Sora Journal

Student Showcase: Extracurricular Feature

By Sora Schools

At Sora, we have many exciting student life opportunities, including Extracurricular programming. In January 2024, we launched Debate and Drama Extracurriculars for middle and high school students, in addition to our flagship extracurricular, high school esports. 

At the 2024 Student Showcase, Alan Parish, Dean of Students and Director of Auxiliary Programs, introduced our three Extracurricular programs, Debate, Drama, and High School Esports, and each group provided an overview of their offerings and the student experience.

Debate

Hannah Nunley coaches our Debate program. Hannah has been involved in the debate community for over a decade. During her professional time with debate, she helped lead the Wimberley High School debate team and coaches individual students all over the state of Texas. 

“Debate is genuinely one of the most fun things I’ve done in my life, whether winning or losing. I was excited to coach the Sora students, who are amazing,” said Hannah. She introduced students who shared about their experience in the Debate Extracurricular:

  • Hattie Rose: “At first I was intimidated but it was very exciting. Hannah has encouraged me to learn more and more about debate and all the topics we discussed.”
  • Mya: “We do Lincoln Douglass debates. Every month we get a topic and get paired up and every Monday we do a debate.”
  • Max: “When I first joined Debate, I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to keep up or wouldn’t do a great job on my arguments. Once I started working with Hannah, I was confident I could win my debates and have fun.”
  • Nandi: “Debate builds your collaborative skills, communication skills, and confidence. You learn different topics and see different perspectives.”
  • Brooke: “One of my biggest takeaways is being able to speak publicly. I joined such an accepting community and we were all there to learn and new at debate.”

High School Esports

The competitive esports team plays League of Legends and Valorant, coached by Karlin Oei from Ekuso Esports. Karlin is a retired professional Esports pro who won over $80,000 in Esports scholarships, placed top 8 in the nation in Collegiate League of Legends, and was the varsity team captain and founding member of the Varsity Esports program at The University of Texas at Dallas.

“Esports is competitive video games on a team base,” said Karlin. “It’s not all competition."

“A lot of people say you can’t apply gaming to other parts of your life but I apply it to so many areas of my life, like figure skating,” said Brody, a high school student. “I’m able to take a step back and understand the dynamic with my teammates.”

“We are all really close and it’s a nice and inviting community,” said Emma, team captain. “You can always message someone and they’ll respond. I have social anxiety and joining Sora and esports was scary, but I feel very welcomed.” 

The team showed videos and photos from in-person tournaments they have participated in over the past few years, highlighting teamwork, family involvement, and leadership. 

“I am on the Valorant team,” said Raven. “We work on improving our skills and strategies. We also participate in tournaments and competitions throughout the year to showcase our talents and represent our school. Our team has a strong sense of respect and teamwork, making it a great environment for all of us to grow as individuals.” 

Drama

Lawrence Stallings is the Drama Extracurricular coach. Lawrence is a Broadway, television, and film actor who currently lives in New York. While his 15+ year career has yielded many credits, his passion has always been creating roles from the ground up, and he has been fortunate enough to do so in two Broadway productions and two one-man shows. When Lawrence is not acting, he is writing, producing, and coaching.

“It’s been cool to have a hybrid experience with building blocks of what it means to tell a story, some improv, some scene study, and now students are working on monologues,” said Lawrence. “I’ve just seen them grow and I’m really proud of all of them.” 

Lawrence asked everyone in attendance to submit a fictional news story topic in the chat and selected one for an improv presentation called “Breaking News” from Drama Extracurricular students Jack (anchor), Anjali (anchor), Brooke (field reporter), Grace (weather person), and Bella Rose (interviewee). 

The selected topic was “Peanut Butter Volcano Eruption and peanut butter lava is flowing all over the United States.” Enjoy the video of their presentation below.

If you want to learn more about the Drama Extracurricular, please see this article about the program and student experience as well as the Sora Journal Podcast, which features another improv performance at 24:57.