Rainmaker Alumnus

 “sierra_mcclainDuring my senior year of high school, I joined the NCFCA – one of the best decisions I’ve made. Living more than two hours south of  the nearest club, my brother and I made the long trek to Portland many times for practice debate rounds. People thought we were  crazy. Maybe we were. But I have no regrets and I would do it all again if I had a second chance. Why?
Before immersing myself in speech and debate, I was a quiet, shy girl – so petrified of public speaking that on one occasion I literally  cried in front of an audience. The NCFCA changed me in a lasting and essential way. I took away so much from competing. No, I’m not  talking about the medals and certificates; I took away a much greater award: the victory over my fears. Time after time, I was pushed  outside my comfort zone – challenged to research, think logically, defend my position, ask good questions, and speak in a winsome,  persuasive way.
But high school was not the end of the story. In fact, you might say it was just Chapter One. Over the next few years, I was asked to be  the keynote speaker on various topics across the nation – in middle and high schools, colleges and universities, at rallies, in churches  and Bible studies, at banquets, auctions, conferences, apologetics training sessions, evangelism events, fundraisers, and even in the  Oregon Legislature. Outside of formal events, I’ve used the skills I learned in the NCFCA to share the gospel, proclaim the pro-life message, fight human  trafficking, and even initiate better conversations with people.
I’m not fearless; I just don’t let my fears control me any longer. The NCFCA taught me a lesson I will always treasure – life really  begins when I abandon my comfort zone.”
Sierra McClain
July 2014


IMG_3183“My beginning in the NCFCA was not a happy one. I wanted nothing to do with the league, and I was dragged almost literally kicking and screaming to my first debate club meeting. I planned on disliking it as much as possible, not working on it any more than I had to, and never going to more than one tournament. However, God had a different plan, and led me down an incredible path. Over the next three years of competition, I would succeed in every area. By that I don’t mean I would win everything, but instead that I would win what counts: wisdom.
What I came to realize through my NCFCA career was a simple, yet hard to understand concept. The reason I was there was not to win, to be first, or further any personal agenda, but to learn and to glorify my Savior through my interactions. To be clear, I gained so much more from the NCFCA. I am friends with an incredible group of people now, and I’ve learned an enormous amount about government, politics, values, people, public speaking, and myself. The environment forced me to come to terms with winning humbly and losing gracefully. But what I realized was that perspective makes everything what it is. I learned that my perspective can’t be short term and self-centered, but must be long term and God-centered.
The NCFCA combines good peer pressure with competition to encourage students to want to learn. This is precisely what happened to me, and because of it I was able to grow spiritually and mentally. In stark contrast to my misgivings three years ago, I now love the league. It’s facilitated my grasping that simple, yet hard to understand truth. My goal shouldn’t be to win; my goal should be to succeed.”
Benjamin Bonifield
May 2014


“We have had children in speech and debate for 17 years. It has been one of the most loved and fruitful learning experiences of our children’s lives. Besides preparing them for college and their professional careers, it has provided long- term friendships. A friend once said that competition is a way to trick us to do our best. I am convinced our children left our homes far better communicators than any speech course I could have given them at home. The tournaments the young people participate in are highly professional giving them yet another sphere in which they can develop. Having worked with those who have served as community judges, I have often heard it said, ‘This gives me hope for the future.’ I highly recommend NCFCA Speech and Debate!”
A homeschool mom of nine
April 2014