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Alumni Testimonials


Steven Elliott is a 2010 graduate of Lakeville North High School, where he competed on the Speech Team for four years. In his senior year, he placed fourth at the NFL National tournament in International Extemporaneous Speaking. He graduated in May 2013 from American University's prestigious School of International Studies:


My success in speech not only helped me get scholarships to attend college, but also aided  tremendously in getting jobs and internships. I never felt uncomfortable in an interview because I treated it as a unique form of public speaking—something I knew I was good at. Without speech, I would not have been able to afford college, nor would I have gotten the opportunity to intern at two major lobbying firms in Washington, DC. Without speech, I would never have received an opportunity to study at the London School of Economics, and would not have been able to volunteer at the 2012 Olympic Games. I would not have been offered fellowships at several of the nation’s top graduate schools. I could not have even dreamed of having these opportunities because I would have lacked the research skills needed to write my college papers, the speaking talent necessary to “wow” professors and employers, and the drive and passion for success that I gained during my four years on the Lakeville North Speech Team. I owe the coaching staff of the Lakeville North Speech Team an enormous debt of gratitude for transforming an awkward, pudgy 9th grader into an accomplished speaker who was comfortable presenting his ideas in front of a Nobel Prize winner for a course this summer. 



Peter Zhou is a 2004 graduate of Lakeville High School, where he competed on the Speech Team for three years.  He went on to graduate from Harvard University in 2007, and he is currently a Managing Director at an investment firm in New York:


The confidence and composure I developed through 3 years of high school Speech have been crucial to my career as an investor. My days are often packed with meeting new companies, attending conferences, and pitching ideas. I can't make it through even a single work day without using what I learned in Speech. In my industry, you could be the smartest guy and know everything about every company yet still fail because of poor speaking skills - knowledge is worthless if you can't effectively communicate.



Travis Rother is a 2000 graduate of Lakeville High School, where he competed on the Speech Team for four years. After graduating from St. Olaf College in 2004, he went on to begin a career in teaching and coaching speech at Chaska High School and later Chanhassen High School when it opened:


To say that Lakeville Speech changed my life would be a cliché, but it is incredibly fitting. The relationships that developed with my coaches and teammates are bonds that will never be broken…I am just full of clichés. My coaches became mentors, wrote recommendations that helped me get into my 1st choice in college, and now they are my colleagues. I didn’t know what I wanted when I joined the Lakeville Speech Team (I think I had dreams of winning  awards), but the rewards for being on the team have resulted in a career and life that I would never change. Currently I am a teacher and Head Speech Coach at Chanhassen High School. Lakeville Speech may be some of our biggest competition, but I always cheer for the LNHS team to have success! The communication skills you learn from being on the team are great! However, the true lessons in perseverance, teamwork, dedication, and pride are skills that will help you in ANY walk of life.



If you're an alumnus of our program and would like to submit your own testimonial, please email us at

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