Alumni Speaker Series: Liz Yount '04-'11

01/19/16 05:30:am
| Category: Alumni

Liz Yount '04-'11, head of Harvard-Westlake’s Speech and Debate team, and member of USA Debate inspired our Speech and Debate students last fall during her visit to Mirman as part of our Alumni Speaker Series.

From more than 130,000 student competitors across the country, Liz was selected as one of only 9 high school students to represent the United States on the world stage. Liz got her start in Speech and Debate in Ms. Marjorie Zinman’s Upper School class. Liz credits her time in Ms. Zinman’s class with inspiring her to pursue Speech and Debate.

Recently, Liz's 3 person USA/Red Team took home the champions title at the prestigious Winter Holidays Open held in Zagreb, Croatia. In their 2015-2016 season, the USA Debate team will travel all over the world, competing in places such as Germany, Slovenia, Jakarta, Canada, New York City, and New Orleans. Liz explained to our students that building an academic career in Speech and Debate takes time and dedication, and that the skills one develops can also translate to successes in other areas.

Liz explains:

It’s something that has been extremely valuable to me, not only just in my ability to debate, but also in the way that debate has taught me to think critically, and has given me the tools to do well in my other classes. All the knowledge that you learn builds upon itself—it’s a cumulative process.

During her visit Liz fielded questions about her experience, listened to a student’s First Proposition Constructive (1PC), provided feedback, and imparted invaluable advice about preparing for competition. By the end of their dialogue with Liz, it was clear that our students were energized and motivated. They left Mr. Michael Taggart’s classroom not only in awe of her impressive list of accomplishments and expertly articulated advice, but they were also inspired by her thoughtful words of wisdom and encouragement.

Liz closes by saying that:

The skills that you’re learning right now are extremely marketable. You’re going to carry them with you from here, all the way to applying for your first job, and beyond. The skills that debate teaches you are just that valuable.

Liz Yount is a varsity Lincoln-Douglas (LD) debater and Captain of the Harvard-Westlake World Schools Debate team. Last year, she debated at the Old Parkland Invitational and in one season quickly rose from rookie to champion when she won First Place Overall and First Place Speaker at the Woodward Academy First Year Nationals Tournament for LD. Liz coached both middle school parliamentary and LD this year at debate LA’s summer camp. Additionally, she is an editor for her school’s newspaper and has been recognized nationally and internationally by the National Scholastic Press Association and by the Quill and Scroll International Honorary Society for High School Journalists. Liz is also a member of the National Society of High School Scholars, a Los Angeles Youth Poet Laureate Honorable Mention, and Captain of Harvard-Westlake’s Slam Poetry team, where she was a finalist at the Get Lit Classic Slam Competition last spring. In her spare time, Liz is a recipe contributor to professional cooking blog Foodie Fiasco and volunteers with Operation Gratitude.