Colorado Academy’s Speech & Debate Society is off and running.
The goals of CA's Speech & Debate program are to help students develop the public speaking and advocacy skills needed by leaders in an ever-changing world. Through participation in competition and public discourse events, the Speech & Debate Society engages students in the many activities related to public speaking and debate. We also pledge to carry forth the Colorado Academy values of kindness and courage into the speech and debate arena.
The Speech & Debate Society participates in tournaments throughout the year at the state, national, and even international levels. The Colorado state competitions are governed by CHSAA, and CA competes at the 4A level. Throughout the year, different high schools across the state host tournaments, which may be attended in person, depending on current COVID protocols. National and international tournaments take place virtually for now, but the hope is that we may be able to travel to some of those places in the future.
Still, we have intentionally called ourselves a society because we see speech and debate as much more than a series of competitions. Our group is involved in community outreach with groups such as the Urban Debate League and Horizons. We also partner with California Polytechnic State University to host Spanish-language debates. This Puertas Abiertas (Open Doors) program will be open to Spanish speakers at all levels and will be centered on helping students develop Spanish-language advocacy skills.
Jonathan Vogels was CA's Upper School Principal from 2003-2021. Starting in 2021, he transitioned to teaching English courses and Speech & Debate in the Upper School, as well as assisting with the College Counseling office. His PhD dissertation was published as The Direct Cinema of David and Albert Maysles in 2004 by Southern Illinois University Press. Dr. Vogels is a playwright as well as an author.
Randall Martínez teaches and coaches the CA Upper School debate students.
Randall Martínez joined CA in the Upper School History Department in fall 2021 and serves as the school’s first Director of Debate. Hailing from Miami, Florida, he has been a classroom teacher for 14 years and has coached and trained students in speech and debate globally. As the former assistant debate coach at the University of Miami, Martinez is excited to connect CA speech and debate students with university and high school networks across the Americas. Martínez is a frequent presenter at national communication conferences and has been a guest lecturer on topics ranging from freedom of expression and media censorship to communication theory and qualitative research methods. Martínez holds a BS in Social Sciences from the University of Central Florida, an MA in Communication Studies from the University of Miami, and completed his doctoral coursework in Communication for Social Change.
“This has really helped me become a better communicator, and that will manifest itself in any field I choose to go into. Even if a job is STEM-based, you have to be able to communicate why an idea has value.”
“Debating has certainly helped my writing on a philosophical basis, in addition to my argumentation. Similar to the logic required for advanced mathematical concepts, approaching complex topics in the debate setting also demands the same brands of logical and analytical processing. Debate, I feel, also merges my love for performance with my love for academic analysis—which I can say has been the only activity in which I have participated that does so and does so well.”
“I have gained so much confidence speaking in front of others. I know how to present in front of a large group. I actually feed off the challenge because I like thinking, ‘I could mess up, but I am not going to.’”
Dr. Jon Vogels
“Colleges often have their own version of speech and debate, so students can keep participating in college. And whether it’s politics, law, lobbying, or any occupation where you are expected to do speaking, you will be well prepared coming out of a speech and debate program.”
“Communication is key to having a successful life. Civil discourse is struggling today, and our students need to be the ones to fix it. We can be ambassadors to civility worldwide.”