-minute events, for example, and this needs to end.

Likewise, maybe this is the season where you try something new by competing in that event that you’ve said you’d never do while you had breath in you.

"Great Is Your Faithfulness"

A wonderful comfort is knowing that the Lord of the Universe knows all about the season in front of you, even if you don’t have a clue about your case or a subject for your speech. Ultimately, it’s how we’ll grow in our love and knowledge of Him that matters more than how we’ll improve in our communication skills. 

But God is indeed faithful and will lead us in the ways that He deems best.  Our challenge is to realize that when circumstances might seem the most confusing and frustrating, those are the times when we must trust Him most.  He provides, He sustains, He comforts.  As a Stoa community of believers, this season let’s also be faithful to our Lord in our service and devotion to Him.


Have you registered for Stoa this year? Your benefits include participation at NITOC, voting privileges, news updates, and access to LexisNexis research subscription at a significantly reduced rate. Please register at
Stoa has joined with LexisNexis, the leading research database, to offer her members an annual subscription to LexisNexis for a cost of $40 per individual for the entire competition year. A single user license would cost six times as much. Take advantage of this generous bargain at
Once again Stoa has partnered with Christian Community Credit Union, making this special offer available to Stoa members.  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

New Year, Ballots, Rules

The ballots, rules, documents have all been updated for 2016-2017. We are making final tweaks! Look for them to be posted very soon!  

When you read through the documents, you will find an Executive Summary for each event, which gives you a big picture overview of the changes for this season.

In your preparations and competitions, please respect the event time limits! 

Hints and Tips from the Speech Committee

  • Executive Summary of changes for 2016-17: Please read the executive summary.  It gives you all of the changes in speech for this competitive year.
  • Monologue:  Since this event involves words or thoughts from a single persona, as in all Interpretative speeches for characters, the competitor may or may not have eye contact with the judges. 
  • Rules and Ballots:  Some of the wording on the rules has been modified. All of the ballots have been completely re-worked. For coaching and training purposes it is important to be familiar with both the rules and the ballots to understand the criteria judges will be looking for.
  • Cold reading:  Cold Reading is unique in that it has no time limit.  Instead, it has a word limit. Time-people will still time the event for informational purposes only, as we experiment with the event.
  • Script Submission: Be sure to read the Publication Guidelines for clarity on acceptable sources.

Meet Patricia Shaw

Patricia Shaw is new to the Stoa Board this year. Encouraged by her father, she became a debater in high school. Encouraged by peers, she became a homeschooling mom in 2008. Encouraged by mentors, she became a coach and director of Club 415 Speech and Debate in 2012. Her children are her greatest accomplishment; her love for community in Christ has sustained her; her passion for encouraging others has come full circle. She counts it all joy to serve the Stoa community. 

"Father, thank you for this community of believers who stand boldly for You. In Galatians, Paul challenged us to walk in the Spirit, stepping together in perfect sync; setting aside our self-interests to work as a culture unified in Christ. I pray that we move in Your direction together as we nourish the heart, soul and mind of our own families. Give us the encouragement, strength and rest we need to guide and direct the lives of our students. Allow us the opportunities to make your name famous in all that we do. May you be honored with the lives that we live, as unto You. Amen."

~Patricia Shaw

Pray for the Board Meeting

Please pray for the Board and Committee Chairs as they meet for several days in September to discuss NITOC and Stoa business. 

Stoa Vision Core Values Spotlight

Stoa exists within the Christian Homeschool speech and debate community to facilitate opportunities for competition and training.”

With the 2017 U.S. elections looming, we recognize the urgent need to prepare our Christian homeschool students to grapple with the difficult issues of our current society. Stoa speech and debate tournaments and club meetings provide rigorous training grounds, and Stoa exists to facilitate these opportunities. 

This year, Stoa will offer approximately 100 tournaments across the nation during the tournament season. Tournaments are held from Hawaii to Washington DC, Seattle to Tampa and are open to homeschool families wishing to participate. Joining a local club or starting one on your own is a great way to train for these competitions. 

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

~Romans 11:36 (NASB)

The Founder's Award

With a view toward excellence and balance, Stoa awards those competitors who excel in Speech and Debate. The Founders Award is presented to those who qualify for NITOC in at least one of every area of discipline for Speech; Platform, Limited Prep, Interpretation, and Wild Card and at least one category of debate; LD, TP, or Parl. NITOC 2016 bestowed 37 Founder Awards!
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