Interview with Speech and Debate Star: Yoojin Han


Over the weekend, seniors Yoojin Han and Sebastian Javadpoor received the National Speech & Debate Association’s Academic All American Award. This award recognizes top competitive and service student point earners in the country. Not only are Yoojin and Sebastian top students, they were able to get recognized on a national level. I had the honor of interviewing Yoojin on her future endeavors, her journey of receiving this award, and her definitions of academic success.

Q: What does the National Speech and Debate Association’s Academic All American Award mean to you? What did you have to do to receive it, and what preparation went behind it?

A: This award is a milestone that I never thought I would be able to reach or even come close to reaching! I learned from the older debaters on our team by asking them for guidance and receiving feedback from them.  As for preparation, I prepped with my team after school and joined group calls to discuss different ideas. 

Q: How long have you been doing speech and debate? Why did you decide to do it in the first place? 

A: I joined as a sophomore, so I am just beginning my third season with the team. I decided to join the team because my friend, Shannon McKenna, told me that there was a mandatory class all novice and varsity competitors had to take. So, in hopes to be in the same class as her, I joined the team! 

Q: What is one life lesson you’ve learned from speech and debate? 

A: You should do what makes your heart race because it is in those exact vulnerable moments that you allow yourself to learn.

Q: What is one piece of advice you’d give a freshman starting out speech and debate this year?  

A: I don’t know if I am at all qualified enough to give advice; however, I would tell anyone who is starting out this year to enjoy the journey of ups and downs. You learn when you win and you learn when you lose. So, just have fun with it! 

Q: How would you define success or personal excellence? 

A: I believe that the most exhilarating, memorable moments in life always happen on the other side of doubt! So, I think that success is when you let go of doubt and fear to find deeper meanings in life and maintain reflective origins. 

Q; Who is your favorite teacher/ one teacher who you think contributed your award the most? 

A: Mr. Rumsey is one the most influential, uplifting people that I know. His insane kindness and sacrificial love is the key reason why our team functions in the first place. Without him, I don’t think I would have kept up with Speech and Debate. 

Q: How would you describe your high school experience? 

A: My senior year, just like everyone else in my grade, is everything but normal. I would describe my overall high school experience as silly and merry! 

Q: What are your plans after high school? 

A: I am not 100% certain on what I want to pursue currently. So, I am keeping my options open and wanting to try out different aspects before I jump into a major!

I was able to learn so much about the award that Yoojin received and everything that went into it. We hope that the Speech and Debate team performs well this weekend. Go Knights!