Recognizing the demands for coordinating a successful speech and debate program, a Ransom Everglades family responded with generous annual support for the school’s growing program. As supportive and involved parents, Irene and Irving Barr P’09 began investing in the program and its future five years ago after seeing its effect on their son, Charlie Barr ’09.
“When Charlie entered speech and debate, we joined him,” said Irene and Irving. “We went to the tournaments with other families. We worked together. Some parents had different skills to share with all. We fed, shuttled and flew with debaters all over the country.”
To relieve the pressure from volunteers and staff — and lift the uncertainty around logistics, the Barrs committed to securing a full-time speech and debate teacher, additional support staff and resources for tournaments and travel.
Today, nearly one in 10 students participates in speech and debate at RE, and the program continues to grow in numbers and prominence under the leadership of Speech and Debate Coach Kate Hamm. Students are not only competing at a high level at local, regional and national tournaments, but they are also putting their knowledge to work in their communities. They are organizing leadership training for all club officers at RE, and giving back through an ongoing partnership with Breakthrough Miami.
Through the speech and debate program, students also cultivate valuable leadership skills and experiences that shape their worldview. “My experience in public forum, congressional debate and extemporaneous speaking provided me with lifelong skills that I still benefit from,” Charlie explained. “The poise and confidence I developed as a student in the speech and debate program prepared me for life after Ransom Everglades.”
“We support Ransom Everglades in its many endeavors, but a lifelong skill of public speaking is priceless”
Founded in 1903, Ransom Everglades School is a coeducational, college preparatory day school for grades 6 - 12 located on two campuses in Coconut Grove, Florida. Ransom Everglades School produces graduates who "believe that they are in the world not so much for what they can get out of it as for what they can put into it." The mission of Ransom Everglades School is to provide an educational environment in which the pursuit of honor, academic excellence and intellectual growth is complemented by concern for the physical, cultural and character development of each student. The school provides rigorous college preparation that promotes the student's sense of identity, community, personal integrity and values for a productive and satisfying life, and prepares the student to lead and to contribute to society.