Public Speaking Summer Camp for Middle School Students

Summer Think Tank

Our supportive and experienced staff lead fun educational activities and provide supervision that is appropriate for these younger students. Public Speaking students are given tips and plenty of practice to become comfortable speaking in front of their peers. Classroom hours, recreational activities, and supervision are adjusted specifically for elementary school students. During these sessions, special commuter and extended care options are available though students may also choose to stay in the campus dorms. 

Middle and Elementary School Public Speaking will cover two main areas:

  • Debate
  • Persuasive Speaking

  • Click here for a downloadable information sheet on the online version of this program or click the tabs below to learn more about this program.

    Whether online or in person, Education Unlimited proudly offers top tier curriculum in our Public Speaking Institute! 


    Learn the art of verbal combat! Students will construct persuasive positions, defend against and attack each other’s arguments, and cross-examine effectively. Students will debate a variety of age- and experience-appropriate topics, form teams, and pit themselves against their co-campers. Example past debate topics have included: school uniforms (elementary school) and pre-emptive strike policy (middle school).

    Persuasive Speaking

    Students craft and deliver convincing speeches. They start by performing a number of pre-written speeches in order to learn delivery, timing, and intonation. When students display comfort with delivery, they will begin to construct speeches based on their interests. Students learn to choose topics, establish captivating introductions, organize speech content, and deliver compelling conclusions! The focus is on speaking in a natural voice, with few or no notes, rather than writing an essay and merely reading it out loud, the form of “public speaking” taught by most teachers. All students end the week by presenting a speech in front of a large group of fellow campers. 

    Our supportive and experienced staff lead fun educational activities and provide supervision that is appropriate for these younger students. Public Speaking students are given tips and plenty of practice to become comfortable speaking in front of their peers. Past topics include: “Should schools mandate uniforms?” and "Should junk food be allowed in school vending machines?" Classroom hours, recreational activities, and supervision are adjusted specifically for elementary school students. During this session, special commuter and extended care options are available, though students may also choose to stay in the campus dorms. Contact Education Unlimited for pricing details.

    For maximum options in summer 2024, this program will be offered in-person at East and West coast locations, as well as online!

    Click here for a downloadable information sheet on our online version of this program. 

    Program Grades Location Start Date End Date Price Options Register

    Click here for a downloadable information sheet on the online version of this program.

    Don’t see a class you want in your time zone? Check other time zones to flexibly fit your needs!

    Click Here to View Sample ON-CAMPUS Schedule Click Here to View Sample ONLINE Schedule

    Online Camp Schedule Public Speaking 6-8

    Pacific TimeEastern Time
    Monday - Thursday9:00 am to 3:00 pm
    10:00 am to 4:00 pm
    Includes a 1-hour lunch break plus shorter 10-15 min breaks
    Friday9:00 am to 11:00 am
    10:00 am to 12:00 pm
    Includes 10 min breaks as needed
    *Schedule subject to change - Final schedule posted in Google Classroom the Wednesday prior to the start of class.
    *In addition to the longer breaks noted above, instructors will give students a 10-15 min break approximately every two hours.

    On Campus Sample Schedule PSI 4th-8th

    8:00 am Breakfast in the dining hall (overnight campers)
    9-9:15 am Extended day camper check-in
    9:15 am Delivery class
    12:00 pm Lunch in the dining hall (included for all campers)
    1:15 pm Afternoon recreation
    1:45 pm Debate class
    5:30 pm Dinner in the dining hall (included for all campers)
    6:30 pm Evening elective classes
    8:00 pm Evening recreation activities
    9:00 pm Extended day camper check-out
    10:00 pm Floor check
    10:30 pm Room check

    Education Unlimited believes in small-group, immersive learning with subject matter experts and experienced teachers. We strive to provide industry-leading instruction to all of our students and hold all staff to the highest possible standards. Staff assignments vary by program and location. Some of our recent staff members for this program include:

    Brianna Broady, MA - Camp Director and Instructor

    Brianna Broady is a lecturer with a Master of Arts in Communication Studies from California State University, Northridge in Southern California.  Brianna teaches classes at several Southern California colleges in Communication Studies in her primary areas of interest: performance studies and intercultural communication studies.  A seasoned debater and coach, Brianna has brought extensive experience to her roles as both a public speaking instructor and camp director for Education Unlimited since 2012.  

    As Director of Individual Events for Santa Monica College, Brianna coaches students in competitive public speaking in a variety of disciplines. During her undergraduate years at California State University, Northridge she competed in events ranging from informative speaking to programmed oral interpretation. Brianna was the first person in the history of the school to qualify for the prestigious National Individual Event Tournament of Champions all four years that she competed.

    John Kephart, Ph.D. - Camp Director and Instructor

    Dr. John Kephart III is an associate professor at California State University, Northridge.  Dr. Kephart has a Ph.D. in Rhetorical Theory and Criticism from the University of Southern California.  A member of the Education Unlimited team since 2008, Dr. Kephart has served as an instructor, director, and curriculum designer.  He helped to develop the curriculum for both the A+ Pre College and A+ High School summer camp programs.  Dr. Kephart has a teaching philosophy that values students’ active engagement in their own learning; he focuses on encouraging students to find their own voice and perspective on contemporary issues, helping them to be more avid learners, and more engaged citizens.

