Throughout the 2020 Fall Semester, Be the Light held its speech and debate workshops entirely online! Hundreds of students participated every week in our student-led classes to learn valuable tips and lessons about public speaking and argumentation. The instructors thoroughly enjoyed meeting and teaching all the students, and we hope all the students gained valuable lessons from our workshops!
On November 14th, 2020, BTL hosted its second-ever online speech and debate tournament. Over 58 students across the United States competed in Public Forum Debate, Original Oratory, Extemporaneous Speaking, and Congressional Debate. The results of the tournament are listed below! Alternatively, the full ranks and results can be found here at btl.tabroom.com.
Thank you to everyone who competed and made this tournament a success!
On August 22nd, 2020, representatives from the three donation-receiving organizations (Educational First Steps, Hope Supply Co., the Warren Center) spoke at a seminar with all BTL staff members. There, they explained what their organization does, what it's like to work at a nonprofit full-time, their responsibilities, and how Be the Light's donations of $5,000 affected their organization.
Our first ever Be The Light book drive was a HUGE success! We collectively received a total of 2,672 book donations, which was 500% more books than our original goal of just 500 books. All of the books we collected were donated to low income schools and disadvantaged students who, in the midst of this pandemic, are in much need of educational materials.
This was the first ever Be the Light workshop that was held completely online! Although moving to a completely online platform had its challenges, it also presented a unique opportunity for us, as we received signups from not just around the state of Texas, but from all four corners of the United States. We are looking forward to continuing hosting online workshops in the future!
Due to Covid-19, BTL held our first ever online middle school speech and debate tournament. Our tournament was a bigger success than we could’ve ever imagined, with over 75 participants competing in almost 10 different events. While the coronavirus has undoubtedly changed almost every single aspect of our lives, the one thing that remains constant is our commitment to empowering students through speech and debate!
BTL held our second college seminar on Zoom! This event included a separate Junior and Senior section, where we talked about strategies and tips for college applications. Featured speakers at this event got accepted to Harvard, Yale, Columbia, UPenn, Stanford, MIT, and more! Although we couldn't provide a face to face seminar, this event was still a huge success and we are so excited to hold another one next year!
Capitalizing off the previous success of our workshops, our second Spring Workshop raised almost $20,000 in revenues to be donated towards various non-profit organizations. However, as the coronavirus worsened across America, our executive directors made the tough decision to cancel the rest of the workshop after just three classes. All parents received a full refund for the remaining classes, and with the revenue that we had left, we donated towards Covid-19 relief efforts such as Mission Arlington and Minnie’s food pantry. Although the workshop was sadly cut short, we enjoyed the little time that we spent with our students before we unfortunately had to say goodbye. Through this workshop, we learned some valuable lessons that shaped our decisions about workshops moving forward. We hope that many of our students return for our BTL Summer Camp!
The Be the Light Team recently visited the City House’s facilities! We are so excited to be able to donate to this wonderful organization, and we absolutely love their mission of giving shelter and providing services to at-risk youth. We were able to tour their main location and learn about City House’s incredible history of transforming the lives of the children they’ve worked with. It was such an educational visit and we are so glad to support this amazing nonprofit. Thank you, City House!
In November, Be the Light held a collaboration with SparkStem, another local student-led nonprofit organization that is dedicated to educating the youth. At the seminar, BTL team members taught young students with a passion in science fair about the importance of public speaking. Students learned about fundamental public speaking skills that would help them in not only Science Fair presentations, but in school and life beyond. We were glad to have the opportunity to work with such a bright group of young students!