Congratulations to Ethos Sourcebook Author Cameron Rentschler and his partner Andrew Schirmer for winning NCFCA nationals!!!
As with many of the other national champions we have on our staff it should be telling that we selected Cameron for Ethos before he won nationals, not after. Why is this significant?
Research and debate ability are used at competitions but no competitive performance can exactly correlate to measuring these skills. Additionally, we place higher weight on research and critical thinking skill than on the non-sourcebook-related factors (speaking, judges, opponents, and how well one’s partner debates).
At the end of the day, only one team can win a national championship, but several are capable of winning a national championship. Besides, we all know the inadequacies of a tournament for assessing the “best debaters” (if that even matters). What does this mean for you?
It means do what Drew Chambers did this year and partner with a novice to grow your skills. It means force yourself to research policy issues to their maximum depth even if you don’t need to do that to win debate rounds. It means cultivate the skill with your eyes on development, not the recognition. When it really matters, the right investment will pay off.
For example, you might get hired by Ethos before you place at nationals because your research skills are the bomb. Or you might be selected for a debate scholarship by a school that understands debate (for example, at PHC we turned down some national champions for lower placed individuals because the character and true skill seemed greater in the lower placed individuals). And you definitely will find the skills and knowledge you learn by challenging yourself more to pay off in every aspect of your life, from studies to professional career to leadership to parenting to teaching and serving others.