Although Clayton was born in Colorado Springs, CO, he has lived in Purcellville, VA for almost his
entire life. As the eldest of five children, he was never bored for long at home. Throughout high school,
he spent most of his time studying history and Arabic, competing in speech and debate, and convincing
people that he had a life apart from academics. During his six years of speech and debate competition,
Clayton’s accomplishments include 2nd Place Persuasive at NCFCA Nationals (2012), 3rd place Persuasive
at Stoa National Invitational Tournament of Champions (NITOC, 2012), 5th place Persuasive at NITOC
(2013), 1st place TP Stoa speaker from Virginia (2013), 8th place NITOC Apologetics (2013), 12th place
NITOC Extemporaneous (2013), and Ironman Marathoner at NITOC (6 speech events and two forms of
Debate, 2013). Clayton also served as the Extemporaneous captain and Apologetics coach for his VECTOR
Speech and Debate Club, and he currently serves as an Alumni Parliamentary and Team Policy debate coach.
Clayton, who is returning again from last year, desires to coach Speech and Debate USA students in order
to share his gifts. “I have been blessed by the Lord with this speaking ability—and I would much rather
use my learning to turn right around and teach others.” To him, teaching others to speak well is crucial to
serving the Lord: “Living in this world and spreading the message of Christ isn’t an individual
competition—it’s a team effort; unless all the members of the body are equipped for use, all efforts will
fail,” he says. Clayton is currently a sophomore at Patrick Henry College, hoping to major in Government.
When he is not studying, he stays active in a variety of activities, from participating in the Patrick Henry
teams in the National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA) and the National Model United Nations
(NMUN), to competing on the soccer team.
Alexandra, from Illinois, competed in NCFCA at the national level in Apologetics, Impromptu, Persuasive, and Original Oratory and at the regional level in Team Policy debate. Her accomplishments include going 6-0 at the first Region VI qualifying tournament of her second year, winning first place in Persuasive at a regional qualifier (2011), and receiving multiple Team Policy speaker awards. She also served on the 2010-2011 Chicago CHARGE student leadership team. Alexandra enjoys constructing debate cases that can be real-world policy solutions, and she has had several years of experience studying and working with government. Alexandra believes that experience gives her "the perspective to be able to help students not only win rounds with their debate cases, but also to maximize their learning experience."
Alexandra’s love of policy led her to become a student at the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, in Washington, DC, studying International Politics with a concentration in International Security. At Georgetown, she leads the alumni oral history project for the School of Foreign Service Centennial Committee, and is a Carroll Fellow. As a sophomore, she was one of fifteen students selected as Krogh Scholars to perform research on the effectiveness of international institutions. She also interned for the House Armed Services Committee. She is fluent in Polish and plans to minor in Russian and Eastern Europe's integration into NATO. Last fall, Alexandra, who is now a senior, worked at the American Embassy in Warsaw, Poland, after studying over the summer at Jagiellonian University, in Krakow. While working at the Embassy, she authored a chapter of a book written by the U.S. Ambassador to Poland. In the spring she studied abroad in the Department of War Studies at King’s College London. “Every day, I use the speaking skills and confidence that I developed in speech and debate,” says Alexandra, “and I would like to help students develop these skills.” She is excited to be returning to coach Speech and Debate USA for a second year.
Speech and Debate USA coaches are respected and accomplished speech and debate alumni from across the country.
Kara Stivers is a speech and debate coach from Kentucky. She is currently a junior at the University of Louisville, where she is majoring in Political Science & History, and minoring in Russian Studies. Her love for all things Russian has led her on several crazy adventures, such as riding in the back of a Russian ambulance at four in the morning, only three days into her first trip to Russia, representing the Russian Federation in her college’s Model United Nations Simulation, and being sent Vladimir Putin memes from all her friends. On a slightly more relevant note, Kara competed successfully in NCFCA forensics for 3 years during high school. Her first year she qualified to Nationals in Impromptu, her second year she took 6th place at Nationals in Team Policy Debate with her partner Andrew Cullen, and she closed out her career by winning 1st Place during her third year in Team Policy Debate at NCFCA Nationals 2012 with her partner, Rebecca Frazer.
