This month’s Alumni Spotlight features Luke Litz, who competed for Ambassadors for Christ from 2013-2019. He currently studies at Belmont University, where he is pursuing a Bachelors in Philosophy of Religion.
Luke started his Stoa journey at age 13, when his mom heard about a speech and debate camp in their area. Luke says, “She asked me if I wanted to go and try it out. I loved to argue as a kid, and so naturally I felt like this was an amazing idea. Learning how to win arguments? What could be cooler?” Luke thoroughly enjoyed the camp, and his family connected to the local club who had hosted it. The rest, he says, is history. (Luke wanted us to know that he did learn that debate was about much more than winning arguments.)
At his first tournament, Luke recalls feeling in over his head, overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the event. He explains, “My problem was not that I felt underprepared (even though I definitely was) or that I didn’t think I was capable of succeeding (I had an unfounded confidence). My problem was that the whole scene seemed massive to me. Kids from all over my region and other states were here, and we were all here to compete, almost like a sporting event. It seemed bigger than anything I had ever been a part of up to that point.”
Luke loved LD especially, but he also fondly recalls the many friends he made through Parli and how Extemp taught him about current events. Ultimately, though, the Stoa community impacted him deeply: “I have so many memories from NITOC. I could tell you about all of the people that I debated or the people that I met from other regions of the country… [F]or me, I think the most impactful memory is one that I share from all of my NITOC experiences. This is the ritual of meals in the cafeteria. … [T]he cafeteria was a place where we all came together and shared each other’s company. There, the focus was not on debate rounds as much as it was on fellowship and making connections. It represents the sense of community that I still feel with everyone who is involved with Stoa…”
Luke is currently a student at Belmont University, studying Philosophy of Religion. His goal is to attend graduate school, complete a Masters of Theological Studies and a PhD, and eventually become a professor.
He has always found theology particularly intriguing, even saying he thought in the past of becoming a pastor. But once he took a philosophy course, Luke realized his passion for philosophy. The final piece of the puzzle, he says, is that he uncovered a desire for teaching through an opportunity to coach at the Impact and Ambassador clubs in Tennessee: “Coaching debate has made me realize that I have a passion for teaching and helping others grow.”
Finally, Luke encourages and admonishes other alumni: “We have all been blessed with incredible opportunities through Stoa! We have learned how to Speak Boldly, now it is time for us to Change the World for Christ! The skills that we learned in Stoa are applicable to all aspects of our lives, and I would encourage all of us to hold onto those and continue to sharpen them. Continue to communicate well, because the world needs communication, the world needs love, and the world needs Christ. Let’s try to be the light of Christ in the world with the tools that we’ve been given.”