It still needs work with sentence construction but aside from that I would love input. Thanks JC7 I'm not going to say my life has been wrought with hardships - it hasn’t. Truth be told, life has been pretty good to me. I'm your average white boy from a middle- class family attending a challenging college preparatory school in El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora de los Angeles de Porciuncula - The city of Angels - or Los Angeles, for short. But everybody has their battles and adversities. For me, it was speaking - not public speaking, necessarily, but, like, putting words together to, like, you know....... talk. Starting in 2nd grade some of my greatest thoughts remained unexpressed though an inability to communicate. It was not that I didn't know the words that i wanted to say, but that when I tried to speak, I would get hung up on the first sound of the first word I wanted to say, rendering me speechless for 20 seconds or more as I stuttered. I spent the greater part of three years seeing speech therapists who tried to help me, to no avail. By 6th grade I had all but given up. I became a rather silenced kid. A lot was going on inside my head, but no one else seemed to know this. I wanted to voice my opinions on books, friends and politics but, sadly, my tongue did not share a similar aspiration. Once I started middle school an opportunity presented itself: Speech and Debate. Campbell Hall did not have a debate team. However, my best friends and I always enjoyed bickering back and forth about the latest news and political Issues. One day after a stimulating history class my teacher told me how expressive my ideas were. When I told her I enjoyed arguing my opinions, she jokingly said I should be a debater. As nonchalant as this statement may have been, I don’t think she could have realized the can of worms she had just opened, and how much of her free time she’d just volunteered away. "Ms. Hong, can we start a debate team?” Needless to say, we started a team, and were a founding member of one of the first middle school debate leagues in the United States: the MSPDP. Public speaking presented a new understanding of communication for me. Somehow, I felt more comfortable talking in front of a crowd of people who were there for the sole purpose of listening to me than I did in one-on-one conversation. My first speech –on violent video games- was the beginning of a long journey during which I became an accomplished speaker, a feat that three different speech therapists thought impossible. I continued to debate in the parliamentary format throughout junior high school and was ranked as high as second in the league. But faced another problem at the commencement of high school: no debate team. So I founded a high school team as well. During these years I’ve competed in two formats: National Extemporaneous and Parliamentary. I’m proud to report that this stuttering elementary school kid is now State-ranked in Extemporaneous, Second- Place Speaker at the prestigious Pepperdine Invitational, Semi-Finalist at the Stanford tournament, Member with Special Distinction of the National Forensic League, Audition Finalist for Team USA, Campbell Hall Speaker of the Year, and the executive officer of our debate team, which continues to grow My love of debate has inspired me to train others to follow in my footsteps. Since leaving middle school, I have coached the Junior High Team. I now also train novices from Campbell Hall competing for the first time in High School, in the hopes that they can find the same joy in speaking that I have. Thanks to debating, the old adage, "your greatest adversity can become your greatest asset" has made itself crystal clear.