Learning Through Speaking
In this day and age of vitriol-based politics and social media, some University View Academy students buck the trend. They live by a philosophy of being productive members of society and work with teams to make a positive impact in their community. They’re known as the Speek Squad. The “Speek” is a play on spelling but that’s what they do, speak. Eleventh-grader Noah and tenth-grader Lydia Moser of Shreveport do public speaking on a level well beyond their years. Lydia says it hasn’t been easy since she’s “Always scared everytime I speak.” That’s coming from a student with a debate background who did more than 40 speeches to various audiences since October. Noah is further along saying he’s overcome his “trepidation and fear and now I love it“ after his grandmother prompted him to get involved.
The siblings are members of the Institute for Cultural Communicators, ICC. It’s a faith-based international non-profit organization that helps students gain confidence and competence in communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking skills. Mom, Tina, says what they learn “Prepares them for whatever path they take” and “can be a great conflict resolution tool and character training.” She says since the age of six, she’s tried to instill in them to “receive constructive criticism and learn from it.”
The Speek Squad for students is a local chapter of ICC. Like the Toastmasters International organization for adults, Speak Squad’s goal is to facilitate constructive communication and leadership training for kids by kids. Part of that is to witness how the government works. Recently, a member of the Shreveport City Council noted it’s unusual for young people to be in the audience for council meetings and here’s a video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WK3L6-z_0i0
Preparing for speeches is time-consuming, and the Mosers praise the flexibility in learning University View Academy offers. Plus, Noah and Lydia liken their speech training to the live sessions at UVA since “you participate in fun activities and discussions” they say and because of what they’ve learned in ICC “It was almost seamless doing online school.” Both say English Language Arts is their favorite class.
The poise and confidence the Mosers show have not gone unnoticed. Noah and Lydia were invited to compete in the ICC international speech tournament this month at Lipscomb University in Nashville. Lydia placed fourth in that competition when she was just 12. Proud mom Tina says she’s watched her children go from “…shy to bold…” and realizes the program “teaches young people to listen as well as speak” she says.
Fellow UVA students Hope and Daniel Lukachick are on the ICC Texas and Louisiana Student Leadership team and their mom, Jane, is a district coordinator. Sibling Timothy is also active. ICC is bringing a 2-day conference to South Louisiana in the fall. For more information, please contact Jane Lukachick at: firstname.lastname@example.org.