I was terrified of public speaking for most of my life. I wouldn’t get up and ask for extra water in a restaurant. I hated talking to people I didn’t know. I used to just hide and read books. In fifth grade I ran for class treasurer at Fallon Middle School, and my speech was whispered and quiet. I grew a little more confidence when I gave my fifth grade graduation speech.In seventh grade I my parents pushed me to give a short speech about why I liked writing and won my first award. That pushed me, and despite my lisp and fast pace, I joined my eighth grade competitive debate team. My team was ranked first in our school and we won several awards that year.That spurred me into joining Dublin High’s team. I was Vice President in tenth grade and have been elected Co-President for the next few school years. I've seen how public speaking can completely change a person's confidence in themself.As a leader of a debate and robotics team, and a prospective STEM major who's taken plenty of classes in mathematics and science at the high school and college level, I've seen firsthand how confidence with public speaking can help my peers and I in the classroom. I've also seen how fractured public speaking skills can lend themselves to a lack of cooperation and communication in teams where members don't know how to express themselves.I've seen incredibly skilled people lose opportunities due to communication mishaps, and I don't want that to happen to the generation after me. I've also seen how good cooperation can make a team successful against the odds, and that's something I hope to pass on. That's why I'm working on the Speak Square - to ensure that every kid has the ability to carve out a name for themselves, without setbacks they didn't anticipate.