Andrew Carleton

1. What did you do directly after high school?  
After graduating I spent a summer traveling around the country attending and staffing

various camps. In the fall I attended Valencia College in Orlando Florida, in pursuit of an

A.A. through their Honors College. I also worked part-time as a private tutor in Math,

Science, and Speech, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

2. What are you currently doing? 
I am currently enrolled as a Sophomore in Valencia’s Honors college, and I hope to transfer

soon to a Florida University to dual major in Psychology and Communications.

3.  Tell us about any awards, interesting adventures, etc. since you graduated high school.  
I have maintained a 4.0 GPA in college and have made the President’s list for both semesters at Valencia. I also am in the process of defeating Lyme Disease, which I was diagnosed with over spring break in 2014. 

4.  What is your favorite memory from your time in Legacy and the NCFCA?

Even though I lost, my favorite memory in the NCFCA is debating my friend and fellow Legacy servant leader, Ciera Horton, in the final Lincoln-Douglas round at one of the qualifying tournaments during my senior year. I have so many fond and wonderful memories, and while it is hard to pick one, this one reminds me of all the friendships, knowledge, studying, and work that the NCFCA meant to me (in that order).

5.  How has doing speech and debate impacted who you are and what you are doing today?

Speech and Debate, though terrifying at the beginning, has impacted my life in numerous ways. It has become a community of both friends and their families that are an integral part of my, and my family’s, life. While I grew as a student and a speaker during my years of competition, Speech and Debate sparked a lifelong interest that has shaped my collegiate path and hopefully my career. I was so fascinated by the way that different words and analogies could impact different judges, and how there were more powerful ways to say something that would re-enforce your credibility in a speech, that I have added another major in order to study not only how to communicate, but also how people think. This is the greatest impact that the NCFCA has had on my life, though there are many other parts of me that have been influenced from confidence to charisma to studying methods and everything in between.

6.  What is your message for those currently involved in speech and debate?  
For those who are currently competing, I would challenge each of you to work hard, challenge yourself, perform and persuade well, but above all, love people. As many alumni say, “the trophies are in a box somewhere.” It truly never should be all about winning. Although the competition is an important part, it is the skills, memories, and friends that will stick with you for more than a year after high school. Don’t get down about a poor competitive tournament, and don’t get egotistical about a great one. I think the goals should be to learn, grow, and encourage, with competition coming last.

7.  What is your message for those considering adding speech and debate to their life?
For anyone interested in speech and debate, I would strongly encourage it. It has been a way to connect for my family, in addition to influencing each of our lives differently. Our speech club has become an extended family, and jumped into our lives during a family medical crisis. Your students will most likely laugh, cry, beg you to let them quit, and beg you not to take them to one more tournament throughout your course in the NCFCA. But the moments of growth and the friendships made cannot be overvalued. I have seen parents beam with pride as their students win an award after begging to quit but sticking it out, and students catch passion when they finally grasp a debate concept. It might take a while, but students will thank their parents when they realize the life skills that they learn while in the NCFCA, from public speaking, to rhetoric, to interview skills, research and philosophy. Joining Speech and Debate might be tough, but it’s so worth it both as an experience and an investment.