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April 2017

April Showers

An April Riddle (and Solution!)

Q: If April showers bring May flowers, what do May flowers bring?  

A: Pilgrims!  

Here's a coaching tip:

Riddles make good opening hooks in limited prep presentations, platform speeches, and debate openers.  You might even start a speech by posing a question and save the answer for the end. Riddles usually have an answer that's a surprise or unexpected, but if you really think it through, the solution makes perfect sense.  We who are believers and followers of Christ are celebrating His resurrection this month. For His disciples, Jesus' resurrection was a surprise and unexpected, even though He had been telling them for some time that the Son of Man must suffer crucifixion and then rise again.  Once Jesus reminded His followers of all that He had been teaching them about God's plan of redemption, the solution seemed so clear.  And suddenly the riddle of our sin problem had been given the ultimate and eternal solution. Your Stoa board is praying for you to have a blessed and celebratory Easter.  He is risen indeed!

And April Also Brings More Tournaments!

The months of March and April are the busiest time of our Stoa speech and debate season with thirty-two tournaments taking place during these two months. That's a lot of planning on everyone's part! As we head into May and NITOC, use these remaining tournaments to get ready for our national tournament.  

Students - Not only hone your cases and speeches but make sure that your evidence is "crisp and clean" and that your script submissions meet the Stoa standards for sources and giving credit for other people's work. Since Stoa is committed to local control, there are areas of the country that have had varying levels of requirements during the season for script submission. Now is the time to make sure that your script submission is compliance with Stoa. Read more here.

Parents - Use the remaining tournaments of the regular season to hone your judging skills and become more familiar with Stoa events and ballots prior to NITOC. Stoa is made up of volunteers, and our competitors' moms and dads are our most important! NITOC is easily the largest tournament of the year.  The majority of our membership haven't been to tournaments with over 200 registered competitors. NITOC will have three times that many students, and the need for parents to judge increases exponentially. Now is the time to prep for the big one!


Every year, Stoa implements a new wildcard event. The ideas for the wildcards come from suggestions made by you, the membership.  The idea of creating a unique event each year would be daunting but for the innovative help from our parents, coaches, committee members, and board members.  Think Cold Reading and Parliamentary Debate in high school as examples of pioneer events.
Plan to attend Stoa Academy to hear and share more innovative ideas. Register now! The Early Bird Discount ends April 30.

CJ Tam

Voting Issues

April holds a special place in the Stoa calendar, as this is when the information regarding our spring voting is presented.  And just as voting issues are important during debate rounds, they're an integral part of Stoa, as our members select the resolutions and a wild card for the next season, as well as cast votes for new Stoa board members to join in service to our membership.  The details will be rolled out on April 15, so amid the final tournaments of the season, please take the time to read up on the voting issues, confer with your coaches and club leaders, and take part in a privilege of Stoa membership. 


Clubsites: Better Than a Disappointing Hollow Chocolate Bunny

There’ll be no disappointment when you discover how easy and extremely affordable it is to build a Stoa-style website for your own club. Stoa has partnered with our web developers to make it truly simple for every club to be able to build their own website or “Clubsite.” No experience is needed! The coordination with the Stoa website allows visitors to find out more details about your club when they check out the Local Clubs file on the Getting Started tab. The most common question sent to the Stoa email address is “Where can I find a club near me?” We’re glad to provide this valuable resource so interested families can learn more about the Stoa club nearest to them. Check out this link to learn more about the exciting Stoa Clubsites.

Stoa Clubsites are only $25 per year!!! (August 1 – July 31)

  • As a special bonus, clubs signing up for Clubsites before August 1 of 2017 will not incur an additional charge during the 2017-2018 educational year!

Get yours today!
MelRae Ambs

Better Than a Photo Booth

When you and your family registered to become Stoa members, there was a tab on the registration page titled Adult/Minor Modeling Participant Release.  It allows for pictures and videos of Stoa members to be taken and used for promotion and support. At NITOC there will be tournament staff photographers taking still shots of all the exciting happenings while we’re on the campus at Union University.  Many of those photos will be used for an award ceremony slide show, while others might find their way onto our snazzy website (or your own snazzy Clubsite!). We’re excited to let you know that the pros from the broadcast and media team at Union University will be filming the final rounds of all speech and debate events for Stoa to use on our website.  Now is the time to work on your smile!

We. Are. Guests.

Put our adherence to policy to the test. 
Our friends at Union University are graciously allowing us to enjoy the convenience of on-campus housing in their dorm spaces.  We need to do our part and follow their Union University Housing Rules with regards to who is staying in, who is visiting, and what we’re bringing to the dorm rooms.  It might seem like a great idea for a club to meet in someone’s dorm room for some debriefing after a day of competition, but doing so doesn’t abide by the Union University gender-segregated rules.  Along these lines, an “empty” or “unused” room at Union University is likely to be either a space that we’re not paying for or a room that is set-up for competition and not a club’s roundtable.  Either way, as tempting as that vacant space is, please use areas outdoors or in a spacious hallway or in a student lounge to strategize with your fellow clubbers.

Prayer from the Board

Lord, thank You for caring so much that You left the comfort of heaven to serve us.  Please enable each student to follow Your example and serve those around them throughout the remaining tournament season.  Provide the wisdom to each of us that we may recognize ways to encourage & serve with joy in every situation so that we might truly shine forth Jesus in our actions and words.  Open our eyes that we may each focus more on eternal victories rather than the temporal ones of this world.
"Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others."  Philippians 2:4

Forever grateful,
Angela Childress

Until Next Time...

Mark Russell, Angela Childress, CJ Tam, Dave McKinley, MelRae Ambs, Craig Smith, and Patricia Shaw Email the board
Debbie Snyder, Speech Committee Chair Email the Speech Committee
Mary Winther, 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

Stoa Core Values Highlight

Stoa Core Value #3

“We promote a transparent culture of servant's hearts.”

With NITOC on the horizon (May) now is a good time to remember our goal in Stoa is to honor God (Romans 11:36) by training up young Christian men and women to speak boldly for Him. 

A "transparent culture" means that before, during, and after tournaments, nothing is hidden that would raise an eyebrow among our fellowship of believers. Mistakes happen. As Christians, we need to confess any irregularity at a tournament.  Along these lines, grace and forgiveness should abound as opposed to adjudication.  

"Servant hearts" should be the identifying trait for all of us.  At a recent tournament, a competitor's mother shared that she was blessed to have been able to judge nine rounds of speech and debate over two days! Let's all have an attitude of joy in serving Jesus!

See more at: Stoa Vision & Facts



April NITOC Nugget

May StoaByte

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