You may not be familiar with the national honor organization that our children are competing within, by participating in Grady HS’s Speech and Debate program.    I know, I certainly wasn’t before my son joined the team.

My word association for “forensic” took me to a crime scene show, that will remain unnamed; and definitely did not include thousands of young people competing in an intellectual pursuit on Saturdays and Sundays all over the country.   My jaw nearly hit the floor when I first witnessed these “tournaments”, in fact.  The idea that hundreds of teens would be gathered together in suits and ties at 6 AM on a Saturday was absurd  to me.  And then to see them huddled together discussing arguments – over evidence, not video games – and sharing references.. Well, after I got over the shock, it was incredibly heartening.  “Maybe the next generations are going to be ok, after all..” I thought.

But I digress.. The reason for this post is to direct you all, parents and students alike, to the National Forensic League’s website.  You can find it linked here, obviously, or you can find it under the “About” tab at the top of this page.   At this site, you can see the new topics as they are released.  (See within the circle on the screen shot.)   You can keep an eye on the national tournament scene.. Check in with the 1.4 million alumni of the NFL (it’s not just football anymore!) – and see names such as Oprah and Ted Turner.

Listen to this:  (excerpted from the NFL press kit)

Since 1925, more than 1.3 million students have found their voice in the NFL. Prominent alumni
include media visionaries Oprah Winfrey and Ted Turner; Academy Award Winners Mark Boal,
Patricia Neal, and Renee Zellweger; Emmy award winners Kelsey Grammar and Shelley Long;
Supreme Court Justices Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor; and C‐SPAN founder Brian Lamb.

And one of my favorite tidbits, as a parent, was something I caught in the left margin of the home page.. An honor code that I think we each struggle with striving to instill in ourselves and our children.  And a mission that I’m happy to have any and all support in promoting!  (Thanks NFL!)

With that, I’ll close.  As we have a weekend “off” from the tournament hustle and the horrific 5AM Saturday alarm, I encourage you to spend time with your children talking about their topics and cases.. and reaping the reward of all they are learning from this amazing endeavor.  I know I certainly will be.  (The December topics are out too!)

(Oh, and don’t forget to sell fruit, sell fruit, sell fruit!!)

– Jester Jessica