What started out as way to overcome her shyness, Katie Hoag has turned into a valuable tool she will carry through life.
“It’s a lot of work but you learn so much,” said Hoag, a 17-year-old junior on Flathead High School’s speech and debate team. “It’s not something you do in high school and then never do again. Learning how to be a public speaker is something that’s essential in life and has real world value.”
Hoag said her big challenge this year is to integrate humor into her speeches. She confesses that when she speaks she has a tendency to adopt a newscaster’s persona and wants to “try and liven it up.” That’s something she hopes to accomplish at her second trip to nationals to compete in extemporaneous speaking.
“As a judge, once you’ve heard your seventh speech on the economic politics in France, they’re not that interested,” she said, adding that her goal is to “keep the judge engaged.”
Hoag’s greatest asset is her thirst for knowledge and a memory for current events.
“It feels like I’m not participating in the world if I’m not informed about what’s happening,” she said. “It does have an impact on us if we know it or not.”
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