Hello! I'm Riley Gorenflo, and I started speech & debate way back in 2007. It took a while
for me to come to terms with memorizing 10 minute speeches and giving them in front of
people I didn't even know, but those first year nerves were a small price to pay for 5 years
of extremely useful experience. Now I'm a college sophomore studying for a degree in
Journalism, where I hope to use my writing skills to share my opinions and knowledge with
1. What did you do directly after high school?
Life directly after high school wasn't so different from my junior and senior years; I had been
dual enrolling with CollegePlus throughout my final semesters of high school, so once I graduated I continued my studies and became a sophomore in college.
2. What are you currently doing?
Right now I'm continuing my studies with CollegePlus, but I've since switched my major from English to Journalism. I'm also a writer and contributor for a pop culture website, that focuses on reviewing entertainment media!
3. Tell us about any awards, interesting adventures, etc. since you graduated high school.
Since I graduated high school I've been blessed with the opportunity to travel to Poland in order to spread the Gospel, while at the same time being able to teach American-English.
4. What is your favorite memory from your time in Legacy and the NCFCA?
As far as favorite memories go, it's hard to pinpoint just one. I think the entire experience can be summed up with one word: relationships. The friendships that I formed throughout my 5 year NCFCA career are the ones that I still carry with me today, and I'm so thankful for the many happy memories that we made together.
5. How has doing speech and debate impacted who you are and what you are doing today?
It's amazing how much speech has impacted my life, and is really a testament to how useful the whole experience was. The first year I traveled to Poland, good speaking skills were key in order to make sure the Polish youth were able to understand me clearly; perhaps more importantly, my experience with Apologetics allowed me to have a deeper insight into spiritual questions that the students would ask. I felt confident in my answers because I had spent time considering questions like "why does God allow bad things to happen" and "how is Christianity different from other religions".
6. What is your message for those currently involved in speech and debate?
For those of you currently involved in speech and debate, I would say keep at it, even if you feel like it's not worth the effort, because it most definitely is. The experience you're gaining will help you so much later on in life, especially in regards to relationships, friendships, first jobs, and even lifelong careers. You already have an advantage over the general population, because you are learning to cultivate your speaking in a way that will make you more approachable and relatable.
7. What is your message for those considering adding speech and debate to their life?
As for you students who still aren't sure if you want to be involved, just go for it! It's ok if it seems scary and daunting; everybody feels that way at first. But I guarantee that you will thank God every day that you took this wonderful opportunity. You'll make lasting friendships, and learn things about yourself and others that will benefit your personal growth for years to come.
I would also like to give everyone a piece of advice; don't become obsessed with the competition. Some people might not agree with me, but I believe that the experience and friendships you cultivate are more important than any medal or trophy. That's not to say you shouldn't strive to do your best, but don't let your losses ruin your attitude and outlook on life.