In hopes of increasing awareness of the Palo Alto High School Speech and Debate Program, the organizers of Palo Alto Speech and Debate Camp have implemented various changes to the curriculum and structure of the camp.
According to junior co-director Anish Haris, the camp, which has been in existence for the past 10 years, is built to prepare students to develop the abilities necessary to become effective public speakers.
“We teach the students to articulate their opinions and present them with poise and confidence,” Haris said. “At the same time, students develop critical thinking skills that help them create and understand logical argumentation.”
The camp operates under the mission statement of allowing students to develop the communication skills that are necessary and applicable in most areas. This year, however, the curriculum has been modified from previous years to address the weaknesses most students grades six to 10 tend to face, according to Haris.
“Instead of boring the students with lectures, the improved curriculum is more interactive and also gives students an opportunity to see what competitive high school speech and debate events are like,” Haris said.
For returning and previously experienced students, advanced lanes will be offered to allow students to delve further into the now expanded curriculum and acquire skills that are useful in a competitive setting.
The camp’s organizers also plan to supplement the curriculum with visitations from various guest speakers.
“In order to give students an idea of what an effective communicator looks like, we have guest speakers come in to describe how public speaking has shaped them,” Haris said. “In previous years, we’ve had venture capitalists, local entrepreneurs and even Kevin Skelly help out with the camp by speaking to the students. Our camp has received more interest in recent years, and more and more members of the community are eager to speak to the students.”
The camp will run for two separate weeks: one week from June 9 to 13 and another from Aug. 4 to 8. Both weeks will offer a morning speech session and an afternoon debate session.