Summer Think Tank - Varsity Speech

Summer Think Tank

Each year more than 800,000 students will build their communication, leadership, cognitive and presentational skills through speech competition. Join the long list of competitive speech and debate alumni from from presidents to Supreme Court justices, from congressional leaders to entertainment greats. Oprah Winfrey, Sonia Sotomayor, Ketanji Brown Jackson, Elizabeth Warren, Zach Efron, Josh Gad, Paul Rudd, Chadwick Boseman, Jessica Chastain and Stephen Colbert are only a few who found their voice through Competitive Speech.

Competitive Speech students pledge to uphold the highest standards of respect, integrity, leadership, humility and service. Their diplomas carry the honor seal and Speech students wear honor cords at graduation. Come join us this summer for a fun and exhilarating two weeks of games, activities, and hard work that will see you emerge as a poised and polished speaker, ready to begin a year of competition!

All Competitive Individual Events Summer Sessions include:

  • All Lectures/Seminars given by National Champion Coaches
  • Small class sizes.
  • Work one on one with National Champion Coaches
  • Meet like-minded, motivated students
  • Work on a major event and have the choice of a minor event
  • Finish the institute with a competition-ready individual event
  • Guaranteed catch-up, private coaching session during the upcoming competition season
  • A final camp speech tournament
  • A competitive speech packet with 100’s of tools and exercises so you can practice all year

Varsity and Encore speech students will have the opportunity to select one of three majors to focus on during camp: 

Interpretive Events, which include Duo Interp,(Both Students Must Be Present), Humorous Interp, Dramatic Interp, Programmed Oral Interp, Prose/Poetry. You will learn how to choose material, learn the magic of cutting a play to 10 minutes, learn character voices, character positions, learn how to reveal subtext and objectives. You will walk away with a variety of interpretive techniques to take with you so that you can practice at home.

Platform and Writing Events, which include Original Oratory, Original Advocacy, Expository/Informative. Students will be guided through the entire writing journey from choosing, clarifying and perfecting a topic, where and how to research, drafting a speech (Problem/Cause/Solution), practicing and learning the magic of delivery. You will have hands-on help from start to finish.

Limited Prep Events, include Extemporaneous Speaking and Impromptu. Here you will focus on speech prep, outlining a winning speech, research, structure, cause and effect, and learning techniques that will improve your overall public speaking in rounds.

Interpretation Curriculum Outline 

Varsity Competitive Speech
Week 1

  • Interpretation. vs. Acting- Breaking down the differences and how to infuse acting into interp.
  • How to find and cut a script-You will learn where to find and utilize all the resources you will need to find the perfect script and learn how to craft the best cutting for you.
  • Approach to a Winning Speech- Will learn about Beats, Labeling a Script, Finding Character Clues, Subtext, Objectives, Super Objectives, and Analyzing a Scene. Will understand how to write a winning intro.
  • Philosophies of Acting and How to Infuse The Right Ones Into Your Speech- You will break down the differences between the best acting teacher's methods and find the perfect technique for you. Will learn how to use Repetition, Provocative Statements, Effective Memory, Affective vs. Effective, Overall Sensation, The Magic As If, and ultimately, how to live truthfully in imaginary circumstances.
  • Memorization- Learn the best tips to memorizing.
  • Campfire Performance- Will perform the first 3-4 minutes of your interpretation for a fun night under the stars!!

Week 2
  • Physical Approach to Interp-Will learn the fundamentals to character and body positions. Will practice the top three character poses in interp. Will work on the tuning of your body as it is your instrument for performance. Will breakdown physical gestures and how characters are revealed through body positions.
  • Finding and Creating a Character Voice- will create a character voice map that will breakdown- pitch, Tone, Tempo, Rhythm, Fluctuation, Voice Placement
  • Professionalism and Etiquette at Tournaments- You are judged from the minute you set foot at a tournament. Become a serious contender by understanding what a dress code is, knowing your space in a round, Exercise positive behavior in a round, The in's and Out's of delivering an intro, the art of listening, Focus, Focus. What is winning and losing gracefully, how to breakdown a ballot, what is useful and what is not, understanding appreciation and respect at tournaments and being physically and mentally fit for competition.
  • End of Camp Mock Tournament- Camp will end with a camp wide interp tournament to be judged by speech champions and coaches

Limited Prep Curriculum Outline

Week 1
  • Limited Prep Best Practices
  • Finding Your LP Advantage-Students will undergo guided individual exercise to develop a speaking identity and style with which they will stand out
  • Efficiency in Argumentation-Students will understand how to explain intensely complex issues simply
  • Evidence Best Practices and Media Trends-Students will learn about and practice techniques in gathering and applying evidence to highlight high-level arguments
  • Advanced Content Lecture: The US and World Economy -In the content lecture series, students will participate in highly interactive sessions while gaining a key advantage in contextualizing future content knowledge
  • Advanced Content Lecture: US and World Politics
  • Memorization Strategies
  • Delivering Stylishly and Persuasively
  • Campfire Performance- Will perform speeches as a part of a fun night under the stars!!

