This month our alumni update features Branden Yeates, a Colorado native who was 14 years old when he competed at the 2010 inaugural National Invitational Tournament of Champions held in San Diego.
That was the first of five seasons of Stoa competition for Branden, during which he competed in LD and Parli Debate, as well as most speech events over the course of the years. His favorite events were LD and Extemporaneous. “I loved LD because we got to explore the great ideas of human civilization – justice, human rights, liberty, due process, prosperity – through the medium of debate and clash of values. It’s just brilliant!” Regarding Extemp, Branden explained that “The essence of Extemp is encapsulating a complex current events question into a seven-minute report for strangers. What a joyous challenge! Incorporating humor about the news to build interest and then sharing my thoughts on it was always an exhilarating experience.”
After graduating from high school, Branden headed to Oklahoma for his freshman year of college and then transferred to Colorado Christian University in the fall of 2015. During his college years, Branden competed in a variety of public speaking events including Ethics Bowl, IPDA, and Moot Court. He also played violin in collegiate ensembles and most recently was thrilled to have the opportunity to play in the pit orchestra for CCU’s 2018 theatrical production of Guys and Dolls.
Branden spent the Spring 2018 semester as a full-time intern at the Denver accounting office of Moss Adams LLP, and participated in CCU’s commencement ceremonies in May, graduating summa cum laude with a BA in Social Science and two BS degrees, in Business Administration and Accounting. He was recognized as the School of Business and Leadership’s Outstanding Senior and was also chosen to deliver the undergraduate commencement address, an honor he recognizes as having had its foundations laid during his years of competition in Stoa. He is currently back on CCU’s campus through December to complete the additional credits he needs for CPA licensure and will begin working as a staff auditor at Moss Adams’ Denver office this coming January. Branden hopes to obtain his CPA license by January 2020 and looks forward to serving the Lord through demonstrating excellence in the workplace, in relationships, and across all of life.
Branden reflects on his years in Stoa with joy and fondness: “Dozens of tournaments across numerous states, hundreds of rounds, and innumerable happy memories! I learned so much about critical thinking, research, writing, and persuasion during my years in Stoa, and made lifelong friendships with fellow Christians from across the country. I had the time of my life competing in Stoa, and I am so grateful to Stoa’s leaders and volunteers for making our dream of homeschool speech and debate such an incredible reality. It was, and remains, one of the greatest opportunities for preparing homeschooled students to accomplish their God-given destinies.”