Santa Clara Speech and Debate Broadcast Special

To make the Speech/Debate Broadcast Special work, we’ll need more volunteers and staffing.  This letter was designed to be shared with parents, students, and community members who have an interest in these programs.


Hi, my name is Vincent Lowe and I’m a graduate of the speech and debate program held in my high school when I was a student.
  • When I was a student, every high school in my city had a speech and debate program. Today in Santa Clara county, most high schools do not have a team.
  • When I was in school, there were tournaments throughout the year and there were always plenty of qualified judges to oversee each event. Today, organizers struggle to train enough judges to cover each event and sometimes tournaments suffer lengthy delays while we wait for judges to become available.
  • During my time as a debater, schools had speech classes, and a teacher assigned to lead the debate team. Today some schools rely upon parents and community activists to make sure that students have the opportunity to participate in this activity.
We’re out to change that, and we need your help!
With Schoolhouse Earth, we’re creating a broadcast special slated to air in September that will raise awareness about the value of speech and debate programs, and call for community support.  The goals of this special are to:
  • Demonstrate the value that speech and debate programs have in training our leaders for the future
  • Inspire community support in the form of coaches, mentors, and tournament judges
  • Make an urgent case with civic leaders to improve funding and resources for this vital activity
We need volunteers to help us produce this program, and we need contributors to help us fund it.
We need three parents to serve as mentors during the taping of the special in June. The role requires one 90-minute training phone call, and one afternoon in the studio with us. Times are still somewhat flexible. If you are willing to serve in this capacity, we can schedule you in a way that fits into your calendar.
We need several students who are experienced in different areas of speech and debate. We want to exhibit a good example, so you should be well-practiced and able to demonstrate good skills in your particular area. You’ll be interviewed in a panel setting as well as given an opportunity to provide a performance that illustrates your skills.
We need one person to be a production coordinator. This requires one 90-minute training phone call and probably 4-6 hours of concentrated effort prior to the taping date at the end of June. It will be possible to schedule the work to fit your calendar and the effort can be spread out over time. No prior experience is required, but this should be someone who is well organized and able to manage a lot of details.
We need one person to be the communications coordinator. This requires one 90-minute training phone call, 2-4 hours of effort to write and send out emails to the team prior to the taping date, and about 2 hours just prior to the taping to confirm key participants by phone. No experience is required, only persistence, an email account, and a telephone.
If you’re able to volunteer in one of these roles, please send a note to and let us know what you think you can do to help.
Sometimes people are inspired by the possibility of this program but are very busy and don’t have time to contribute.
We made it easy for people to contribute financially through our Indiegogo campaign. Individual contributors can earn thank-you reward that include early access to see the program, invitations to special events, and more.
If you’re inspired and want to help, please share the link to the campaign with your friends and family, volunteer or contribute if you’re able — but most of all, spread the word!

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