Debate and Public Speaking

Debate, Public Speaking, Interviewing, and Leadership Training

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  • Debate & Public Speaking (5-9th Grade)
  • Public Speaking & Interviewing (9-12th Grade)
  • Leadership Training (9-12th Grade) 
Effective Communication, Public Speaking, Interviewing Practice, and Leadership Training  

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This course will help students in communication, classroom participation, project presentations, public speaking, and college application interviewing. We aim to help students become MORE confident, MORE effective, and MORE competent in their communications in all settings, as these qualifications are ESSENTIAL in becoming future WORKERS and LEADERS.  

This course will cover all the following:

  • Develop speaking ability in front of an audience without stage fright
  • Organize a message or a speech by structuring and adapting material to audience
  • Convey a message orally with clarity, accuracy, and conviction
  • Develop appropriate hand gestures, eye contact, and posture
  • Develop enthusiasm and active participation in class or club activities
  • Create valuable relationships with other students and teachers
  • Increase self-confidence in all aspects: speaking, communicating, writing, etc.
  • For high school students, this will also cover “Interviewing Skills” to enable them to interview successfully for internships, college applications (mock interviews)
  • Our team’s teachers represent College Admission Alumni Interviewing Committee, and received interviewing training to conduct interviews to prospective students
  • Develop effective communication skills and leadership abilities, build up interest and confidence in pursuing leadership roles in school, in community, and future in college and society

Communication Ability Assessment and Evaluation:

Each student’s presentation will be assessed and evaluated based on many elements in the speech. It includes but will not be limited to: poised posture, confidence, meaningful gestures, body movement, genuine facial expression, eye contact, voice projection , varied pitch, enthusiasm, subject or contents of the delivery, level of inspiration, etc.

Welcome to this fun and rewarding communication class!

Ms. Wrightsman supervises and coaches students from diverse backgrounds and works collaboratively with faculty, staff and community. Ms. Wrightsman received M.A. in Education and B.S. in Psychology (Cum Laude).  Her outstanding communication experience and credentials include:  worked on international exchange programs funded by Department of State;  delivered major presentations at big conferences, such as a presentation on “Intercultural Competence” to a group of Fulbright Program recipients in September 2015;  presented at the Critical Language Scholarship Program Orientation to American Councils for International Education in June 2014 and 2015.

As a communication expert, Karen’s focus is on people interaction, people communication, and especially on intercultural communication; use of effective communication in various culture and careers. Karen’s research areas include intercultural competence, international branch campuses, and the experience of international students.

She is currently teaching college students: Communications 101: Interpersonal and Group Communication.” Ms. Wrightsman is excited to bring her communication talents and teaching enthusiasm to Oakton Academy again this summer. Students who took her Communication class last summer commented: “it was such a fun class, we learned many communication skills, including interacting with your parents, teachers, counselors, and your team mates. The last presentation allowed us to do research on global issues, and we worked as a team to deliver the final presentations. It is one of the unique SAT camp I have ever attended, as it integrates the communication and interviewing to the intensive SAT program. Excellent!”

Public Speaking Coach

Edmond mentors, coaches, and teaches Public Speaking skills to a wide range of students, from elementary aged to adults. His teaching style enables all students to overcome stage fright, refine their speech message, allow the inner voice to be heard. He is currently teaching Public Speaking at local HCS/Chantilly Campus.

Coach Edmond is the 2009 District 27 Toastmasters Humorous Speech Champion which included over 4,500 Toastmasters in the Northern Virginia, Southern Washington DC and Southern Maryland. He earned the Toastmaster International Highest Honor, the Distinguished Toastmaster Award in 2012.  He holds a Master’s degree and PMP certificate, and has been a Program and Project Manager for major companies, including Verizon and United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Coach Richard received “Competent Communicator Certificate” when he was in Thomas Jefferson High School. He is working towards his master degree at Carnegie Mellon University. He delivers lectures with his unique and humorous teaching style. He teaches students on how to organize a speech (outline with introduction, transitions, and conclusion; how to confidently deliver a speech (body language, voice volume, eye contact, etc.); how to overcome anxiety in making a speech. Coach Richard also emphasizes the importance of a speech’s introduction and conclusion. His students have learned so much from the Public Speaking class. Many parents complimented that it is one of the best summer camps (public speaking) they have ever had.

Coach Alice received the “Competent Communicator Certificate” at the national level. She graduated from Georgetown University Magna Cum Laude. She held positions as the Director of the Business Strategy Case Competition, and Partner of Innovo Solutions – a student run non-profit consulting. Both roles required her to speak in front of over 60 people on a weekly basis.

She was a Career Information Specialist at the Georgetown Career Center, giving her expertise in mock interviews and the skills required to successfully apply for internships and full time jobs. As a local TJ graduate, she is also familiar with FCPS learning environment. She taught interviewing skills and effective communication skills to high school students. She supported local higher educational institutions, and management consulting firms, and facilitated many professional career development, and educational seminars in DC Metropolitan area. She is highly respected and recommended by our parents and students.

“I become more confident in speaking in front of people. I learned a lot about how to organize, to write, and to deliver a speech” –  a 7th grader from the Spring 2016 class

“My daughter hardly raised her voice when she speaks in front of her class; after 10 weeks’ public speaking class, she is courageously and confidently speaking and delivering the speech. I am extremely impressed with her progress. Many thanks Coach Edmond!” – a parent from the Spring 2016 class

“I like the way that Coach Edmond constructs the class: each student gets the opportunity to share, to learn, and to speak. After 10 weeks, we also build up bond among our peers after so much sharing of our personal stories. I especially like to watch a few videos on famous commencement speeches, which provides us information, knowledge, and scope on how famous people make important speeches. It motivate me to learn from small steps.” – a 10th grader from the public speaking class 2016

“I was nervous about presentation and making speeches. I hardly speak at my regular class. However, the 10 weeks’ small classroom setting, the constructive feedback from the coach, and the friendly and positive classmates give me a lot of encouragement and confidence to learn to make speeches. I really enjoy the class.” – a 7th grader from the public speaking class 2016


It is an introduction to the basics of debate structure and argumentation. Through lectures, coursework, and individual workshops, students will learn essential concepts such as frameworks, rebuttal techniques, weighing strategies, and case construction, culminating in a fun mock tournament at the end of the session.

Debate Coaches include experienced debate members and captains, who taught and coached high school and middle school students debate.  We also have coaches places top ranking at many National Tournaments. They coached local middle and high school students. Some of them taught at George Mason University Summer Debate Camp. They are highly qualified and experienced in debate coaching and debate teaching. 

One of the Policy Debate Coaches graduated from TJ High School. He has had 4 years of experience in High School Policy Debate, and was the captain of the TJ Policy Debate Team. The coach was 2nd place in the 2015 State Championships, and won the top speaker award at Policy Debate competition.  The coach was the 1st place and the 1st speaker at the Regional Washington Arlington qualifier tournament, and broke records at multiple National Tournaments, including placing as a semifinalist in the 2014 George Mason National Invitational, and a quarterfinalist in the 2015 Pennsbury Falcon National Invitational.  He taught a few summers debate and public speaking at various schools.