Stoa alumnus Nicholas Kjeldgaard grew up in Oakdale in California's Central Valley. He competed in NCFCA and then Stoa with Modesto Debate and Covenant Speech clubs during the 2009-2011 seasons. During his Stoa career, Nicholas competed in Team Policy Debate and a variety of limited preparation speeches, including Extemporaneous, Impromptu, and Apologetics. On the debate side, Nicholas enjoyed showcasing one of the first Parliamentary Debate rounds to the Stoa community. Nicholas attended the inaugural 2010 National Invitational Tournament of Champions (NITOC), as well as the 2011 NITOC.
After high school, Nicholas took a gap year to attend a video journalism program based in Hawaii before heading to the field in Jordan and Israel. At that point in 2013, the Syrian crisis was starting to garner some worldwide attention, but the crisis had not yet been noticed by most Americans. He describes a pivotal moment on his trip, “I remember sitting on the steps of a market in Tel Aviv and decided that if people in the U.S. couldn't see the faces of the refugees I was working with, they would never know what was going on around the world. That’s how I made my decision to become a journalist.”
Nicholas then attended Point Loma Nazarene University where he continued his debate career for four successful years and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Broadcast Journalism in 2017. He currently works as a producer for NBC 7 in San Diego where he enjoys being a part of an Emmy Award-winning news team. Nicholas produces the morning news shows as well as gearing up technical and behind-the-scenes work for local, state, and federal elections in 2020 as the station’s pre-election producer.
Starting next year, he will become the producer for the NBC 7 Responds team where he will work to report individual stories of people in the San Diego area, bringing issues with local companies or government agencies to the attention of the community at large. Looking ahead, Nicholas hopes to continue educating others about local communities and telling stories people otherwise may not have known, explaining, “In recent years, I have seen a growing distrust of journalists, which I feel is not usually based on fact. I hope to continue to tell the stories of our communities well and in a way that everyone can learn from.”
Nicholas describes Stoa’s impact on his life as incredibly helpful in training him to think on his feet and hold up well under pressure. He notes, “I’m so grateful to my parents for finding speech and debate, and to have had incredible teachers in the Winthers and other parents and alumni. I would not be where I am today without the skills I learned in speech and debate.”