MS Advisor

OSDA Middle school advisor

Vicki Balzer

Dear OSDA Middle School coaches:

Let me introduce myself. If you read the September 23 Director’s Newsletter, you know that I have accepted the position of Middle School Advisor. I hope to work closely with you, with the Middle School Committee members, and with Paul Moffitt to address your unique needs as you recruit and build your programs in this difficult school year and perhaps even more challenging competition year.

You are well aware of how dealing with middle schoolers is different from working with elementary and high-school students. They are just beginning to understand their talents, their intellectual abilities, and their emotional needs. They desperately want to be part of a group that appreciates them for who they are. For these reasons, Speech and Debate is an almost perfect activity because it allows the competitors to “find themselves” in a safe environment. And, unlike activities like sports or music, it does not lock them into one event: they are free to explore speaking, interpretation, and debate events within the same season or in different years. Middle school speech and debate should be viewed, then, as a time for exploration and building skills. If they choose to compete in high school, they can choose to specialize then.

My job, therefore, is to help you be successful in whatever ways you define success. Feel free to email me with your questions ( about team building, practices, events, rules, competitions, scripts, etc. In the future, I hope to create a forum where all of you can give advice and share ideas. Until that time, you might want to join the Facebook group Speech & Debate Coach Forum, which has a wealth of information.

I look forward to hearing from and working with you,

Vicki Balzer

September 25, 2020