The Mount Sophia Academy Rhetoric Team meets from 2-3:30 at Newark Church of Christ (Mount Sophia’s location – park around back, the entrance will be through the glass door labeled “MSA entrance”). The team meets once a month and is open to ALL homeschoolers regardless of whether or not they are Mount Sophia Academy students. Parents will need to fill out a registration form on the first day – the cost is $20 for the year. See below for details. Exact dates are still to be determined.
Mount Sophia Academy’s High School Rhetoric Team
Barbara Varnell, email@example.com
Open to ALL homeschoolers regardless of whether or not they are Mount Sophia Academy students.
Attention all high school students! Did you know that most colleges require a speech course at some time in your college career? In addition, if you go to ANY college for ANY major you WILL be doing some type of classroom presentations so you need to make sure you are comfortable speaking in front of people.
Even if you are not college-bound there is the possibility that you may have to teach Sunday School, go on a missions trip, present an idea before your boss, go into business for yourself, pray in front of people, or be called on to give your testimony. All of these require speaking in front of others. Those people who do this well will be the people who become leaders and culture changers for Christ.
The Mount Sophia Academy’s Rhetoric Team (a fancy name for the speech team) is here to give you opportunities to learn how to feel more comfortable with speaking in front of people. The Rhetoric Team has a dual purpose – the first is to offer students the opportunity to learn how to speak in front of people in a very low-key environment at its monthly meetings. We do this as a combination of teaching and fun speaking exercises. In our monthly meetings, we train you in how to prepare speeches and presentations and practice exercises which will help desensitize you to speaking in public (while we have fun doing it). Even students who are scared silly have found that they can get comfortable with speaking before a group (some of them still may not like it but they can do it).
The Rhetoric Team’s second purpose is to offer the opportunity to participate in a number of different competitions (competitions look great on your high school transcript – especially public speaking ones). We offer four competitions a year including a chance to compete against other schools at the ACSI Speech competition in Lancaster in the spring. These competitions are totally optional and you can be a member of the team without competing at all (however you do have to be a member of the team in order to compete). The competition categories include humorous interpretation, dramatic interpretation, reader’s theater, interpretation of children’s literature, persuasive speeches, descriptive speeches, individual acting, duet acting, TV news team, and visual aid speeches.
Participation in speech-related activities in high school is HIGHLY desirable to colleges. Colleges are looking for student’s to participate for MULTIPLE YEARS in the same activity and the low key nature of our team allows students to do this while fitting in all the academics they need.
The meetings include my teaching about some aspect of public speaking, but the bulk of the meeting consists of the students participating in various speaking exercises. Each student will do some type of speaking exercise(s) every meeting so there will be plenty of opportunities during the school year for them to get comfortable with speaking in front of people even if they don’t participate in the competitions. The exercises are not intense but meant to encourage each student to grow and become better. I only have a few rules for the team. 1) Everyone who is at the meeting MUST participate in the speaking exercises 2) No talking when someone else is speaking upfront (this includes using cell phones) and 3) Everyone must smile and nod encouragingly at the speaker.
The team is a very supportive environment and includes students who have a variety of skill levels. I have students there who are literally shaking in their shoes the first time they get up and speak and as well as students who have gone on to compete at the national levels in college (and even one who has traveled around the world on the Air Force Academy debate team). So we really have something for everyone. Most of my students participate each year they are in high school, which allows them to really improve (and looks good to colleges and scholarship committees).
The students who have participated have said that the team was one of the most valuable things they had done because they became comfortable being able to speak in any situation into which God led them in life. We have seen students blossom from being terrified into confident speakers. All this in a supportive environment where everyone is rooting for you to succeed (because everyone is in the same boat – group suffering is a wonderful thing!)
In order to allow all students (regardless of whether or not they are registered with Mount Sophia Academy) to participate in ACSI the Rhetoric Team needs to be a “class” at Mount Sophia and charge a fee (ACSI rules not ours). The fee for the class is a nominal $20 for the year (no other MSA fees will be charged).
Meeting dates – all are Wednesday’s from 2:00 to 3:30 at Mount Sophia Academy (Newark Church of Christ). Dates for 2020-2021 are still to be determined.
Any questions, please contact Barb Varnell at firstname.lastname@example.org or (302) 994-2479. Email is preferred.