We take special pride in the dozens of students, of all levels of experience, who come to us each summer and/or work with us online—then go on to reach elimination rounds at these national tournaments.
We are also certain of the confidence and self-empowerment that original oration, informative speaking and original advocacy uniquely confer. It has never been more crucial that students of all skill levels understand that their voice and that their message matters. We teach them that they have the power to change and/or educate their communities and culture. And they do, whether they are are returning national finalists or first-time speaker.
OUR INSTITUTE IS TAILORED TO FIRST-TIME STUDENTS AND RETURNING STUDENTS.
Mastering speaking, writing, and competing is essential to an educational and fulfilling career in the activity. It is an investment that will serve the students far beyond their high school years. What’s more, the curriculum is designed to teach us how we and the students can collaborate to take Original Oratory in new directions—rather than merely following others’ trends. But at the end of the camp, the student will return with a speech from which any audience will benefit—and a speech, true to the student’s voice, that will instill confidence, clarity of expression, and the passion to change how others think and act.
Over the past five years alone, the curriculum has sent more than 30 students to the NSDA National Tournament, a third of them sophomores who had never tried the event before the school year. The students embrace our process of learning, creating, practicing, improving, and then sharing their skills with their teammates. This process is proven to help students share their message from the highest peak.
The core of our education is instilled in our San Jose and Iowa sessions, where the students benefit from many varied instructional voices. Many of our students come for two or three consecutive summers, and they find new growth and perspectives each time.
instruction begins before camp
We begin to work with students before they even arrive at camp. All students are given at least one free individual pre-camp Skype session, from the comfort of their homes, to meet with our Original Oratory Director. In the session(s), the students discuss topic ideas, and we arrive at a topic and thesis before the official summer session even begins. We help the students choose topics organically, through fun dialogues about their lives and what matters most to them. Usually, it’s a topic that comes straight from their everyday experiences—yet one they had never even considered. We never choose topics from a list or ask the students the standard “What do you hate about the world?” question. It is here that we learn their goals, concerns, experience level, and any regional standards that govern their participation in the events.
The students arrive at camp with a topic already chosen (it can easily be changed on-site) and having already met the director. They arrive confident, excited, and are ready to hit the ground running.
interactive speaking sessions
We begin extensive speaking exercises on Day One and continue them every day of the summer session.
We do not divide our curriculum into nine intensive days of write-write-write, then two days of memorization, leaving perhaps two days for mastering delivery. By selecting the students’ topics with them before they arrive, we are able to devote three hours every day at camp to fun, interactive speaking exercises and challenges.
The final delivery showcase is a true test of the speaker’s imagination—involving costuming, visual aids, and audience participation.