Testimonials

Summer Speech Institute

"The Two Summers I spent at GAC-SSI were among the best two weeks of my life. Experiences shared between me, coaches, current Gusties, and other students not only helped advance my forensics career, but was a thoroughly enjoyable time. Getting a chance to work with and see performances of some of the best college forensicators in the nation was the best perk of the camp. Without GAC-SSI, I would have not achieved the success of breaking to main event out-rounds at the NCFL (National Catholic Forensics League) and NFL (National Forensics League) tournaments and becoming a national champion in a supplementary event at the NIETOC (National Individual Events Tournament of Champions). Achieved was not only the direct success in competition, but the prolonged success I have now in the ability to research, find pieces, and communicate."

Jackson Mattek,
Salina Central High School, Salina, KS
2011 NIETOC National Prose Champion

"I trust GAC-SSI. I trust that the students will have an experience that is fun but also worth every penny. I also trust that students will return home with an excellent speech. I trust that they will work with some of the most experienced high school coaches in the Midwest. And this is an important point: I appreciate the many high school coaches that are hired by the camp. Not all camps make the effort to hire experienced high school coaches. This sets GAC-SSI apart."

Rick Purrington
Head Coach, Marshall High School, MN

"When I stepped onto the Gustavus campus for the institute, I could instantly feel excitement and energy from each one of the staff members. The individual attention that I got from the coaches was the best coaching that I have received. The institute overall has taught me many skills that will help me not only in my speech season, but also in other aspects of my life. I learned not only how to craft a well-written speech, but also how to be a leader for my high school speech team and to achieve excellence. I would advise anyone to attend this institute. I have gone for three consecutive years, and I have loved every year that I have gone."

Adrienne Gruenes
Eden Valley-Watkins High School, MN

"Walt Disney once called his Disneyland Theme Park the 'happiest place on earth.'' For me, my "happiest place on earth" would absolutely be GACSSI! This institute challenged me to dig deeper and work harder than I ever had before in forensics. The coaching staff encouraged me to break the glass ceiling and try new things I had never thought possible. By the end of the week, I had found an even stronger passion for forensics, but most importantly, I renewed my commitment to excellence."

Brianna Drevlow
Lincoln High School, MN

“GAC-SSI is all about results. I sent four kids to Gustavus and three qualified for State. Kris and his staff focus on fundamentals and work ethic while teaching kids how to take personal pride in everything they do. The result? The kids came home exhausted but had a burning desire to succeed focusing on their basic skills. They learned that anyone can be a state contender if they set their mind to it, that the difference between a champion and any other speaker is how hard they are willing to work, how often they are willing to revise, and a constant desire to continue the process of improvement. But the best part is that the Summer Speech Institute reminds kids that these lessons apply everywhere in life, not just in speech. Its some of the best money I’ve ever spent!”

Joe Drevlow
Parent

"We have sent about 20 students to GAC-SSI since its founding. They have ranged from incoming eigth graders to seniors. In all cases, my students have received a huge gain from the camp. On the highest end, the camp helped to produce some of my finest speech students. These students found their stride at GAC-SSI and went on to compete for national championships. Our students attend a variety of summer camps but the truth is that in GAC-SSI, we have found an inexpensive, Upper Midwest camp that provides a unique motivational experience to excel in high school competitive speech."

Harry Strong, Director of Forensics
Des Moines Roosevelt High School

"Since many members of my family are Gustie Alums, I was already seriously looking at Gustavus for college. However, when i kept hearing news about the Forensic Team's competitive success, GAC quickly skyrocketed to the top of my list. The summer after my sophomore year of high school I decided to attend the institute and couldn't have made a better decision. Although it was an eight hour drive with my parents, it opened my limited world of speech to new people and, possibly even more importantly, opportunities to continue my "speech career" into college. Throughout the week I became more comfortable on the Gustavus campus, and with the collegiate competitors. After the week was over I had not only succeeded in making life long friends, collected some valuable tools to assist my forensics performance, and fell head over heels in love with Gustavus. From that point on I maintained contact with some of the team members and gleefully ran back to the hill as soon as camp started the next summer. Thus my senior year began and I couldn't wait to be back in Minnesota and competing for a program that I had grown to love from two states away. Through working with the Gustavus students, coaches, and other competitors I honed my performance techniques, but the institute re-instilled a passion for forensics. Now as a second year member of the Gustavus team, I continually find inspiration in my teammates and cannot possibly imagine my experiences in college without this amazing activity."

Kesley Abele
2008 & 2009 GAC-SSI Alumn
Gustavus Sophomore
Kansas City, MO

"I have spent three summers at GAC-SSI. The first time as an incoming Freshman with little experience. The second time as a student eager to breakthrough to the next level. And the third time as an upper-classmen ready to perfect my skills. Every summer I got exactly the coaching I needed. GAC-SSI is unique because the curriculum is so personalized. There wasn't a moment where I wasn't engaged in something that was making me a better speaker. I always got the feeling that the coaches were personally invested in my success. This created a safe environment where I could ask questions, experiment with different styles and receive a variety of opinions. All of this gave me the confidence to walk into the first round, and every round, of the season and own the room!"

Lily Nellans
Des Moines Roosevelt High School, IA
Extemp TOC National Champion
NCFL International Extemp National Champion
Third place at NFL National Tournament, International Extemp

"My experience at GAC-SSI was one that I will NEVER forget. If I could relive a week of my life, it would definitely be the week I had at Gustavus this past summer. I went to GAC-SSI with a love for speech, but I left with a passion for it. GAC-SSI has taught me how to not only become a better competitor, but also how to become a better person. The instruction I received at the camp not only challenged me, but made me want to become the best. If I would ever want to devote a week of my summer to intensively prepare for speech, I would go to GAC-SSI. The coaches are the best in the nation, and they gave me the one-on-one attention I wanted to receive. The learning atmosphere that the Gusties and the instructors create is unparalleled to anything I have ever experienced. I have gained more confidence in myself, and in my abilities as a speaker because of this outstanding experience! If anyone wants the opportunity to spend a week, devoting it to speech, with people who are as passionate about it as you are, look no further that GAC-SSI. You won't regret it. I know I didn't!"

Kellen Andersen
Paynesville Area High School
2012 GAC-SSI Oral Interpretation Tournament Champion