Alum Goes Far Performing in Theater and Debate | Philip D. MacKenzie

I started at Keystone as a wee one in Pre-Kindergarten. And I loved it – what a great experience – from grocery days to planting in the garden to music lessons and so many opportunities for “free expression.” I was fortunate to be cast in many plays at Keystone, from the singing and dancing in “The Wizard of Oz” to Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” – and I truly think that’s what set me on the path towards TSTDC at Desert Vista High School.

I have always loved making people laugh and performing for others – and TSTDC (Thunder Speech Theater and Debate Company) at Desert Vista makes acting, speech and debate the easiest and the most entertaining way I’ve found since starting high school to achieve not only that level of fun, but heavy competition and exposure to so many kids who are very funny and talented.

In addition to all the fun I am having as a third-year member of TSTDC, I have learned a lot and earned a lot too. My humor speech pieces have received recognition at local and state tournaments and the big kahuna of all … the National Forensic League National Speech and Debate Tournament, held in Birmingham, Alabama this past June.

Receiving an invite to Nationals and heading to Alabama this summer was an extremely rewarding experience. Seeing the outcome of hours and hours of hard work, culminating in this one tournament was thrilling and exciting and inspiring. I learned a lot about a lot — and not just how oyster soup tastes — but how perseverance when applied to something you love doing is very gratifying. I was thrilled to place in the top 100 in the Nation for Speech.

The tenacity and heart that was evident in every competitor fueled me to want to do even better this coming year – and I’m looking forward to an awesome 2013-14 competing as part of TSTDC!

None of these experiences could have been achieved without the starting point I had at Keystone growing up. Being there made me want to learn and get better. I highly encourage all Keystone kids to check out TSTDC when they get to Desert Vista – I won’t be hard to find – my “Phil-nastic” mug is all over the place!