When Junior Michael Everett first joined the Chaminade Speech & Debate Society (CSDS) his Freshman year, he had no idea his journey would take him from the coastline of California to the cornfields of Illinois. But Michael earned a CSDS scholarship to take advanced courses in public speaking at Bradley University this past summer. “Not many people from Los Angeles have probably heard of Bradley University,” Michael admits, “but Bradley’s Speech Team has won more national championships than any other college team, and the training you receive there is unparalleled.”
And so began his connection to Bradley and to the world of forensics: the art of public speaking and debate. Michael’s time at Bradley was actually an encore performance; he attended the prestigious Bradley program two summers ago, as well. “The experience I had at Bradley’s summer speech program two years ago was so rewarding and so life-changing that I knew I wanted to return for a second year.”
Michael’s parents are glad he did. “We have seen such growth in Michael,” Mrs. Merilee Everett explains. “Like so many other students in CSDS, he is developing his own presence. When he walks into a room filled with adults, he is not the ‘kid in the room with older people.’ He has a sophistication, a self-confidence, and a poise about him that not many 16 year-olds have, and that is so valuable.”
Michael’s father agrees. “I have experience from a business perspective,” Mr. Patrick Everett notes. “The people who can develop that kind of gravitas really have a leg up on other people when it comes to accomplishing something in their lives.”
And it’s not just his parents, teammates, and the judges at tournaments who are noticing his strengths. Director of CSDS, Mrs. Marianne Rosen was thrilled to learn that Michael’s 1st-place win at the Bradley tournament this summer earned him much more than just a trophy. “At Bradley,” Michael clarifies, “you compete at the end of summer courses. Some people earn a ‘banquet,’ some a certificate, and some win nothing. My first summer, I won nothing. But this year, I earned the ‘banquet,’ which meant that I earned the right to deliver my speech in front of over 200 people at the banquet hosted by the Bradley camp directors.”
Performing at the banquet caught the attention of college recruiters in the audience, too. “Because of my win and my performance,” Michael added, “I was not only offered a full scholarship to the Bradley speech camp in the summer of 2014, but I was offered a full scholarship to Bradley University if I ‘banquet’ again next year. I was also offered a full scholarship by a recruiter from the University of Texas at Austin for their summer speech camp.”
Trophies, banquets, and college scholarships aside, what Michael has learned as a result of his experiences in CSDS and at the Bradley camp fall in line with the Chaminade focus of working for justice. “Developing my public speaking skills teaches me not just about delivery or about arguments; learning how to speak in public teaches you how to care; it teaches you how you can really make a change in the world, how you really can work for justice.”
Michael’s journey toward working for justice is off to a phenomenal start.