In her free time, Kara loves reading, roller coasters, old-fashioned soda foundations, dragging other people with her on impulsive adventures, and watching her beloved Louisville Cardinals play basketball. She also teaches at her local speech and debate club, coaches at debate camps, and works with students one on one to create an individualized and unique learning experience. Above all, Kara enjoys helping students become more effective communicators both competitively and in everyday life. “I love to teach, and I especially love teaching debate,” she explains. Her reasons for coaching with Speech and Debate USA are similar: “I think having an internet based club is a wonderful idea,” says Kara, “and I love the idea of providing coaching resources to those who would not otherwise have that opportunity.”
Britta is a previous NCFCA competitor from the Milwaukee region of Wisconsin. Her speech and debate accolades include winning first place in Persuasive speaking at the 2011 National Championship. Continuing her education in Wisconsin, she is currently a Senior working towards a B.S. in Biology at a small liberal arts university. When not tutoring Genetics or Biochemistry, Britta attempts to stay up to date on current events, competes in science-themed trivia games, reads Medieval literature, or attends Senate and Conduct meetings. After graduation in May 2015, Britta hopes to pursue higher education or a career in the Microbiology field.
Though there is not a Forensics club on her campus, Britta has continued to be a mentor throughout college and enjoys helping others excel in their classes or everyday life. The foundational skills she learned from speech and debate have provided a framework for her current work ethic and goals. By competing in all three speech categories (Limited Preparation, Platform, and Interpretive), Britta believes that she built a foundation that has helped her succeed at college. Specifically, the platform speech making process increased her research skills when writing scientific papers, grant proposals, and internship applications. Utilizing her analytical approach, Britta enjoys examining speeches as a whole and sentence-by-sentence. “Effective communication is as much a science as chemistry,” Britta says. She believes her college journey gives her a unique aspect as a coach: “Having been removed from NCFCA for the past few years, Britta explains, I have worked with professors on how they prefer to have presentations conducted…Each professor has a slightly different take on what makes a strong presentation. I can utilize that knowledge when attempting to critique from the standpoint of a community judge.”
Haley lived and breathed speech and debate during her three years in NCFCA. The awards she received include 1st place Impromptu, Nationals 2011; 4th place Apologetics, Nationals 2011; 1st place Impromptu, Region IX Regionals 2012; 1st place Extemporaneous, Region IX Regionals 2012; and 3rd place Lincoln Douglas debate, Region IX Regionals 2012. Haley also coached Lincoln Douglas debate and 1st year speakers at club IMPACT in Maryland, where she is from. The joy of seeing others improve their communication skills is her motivation for coaching Impromptu for Speech and Debate USA: “I love giving back to other speakers,” she says. “NCFCA improved my communication in so many ways and I love seeing other speakers cultivate their skills.” She credits her unique speaking ability to her dad’s excellent coaching in limited preparation delivery.
Throughout her years in NCFCA, she honed her communication abilities, developed relationships with other mature homeschoolers, and learned an incredible amount about how to win graciously and how to lose gracefully. Currently, Haley is studying violin performance at the University of MD, Baltimore County (UMBC), and she loves continually recognizing new and positive ways that competitive speech and debate have impacted her life.
Rachel's life isn’t incredible, very interesting, or neat and tidy, but competing in the NCFCA made it a little richer in suits and lack of sleep. Actually, she counts speech and debate as the best thing she did as a homeschooler besides learning to read – through it Rachel learned to think, to communicate concretely yet with emotion, to be assertive, to support her peers, to trust more deeply in the Lord, and to pray. Over her four years in NCFCA, Rachel competed in Lincoln Douglas debate, a few Platform speeches, Impromptu and Apologetics, and a disproportionate amount of Interpretive speeches. Her accomplishments include being a 2014 Ironman (five or more speech events plus debate) at Regionals; Marathoner (five or more speech events) at Nationals; advancing to finals, semifinals, or quarterfinals in all five events at Nationals in 2014; 3rd place Apologetics at Regionals in 2014; and 2nd place sweepstakes at the 2014 MN National Open.
