Ciera competed in the NCFCA for five years. As a competitor, she won 1st Place in both
Lincoln Douglas debate and Sweepstakes at two consecutive tournaments. She went
on to win 1st Place for the LD Speaker Award, Apologetics, Illustrated Oratory and
Biographical Narrative, also taking 2nd Place in Original Interpretation. Throughout
her competitive career, she has competed in nine out of the ten speech categories and
placed in almost all of them. She has also worked as a debate coach at Legacy for Christ,
the largest club in Region 8. Last year, she wrote for NCFCA and STOA Red Book with
Training Minds. She was also named the Distinguished Young Woman of Florida
(Junior Miss) 2013 and was named the 2nd Runner-Up for America, winning awards
for her interview and on-stage question.
1. What did you do directly after high school?
Right after I graduated high school, I competed in the Distinguished Young Women of America (Jr. Miss) program as Florida’s representative. I came in as the 2nd Runner-Up, winning awards for my interview and on-stage question. Then I spent two weeks canoeing in the boundary waters and I even spent 36 hours alone in the wilderness for an adventure expedition with the freshmen class of Wheaton College.
2. What are you currently doing?
I am currently studying English and Anthropology at Wheaton College. I hope to pursue a career as a novelist and I keep up a literature blog at www.cierahorton.blogspot.com
3. Tell us about any awards, interesting adventures, etc. since you graduated high school.
One of my short stories recently won second place at Wheaton’s creative writing contest and I was the only freshman to be recognized. At the end of the year, I was selected to receive the First Year Outstanding Student Award, which is given to one freshman the school will coach in preparation for the Rhodes Scholarship. I am now pursuing potential publication for my novel!!
4. What is your favorite memory from your time in Legacy and the NCFCA?
There are so many things that have touched my heart from being a part of Legacy and the NCFCA! But my favorite memory was praying with my students before their rounds. On multiple occasions, I would run into a student who was terrified going into a competition room or who needed prayer before facing an intimidating opponent. I am so thankful that God led them into my life because I truly recognized that Legacy gave me a platform to grow and also to make a difference.
5. How has doing speech and debate impacted who you are and what you are doing today?
Speech and debate didn’t just give me the training and experience to polish my own speaking abilities and interview skills. It completely shaped who I am today. Speech and debate gave me the confidence to find my own voice, but it also humbled me to always continue learning and keep my heart focused on why we do this. It taught me that competition is a wonderful motivator to inspire us to pursue excellence, but ultimately no accolades or awards will define me, no trophy will make me a better person, no honor or ballot will ever change who I am in Christ. The NCFCA as shown me that I should always keep my sight on the why behind what we do. From a practical standpoint, it has also given me the skills I needed to succeed in Distinguished Young Women and to be a good speaker to promote my writing. My time in the NCFCA has shaped who I am in such an influential way and I am forever thankful.
6. What is your message for those currently involved in speech and debate?
Take every opportunity you can to be a light in someone’s life. Encourage others even when they are not encouraging you. If you win, then use that gift to be a blessing to others. And if you don’t, then continue to lead by example and love everyone around you.
7. What is your message for those considering adding speech and debate to their life?
It will forever change you. Public speaking is something that everyone should learn, because it will help you in college, job interviews and overall self-esteem and confidence.