Coach Profile: Leah Busler

Ace Peak has brought on three new coaches this year. We want you to get to know them! Over these past three weeks, Drew and I sat down with Coaches Sam, Leah, and Jacob to ask them some questions.

Last week, we heard from Coach Jacob. This week, we’re sitting down with our speech, expert Leah Busler.

Drew: Of all the speeches you’ve given, which is your favorite?

“I’d have to say may favorite speech is a Duo Interpretation I did with my older sister in my Freshman year of high school. The piece was on the story behind the hymn It is Well With My Soul by Horatio Spafford. This piece was challenging, meaningful, and a lot of fun to practice and perform. At the beginning of the season, my sister and I were pressured to find another story since the central character was a male and would be difficult to perform realistically. On top of that, we were advised not to perform together since female-female duos often struggled being successful in our league. In spite of these suggestions, we decided to perform the piece anyway – meeting each challenge head on.

We spent countless hours writing and revising the script, blocking each scene, and fine-tuning the details of our acting. Throughout the season, my sister and I were able to witness the power of storytelling first-hand. We learned the importance of saying something that matters. In an event filled with comedy skits, we delivered a heart-wrenching tale. Judges and audience members thanked us for performing because they were so touched by the message.

This speech will always have a special place in my heart because it was my first national champion title. It was an honor to share the story of Horatio and Anna Spafford and I’ll never forget the lessons I learned, nor the skills I gained through the process.”

Joseph: What advice would you give your 12-year-old self?

“When you’re first starting out as a speech or debate student, competition can be a scary thing. I remember being petrified when I stood in front of a judge panel for the first time. I compared myself to other competitors. I told myself that I wasn’t smart enough; I wasn’t talented enough. And that I would never succeed at this “public speaking thing.” If this is you, remember that even the most polished competitors started in a place just like yours. The competitors you look up to acquired their titles through hard work and countless hours of practice.

Know that your competitive talents define neither your identity nor your value. Keep pushing yourself. Keep working, and never lose sight of who you are.”

Drew: What’s a subject you want to learn more about?

“Global communication fascinates me. Our recently interconnected world provides an unprecedented opportunity to reach people across different political, economic, social, religious, and geographical divides. This globalization offers the possibility to address social injustice on a broad scale through mass media and communication.

The complex, interconnected nature of modern society intrigues me. I seek to understand the social practices that reinforce discrimination, poverty, human trafficking, and unethical environmental practices and am excited to learn how to address these issues through communication theories and strategies. I am exploring these topics by studying public relations, intercultural studies, and digital media communication at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee.”

Joseph: Why do you coach debate?

“I coach because I desire to help students find and develop their voice. Throughout my years of competition, I realized that this activity was about so much more than my “success” in life. Although communicating clearly, thinking critically, and captivating an audience are admirable objectives, learning to communicate the truth with compassion and understanding is the highest goal. I aspire to meet each student where they’re at and direct them communicate persuasively and coherently to those with different backgrounds, experiences, and beliefs. To me, coaching is about so much more than a paycheck. I absolutely love getting to know each student and watching them grow.”

Leah works with speech students all around the country. If you want to master your IE’s, click here!