Lumos Debate Instructor Credits Experience for Acceptance to Harvard

Annie and Eliza are two Lumos instructors now at Harvard. They both say public speaking is a critical component of their success.
March 12, 2019

Throughout her six years at Boston Latin School, Annie Miall researched, wrote cases, and debated in tournaments. During her last summer in high school, she was an instructor for students at Lumos Debate Camp.

Now, she is a freshman student at Harvard University.

Always optimistic and smiley, she talks about how crucial debate has been to the foundation of herself as a student and overall individual.

“I think debate is super important because not only does it teach you speaking skills and ways to communicate, it also teaches you a lot about the world and what’s going on in the world today.” Miall said. “It is also a really great way for you to learn how to research and write cases as well.”

These skills not only brought home first-place trophies, but they have furthered her success in college as well.

“I feel like debate really encapsulates a ton of skills that you wouldn’t learn in a classroom,” she said. “So, just being able to listen to people and think creatively, and also talk to people--it’s all very hard to learn unless you join debate.”

Annie says that for one club she applied to, the interview process included an on-the-spot analysis of a problem and a presentation section in which the applicant was expected to pose creative, resourceful solutions. Without debate, she wouldn’t have had the mindset to tackle this challenge with confidence.

“I feel like learning writing skills is also important for classes and research papers as well. For Harvard specifically, we need to interview a lot for clubs because our clubs here have application processes.”

“I think debate really does make you smarter in a way. I think that’s true because it allows you to predict what other people are going to say and then you have to think ahead and how to refute it. Also, being able to think of different ways to answer, in an argument, even when you’re losing and having the confidence to continue arguing when you know that you’re getting some really strong points said against you.”

Currently studying Pre-Med on her way to becoming a doctor, Miall says that she can tell a lot of her classmates at Harvard have participated in some form of debate or public speaking.

Her one regret is not dedicating more of her time to debate in high school, since she credits a her work ethic and ambition as a Pre-Med student to the skills she learned through the activity.

In her opinion, Lumos is “a great introduction to debate in high school and to understand more about debate in general.”

“I feel like debate is always about putting in a lot of work,” Miall said. “You basically do as well as the work that you put into it. And so I feel like it had taught me how to dedicate myself to studying and working hard and those are definitely qualities that doctors should possess.”

As for her time at Lumos, she fondly recalled her students in the summer of 2017.

“The kids are so nice,” she said. “I adore them, and you can tell that they really appreciate you too. They’re just so cute, and they impressed me so much. What I thought would be hard for even someone my age, they do it so well.”

She says that she was extremely impressed with the progress she saw students make in writing cases and then debating them in front of audiences. She still follows some students on Instagram!