NITOC 2021 Has a New Location 1/20/21

Due to increased COVID-19 restrictions in California, Concordia University has asked that we select a new location for NITOC 2021. As much as we were looking forward to returning to the Golden State for our national tournament, we understand Concordia’s position.

Fortunately, our intended NITOC 2020 host, Union University, has generously offered the use of their campus for NITOC 2021. The dates for NITOC 2021 remain the same: May 23–29, 2021. Union University is a loyal Stoa partner who eagerly anticipates hosting us in the spring. More details regarding housing, etc., will be released soon. We ask that you do not contact Union University directly.

Our nation remains in flux, and we will communicate any changes to NITOC 2021 as needed. Thank you to our members for walking with us together through uncertain times.

The Stoa Board of Directors

Virtual Tournament Press Release 12/1/20

Stoa’s first two virtual tournaments were a great success! We would like to extend our gratitude to Lynda Sloneker and Katie Herche for assembling top-notch staff members and directing these events. We would also like to thank our competitors, parents, alumni, and community judges for their participation and willingness to serve.

As promised, we are continuing to stay informed on COVID-19 restrictions around the nation and determining how they will affect our competition season. There are many in-person tournaments currently on the Stoa calendar; however, the board recognizes it is prohibitive for some families to take advantage of these tournaments. Therefore, we plan to offer one NITOC-modeled tournament per month (with all speech and debate events) from January through April.

  • January 27–30: StoaVirtual – The Green Challenge
  • February 24–27: StoaVirtual – The Gold Challenge
  • March TBD: StoaVirtual – The Purple Challenge
  • April TBD: StoaVirtual – The Silver Challenge

To keep virtual tournaments consistent, the board will continue to host them. We realize this is a departure from our local-control model. As soon as it is possible to do so, Stoa will return to only in-person tournaments hosted by clubs with local control.

Please check the Stoa calendar regularly for information on registration for these virtual tournaments. Thank you for your comments and feedback as we move forward in uncharted territory.

 The Stoa Board of Directors

Virtual Tournament Press Release 10/1/20

The Stoa Tournament Calendar is beginning to fill with Stoa in-person tournaments being offered as restrictions are lifted. While some in-person tournaments are being scheduled, many parts of the nation are still locked down and many facilities remain closed. To supplement our limited in-person tournaments during this unprecedented time, as promised, the Stoa Board is pleased to announce two upcoming board-sponsored virtual tournaments.

StoaVirtual – The Blue Challenge is scheduled for October 29–31 as a debate-only virtual tournament. StoaVirtual – The Red Challenge is scheduled for November 11–14 with all speech and debate events being offered. Please check the Stoa Tournament Calendar for more details regarding registration opening and closing dates.

The Stoa Board is committed to what we believe is the best venue for our activity and that is in-person tournaments. Training our students to speak boldly and change the world for Christ depends on the community we participate in, the relationships we develop, and the opportunity to speak to our judges in person. We will return to in-person only tournaments as soon as it is feasible to do so.

We look forward to your feedback as we provide virtual tournaments, a learning process for all of us. We are thankful to have this platform to provide opportunities for additional competition and training during this unusual season. May the Lord bless each of you within our Stoa family as we continue to learn and grow together!

For His glory,

Your Stoa Board of Directors

Stoa Board to Host Virtual Tournaments 9/1/20

While the Stoa Board continues to work out the details of virtual tournaments for the fall, we want to remind you that we encourage local clubs and tournament directors to continue with in-person tournaments as your conscience, state, and local government allow. In-person tournaments that abide by the Stoa Minimum Tournament Standards will remain NITOC-qualifying tournaments.

We would also like to announce that non-qualifying virtual tournaments are able to be posted on the Stoa calendar! As a matter of practice, non-qualifying tournaments are not eligible for posting to the Stoa calendar. However, we are making an exception for this season. You must clearly post on your registration site that your tournament is non-qualifying. At this time, only the virtual tournaments hosted by the Stoa Board will be qualifying virtual tournaments. Our current plan is to host at least one virtual tournament in October and at least one in November. We will post the dates soon.

With that said, the Stoa Board does not believe that virtual tournaments are the best method of competition. However, we do understand that we must provide an alternative to in-person tournaments, especially for those who live in states where gathering together is still greatly restricted. This solution is temporary. Once the majority of restrictions on gatherings are lifted, virtual tournaments will no longer be necessary or offered.

The Stoa Board is committed to what we believe is the best venue for our activity and that is in-person tournaments. Training our students to speak boldly and change the world for Christ depends on the community we participate in, the relationships we develop, and the opportunity to speak to our judges in person. We will return to in-person only tournaments as soon as it is feasible to do so.

In the meantime, we continue to develop the framework for Stoa Board-hosted virtual tournaments. We will continue to update our members as we make progress toward that end.

We are praying for all of you as you navigate a successful season in the midst of uncertain times.

In Christ,

The Stoa Board of Directors

Statement on Virtual Tournaments 8/1/20

As the United States and the world face unprecedented and unpredictable circumstances in the midst of a pandemic, the Stoa Board has spent many hours in discussion and prayer with regard to the upcoming 2020–2021 speech and debate season. We have developed a plan with the hope of assuring our member families that Stoa remains committed to training our young people to speak boldly and change the world for Christ and providing opportunities for our students to continue to compete.

To that end, we offer the following:

The Stoa Board fully intends to host NITOC 2021. As most of our members know, NITOC 2021 is currently scheduled to take place in May 2021 on the beautiful campus of Concordia University in Irvine, CA. In the event that Concordia becomes unavailable due to COVID-19, the Board has secured an alternative in-person location. Because there is no way to predict what impact COVID-19 will continue to have, if an in-person NITOC becomes impossible, the Stoa Board will provide a virtual NITOC.

In order to ensure the integrity of NITOC and the quality of competition characteristic of Stoa, the Board will institute a pilot program for virtual tournaments this fall. During the fall of 2020, the Board plans to offer a minimum of 2–3 virtual, NITOC-qualifying tournaments.

Over the course of the remaining weeks of summer and this fall, the Stoa Board will continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 and will decide whether additional virtual tournaments are a necessary option in 2021. We intend to release another statement in late fall.

In the meantime, we encourage local tournament directors to schedule in-person tournaments as your conscience, state or local government allows. We also support offering non-qualifying virtual tournaments hosted by local leadership. These competitions would offer opportunities for students and tournament directors to practice in a new format.

We thank you for your patience and your prayers as we seek God’s wisdom for the upcoming season.

Your Stoa Board of Directors

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