    In addition to his faculty position, Dr. Kephart is also the director of the speech and debate program at CSU Northridge; he has over 16 years of experience coaching debate competitors of all ages.  A Los Angeles native and avid Dodgers fan, Dr. Kephart received his Masters of Arts and Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Studies from The University of Southern California.

    Jessica Kwack, MA - Instructor

    Jessica Kwack is a teacher at California State University, Northridge, where she also received both her Master of Arts and Bachelor of Arts Degrees in Communication Studies.  Since 2014, Jessica has taught the Fundamentals of Public Speaking as well as Argumentation. In addition to her position at CSU Northridge, she also teaches as an adjunct faculty member at several colleges across Southern California.  Jessica also serves as the Assistant Coach of the Matador Speech and Debate Team at CSU Northridge, focusing on individual events such as informative and persuasive speaking.

    Jessica has been with Education Unlimited since 2015.  A native to the Los Angeles area, Jessica loves the sun, the movies, and her home basketball team, the Los Angeles Lakers.

    Robert Loy, MA - Instructor

    Robert Loy is an assistant professor of Communication Studies at Los Angeles Pierce College. He holds a Master of Arts Degree in Communication Studies from California State University, Northridge. Since 2014, he has been a lecturer at CSU Northridge in the areas of public speaking and argumentation.  A director with Education Unlimited since 2013, Robert has dedicated time throughout his career to ensure youth gain access to knowledge and skills to prepare them for college and career success.

    Robert has received recognition throughout his academic career, most notably the Outstanding Teaching Associate Award and Outstanding Graduate Student Award of 2014 during his time at CSUN.  He has tutored for Project GRAD Los Angeles and worked with students in the Los Angeles Unified School District AVID Program. In his free time, Robert enjoys going to various baseball stadiums (Dodger Stadium is so far the best), visiting Disneyland/California Adventure, and eating at new food truck venues.

    Wiliam Russel - Instructor

    Bill Russell has spent his entire adult life learning how to craft arguments and present them most effectively. After a successful career as a college debater where he finished among the top ten teams at the National Debate Tournament three times, Bill spent nine years as the assistant director of Debate at Dartmouth College. During that time his teams won a national championship, and qualified twenty-one teams for the elimination rounds (Sweet 16) of the national tournament. Bill has over twenty years of experience teaching argumentation, debate, and public speaking to high school students at summer educational camps. Bill has spent the past twelve years practicing law, bringing his skill for argument development and presentation to a different audience. During that time he has helped in briefing a successful Supreme Court appeal in the most important securities fraud decision in the last thirty-five years. 

    Hunter Sansome - Instructor

    Hunter is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Communication Studies at California State University, Northridge. She is currently working as an instructor of public speaking and helps coach debate at CSUN. Most recently, Hunter earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communication at California State University, Fresno, where she graduated with Summa Cum Laude standing and was the recipient of the 2020 Undergraduate Dean's Medal for the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management. Additionally, Hunter was the 2020 Department of Communication Student of Distinction at Fresno State. During her undergraduate career, Hunter was heavily involved on campus, spending her time as a volunteer at the Student Health and Counseling Center, working as a communication tutor, serving in student government, and competing as a varsity member of the Barking Bulldogs Debate Team. After completing her MA in Spring of 2022, Hunter hopes to pursue a PhD in Communication Studies and continue her career in academia. 

    Stephen Buettler - Camp Director

    Stephen Buettler is an instructor and public speaking expert with dual degrees in literature and philosophy from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  In addition to roles as lecturer and curriculum director at the university level, Stephen has over 15 years of experience teaching and consulting for high school speech and debate programs.  Stephen has been Camp Director of the Education Unlimited Summer Camp Program at Georgetown since 2014.

    Stephen has additional experience in logistics coordination; he has consulted for numerous production and event planning companies throughout the Pacific Northwest region of the United States.  His work in this field allows him to combine his passion for communication with a desire to make large-scale events more sustainable and community-focused.

    Marina Shrew - Instructor

    Marina Shew is a law student at Columbia Law School in New York City.  She has dual Bachelor’s Degrees in Philosophy and Political Science from Clemson University in South Carolina.  In both high school and college, Marina was the president of her respective debate teams, taking on leadership, teaching, and mentoring roles for younger students. She's also taught both debate and public speaking in Beijing, China. She has experience in several styles of public speaking, from debate to mock trial to ethics bowl.

    Marina is looking forward to getting to know students on a personal level and working with them individually to find their voice and refine their public speaking skills. In her teaching, she aims to create a friendly, comfortable, and approachable environment where everyone can work collaboratively to achieve personal improvement. In addition to her love of the law, Marina enjoys international travel to experience different countries and cultures.  She also enjoys swing dancing, which she teaches in her spare time.

    Hershini Gopal, JD - Instructor

    Hershini is an experienced paralegal and mock trial competitor who recently completed her JD at UCLA Law School.  She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science and Policy from the University of Maryland. During her undergraduate years, Hershini worked for the United Nations Environmental Programme in Washington D.C. where she helped prepare for the 2015 Paris Climate Summit.  She also spent two years working as a paralegal for the Department of Justice. In addition to her work in D.C., Hershini was also a Mock Trial competitor for the University of Maryland for three years, and upon graduation, she returned to her hometown of Denver, Colorado where she coached her former high school mock trial team to the state finals.

    As a Colorado native, Hershini enjoys skiing and warming up afterward with vast quantities of chai.