A Spring to Remember

Seth Peckham, NFA national extemp champion

The faithful followers of this blog (both of you) will have to indulge me a little as I share two wonderful experiences that have truly made this a memorable month.  The first event was the birth of our fifth grandchild.  Hannah Diane Peckham joined the family on April 1.  She is absolutely beautiful and the epitome of perfection that you only find in a newborn.  You would think the fifth time around wouldn’t be quite as exciting as the first, but each new baby is just as special as the previous ones, especially when you know the joy you will experience watching each one grow and develop into a unique individual.

With each new baby, I can’t help but let my mind imagine the future.  What will she look like?  Will she be artistic, athletic, or both?  Will she be introspective or outgoing, a princess or a tomboy?  Whatever path they take, we want to be there to love and support all the grandchildren.

The second event occurred April 19th at the National Forensics Association annual tournament in Athens, Ohio.  With the popularity of the CSI franchise on television, many people think forensics refers to the use of science or technology to solve crimes, but it also means the art or study of argumentation and formal debate.  The use of argumentation or debate has been the cornerstone of our marriage, so it’s not surprising that at least one of our children would excel at it.  Our youngest, Seth, has competed at the high school and college level for the last eight years in numerous events with extemporaneous speaking being his specialty.  Since that event requires a vast knowledge of current events, both domestic and international, he has spent countless hours reading current events articles, filing the information, and giving practice speeches.

All his hard work paid off at the NFA tournament when he won the national championship in extemporaneous speaking.  He also placed 4th in impromptu speaking, 7th in pentathlon, and was a quarter-finalist in persuasive speaking and after dinner speaking.

I was so fortunate to be there to share what was truly a remarkable experience.  There were hundreds of other students there who expended the same, or perhaps even more, effort who didn’t have their hard work affirmed with a first place trophy, so we were both keenly aware just how fortunate he was to achieve his dream.

Whether I’m holding the new baby or looking at pictures of Seth with his championship trophy, I try to savor those moments because we all know that babies grow up and championship trophies get stored away.  There will always be new achievements and events that fill our lives with joy and excitement, but as I walk down memory lane, the events of Spring 2010 will be ones that I will never forget.

2 Responses to “A Spring to Remember”

  1. Serena Lee says:

    what is the difference between extemporaneous and impromptu

  2. Terri says:

    The main difference is the topics. Extemp speeches deal with current events topics, and each speaker has a different question to answer. Speakers in an impromptu round all have the same quotation to interpret. Extempers get the topic and have 30 minutes to prepare a 7 minute speech. Impromptu speakers walk into the room and they have 7 minutes to read the quotation, prepare the speech, and deliver the speech. They can take as much or as little time to prepare as they choose. Most prep for approximately 2 minutes and speak for about 5 minutes.

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