Hailing from Wisconsin, she competed for three years in Apologetics, she loves coaching the category, and it is definitely her favorite speech (besides all the Interps, of course). She says, “I have a deep passion for using the discipline of Apologetics not only to facilitate an in depth study of God’s Word, but to bless the judges and carry the skills of Apologetics everywhere – in everyday conversations, in serving at church, in the community.” She is especially excited to coach for Speech and Debate USA, since her own experience in NCFCA made her realize the benefits of a “national, coach rich, online club.” She explains, “[During] all of my years in the NCFCA, I have struggled to rely on a small, fairly non-competitive club with few resources, and for the past year living with my grandparents I have been physically unable to attend a club at all.”
No less important than all that speech stuff, Rachel loves her four siblings and her mom and dad, with whom she likes to swing and work in the garden. She is honored to live with and serve as a caregiver for her grandparents. Last Summer Rachel moved to their house an hour and fifteen minutes away from her family, and in the short year she has spent with them the Lord has taught her a whole lot about love, hope, sacrifice, and the nitty-gritty truths of life. This year, Rachel plans to continue caring for her grandparents while studying Bible and Education at Liberty University Online.
Nathan Wilson has been living in the beautiful state of North Carolina for as long as he can remember. During his high school years he competed for two years in the NCFCA, advancing to Nationals in 2014. His accomplishments include winning two qualifying tournaments in Lincoln Douglas Debate and being ranked the 16th Lincoln Douglas speaker at Nationals. He went to finals in After Dinner Speaking (ADS) at every Region IX qualifier, and he took 5th at Regionals in ADS. Nathan also placed 8th at the 2014 Black Mountain, NC National Open in Impromptu. Nathan’s additional speaking experience includes three years of high school moot court and one year of high school mock trial. He is also in his second year of coaching his home club of Speakout. He believes his experience makes him stand out as a coach, since he loves “getting to sit down one on one with students and work individually with them to help make their speeches better.”
Nathan’s passion for coaching Speech and Debate USA students is obvious: “I really miss the NCFCA and I want to be able to help students and still be involved in anyway I can,” he says. He sees his roll in Speech and Debate
USA as an important one. As he explains, “I love After Dinner Speaking and I am excited for this opportunity to help shape this event and turn it into a premier NCFCA event, by coaching students from all across the Nation.” Now in his first year of college, he plans on obtaining a computer science degree from Thomas Edison College in New Jersey, before attending law school. Nathan’s ultimate goal is to become a lawyer, one who protects the law and does not abuse it. When not studying, he enjoys a variety of hobbies, including hockey, frisbee, stop-motion animation, and guitar.
Hailing from the great state of Utah, Elyssa competed at the highest levels of NCFCA and won over 100 awards in both speech and debate during her career, including Team Policy champion and Extemporaneous champion at the Region III Invitational during the 2012-2013 season. Her other placements include 1st place Lincoln Douglas debate, at Regionals in 2012; 1st place sweepstakes, at Regionals in 2013; 2nd place in Impromptu and Apologetics, at the Regional Invitational level; and qualifying to nationals in both styles of debate and seven different types of speeches, during her years in NCFCA. Besides competing in speech and debate, Elyssa served as a coach in Team Policy debate, Platform speaking, and Impromptu, with her Utah club, The Forum. She was also the Captain of The Forum Extemporaneous club for the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 seasons. She now competes in parliamentary debate, mock trial, and moot court for Patrick Henry College, where she is now a sophomore, qualifying to both moot court and parliamentary debate nationals during her freshman year.
However, these achievements fall far short of the true lessons that Elyssa learned during her NCFCA career. “God has given be the ability to communicate to others and to show them the truth,” says Elyssa. “I want to be able to pass this on to others and in so doing, bringglory to the One who gave me these skills.” Elyssa is excited to be returning to coach Speech and Debate USA in Extemporaneous for the second year in a row.