Week 2
  • Owning the Room -Students will hear and practice strategies to control the space in round and stand out among their competitors!
  • Elevated language and Style
  • LP Humor Writers Room -Students will explore how levity can highlight a performance and craft comedic compliments to topical conversations
  • Advanced Content Lecture: Foreign Policy and International Relations
  • Advanced Content Lecture: Science, Technology, and the Environment
  • Advanced Content Lecture: Human Rights and Social Issues
  • Tournament Strategies Round Table -Students and staff will engage in a discussion on how to make the most of tournament days
  • Year Round Practice Strategies -Students will explore news diet best practices and techniques to keep the competitive edge all season
  • End of Camp Mock Tournament- Camp will end with a camp-wide tournament to be judged by speech champions and coaches.
To register for the California Competitive Speech Institute at Stanford University, please follow the below steps
  • Click "Apply Now" on the top right of this screen.
  • Follow the prompts to enter parent and student information on screens 1 and 2.
  • On screen 3, select the following options:
    • Camp Category: Competitive Speech
    • Camp Name: Varsity Speech
    • Camp Session: Select the Session you prefer
    • Camp Major: Select Interp, Platform or Limited Prep
    • Price Option: Select Extended Day Camp or Overnight Camp

Program Grades Location Start Date End Date Price Options Register

Sample Schedule Prep Varsity Speech

8:00 am Breakfast in the dining hall (overnight campers)
9-9:15 am Extended day camper check-in
9:15 am Warm-Ups
10:00 am Morning Lab/Practicum
12:30 pm Lunch in the dining hall (included for all campers)
1:30 pm Lecture
2:45 pm Afternoon Lab/Practicum
5:30 pm Dinner in the dining hall (included for all campers)
6:30 pm One-on-One Sessions
8:00 pm Group Session
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: 

Luis Cardenas - Program Coordinator

Luis Reyes Cardenas, who was The Individual Events Director @ Stanford National Forensic Institute for 15 years and Sarah “Rosie” Rosenberg, who was a 2023 inductee in to The National Speech and Debate Association’s Hall of Fame, have a combined competitive speech winning experience of over 50 years. They have coached all ages and have guided their students to hundreds of final rounds across the country. Their students have won DUO National Championships at Both CFL and NSDA Nationals. They have had over 30 National Finalists @ both CFL and NSDA in DI, HI, OO, Storytelling, Prose and Poetry. They also have coached over 30 California State Champions in one decade. They currently are the Founders and Co-Artistic Directors of Open Hydrant Theater Company located in New York City. Their students are currently starring on Film, TV and stage. You can see their work showcased in The Guardian’s documentary, From Bronx to Yale and in the film. Shakespeare High starring Mare Winningham, Val Kilmer and Richard Dreyfuss.

Sarah "Rosie" Rosenberg - Interp - DI/HI/DUO/OI

With a career spanning more than five decades, Sarah Rosenberg has helped bring the joy of public speaking and competitive acting into the lives of thousands of students across the country. From her humble beginnings as an English and Speech/Drama teacher at Maclay Junior High School in the San Fernando Valley, to producing critically acclaimed off-Broadway re-imaginings of Shakespearean classics likeA Midsummer Night’s DreamandThe Tempest, her career has transcended the mere ordinary. From coaching state and national champions, to countless finalists at the state and national levels, to her most recent recognition by the NIETOC with the Josephine Dukes Award in recognition of her contributions to teaching and the fine arts, her passion for helping youth discover their voices is unparalleled. She is willing to work with every student, no matter the challenge, to help them to discover their own talent. Her example has motivated many of her students to go on to become actors, teachers, and playwrights themselves. Her commitment to bringing out all of the finest attributes of America’s youth— leadership, equity, integrity, humility, and a dedication to service above self—is exactly how she has thrived for so long and still serves as an exemplar for us all. Sarah was inducted into the National Coach's Hall of Fame in 2023. 

C. Ryan Joyce - Platform Speaking - Oratory/Advocacy/Expos

C. Ryan Joyce is originally from New York but has lived and worked around the world - most recently in Switzerland. Ryan began his career in speech and debate in high school and was a three-time national finalist in duo interpretation and original oratory and a national finalist in college in poetry during his freshman year (the only year he did competitive speech and debate in college). He has coached a somewhat astonishing 35 NSDA national finalists, 4 national NSDA champions, and 17 NSDA middle school national champions,.  He began coaching during college and continued doing so well into his career. Ryan has coached at several summer institutes throughout his career including the Florida Forensic Institute, the University of Texas National Institute of Forensics, Interprod, Summit Debate, and the Stanford National Forensic Institute. As a coach, Ryan has worked for Iona Prep in NY, Holy Ghost Prep in PA, Logan High School in CA, and then founded the high school and middle school teams at Phoenix Country Day School in AZ. The PCDS middle school team won over 40 individual national championships and was awarded the school of excellence an unprecedented 6 years in a row. The National Speech and Debate Association awarded Ryan the national coach of the year award in 2017 for his work as a coach. Ryan "retired" from speech and debate coaching in 2019 and moved to Switzerland but has recently returned to Phoenix and is thrilled to have the opportunity to come out of retirement to run Original Oratory at The Speech and Debate Summer Think Tank at Stanford University.

Joseph Kalka - Limited Prep Instructor  - Extemp and Impromptu Speaking

Joseph Kalka is the Extemporaneous Speaking coach at national power Moorhead High School in Minnesota. Previously the head coach at Stillwater Area High School in Minnesota, Joseph coached students to NSDA out-rounds in Extemporaneous Speaking every year since he took over the program in 2019. At the National Individual Events Tournament of Champions in 2022 and 2023, Mr. Kalka's students placed second and third in Extemp. respectively. Mr. Kalka is known for his energy and ability to bring out content and performance excellence in students. He loves helping students explain incredibly complicated issues simply, a skill he believes is the heart of the event.