This is not your average speech and debate program.

Young Leaders and Critical Thinkers in the Modern World

What sets apart the leaders and innovators of society from everyone else? 

What are the qualities and skills that make today’s students into tomorrow’s world-changers and difference-makers?

Here at Olive, we strive to prepare today's students to be tomorrow's leaders and innovators, and to inspire the young people from all walks of life to be individuals of integrity and character, who uphold intellectual excellence and rational thought, and who are citizens of the world who seek to make our community a better place. 

What's so special about the classes being offered?

It's simple - we focus on education of the whole person. What makes an individual successful is not just grades and test scores. Central to our mission at Olive is inspiring young people to be people of character, and to reach higher and think bigger than they ever thought possible. 

How do I find out more?

Email the course instructor at and/or leave your information at the button below!

What's the difference between these and other public speaking or writing courses?

We teach kids to THINK, not to simply regurgitate facts or fit into a mold. Moreover, we encourage students to be confident, active leaders rather than passive followers.

Two course offerings...

Critical Reading, Rational Thinking, Creative Writing

Experts agree that the early teenage years can be a tumultuous time - but also a time for tremendous growth in the ability to think rationally and about abstract concepts, and to apply logic and cultivate creativity in everyday situations. This course is designed to do just that. Language, whether in written or verbal form, has the power to communicate - and the art of communicating effectively is foundational to success in any discipline. The goal of the course is to build skills in reading for substance, thinking with logic, and writing with confidence.

Course Outline:

  1. Critical Reading: The course is structured to bring life to classical texts that have been foundational in shaping modern thought. We focus on literary works by Plato, G.K. Chesterton, and C.S. Lewis, and we spend part of each class period in discussion about genre, context, logic, and interpretation of complex concepts that provoke students to deeper appreciation of the text.

  2. Rational Thinking: The ability to read, think, and communicate logically; this portion of the class will work through Ali Almossawi’s book, An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments. (Almossawi is a principal engineer at Apple and has written extensively on rational thought). Emphasis will be placed on understanding the structure of rational arguments and of logical explanations, as well as on common logical fallacies, how to identify them, and how to avoid them.

  3. Creative Writing: The written expression of ideas can be a powerful way to convey thought, and this skill is applicable across all disciplines. This is taught through several avenues: Vocabulary exercises: the course will train students not only how to define sophisticated words, but also how to most appropriately use them to communicate effectively.

Saturdays, 9:15 AM - 10:30 AM

February 1 - June 6, 2020 (16 wks)

Classes held at 43505 Mission Blvd. (Berkeley Academy)

Youth Leadership
& Public Speaking

Leadership and communication go hand-in-hand. Good leaders must communicate well in order to lead well. Students learn both the skills for effective and professional public speaking in a variety of contexts, while learning about and building up the character traits that make for effective leaders. This is a project-based class; students end by applying these skills in real-world situation: finding a problem in society that they are passionate about, and not only learning how to think of an effective solution, but also how to put one into action.  

Course Outline:

  1. Public Speaking: One of the main components of this course focuses on the art and science of speech.

    1. Context-based public speaking: students learn how to speak with confidence and composure in a variety of contexts: technical, persuasive, creative, etc,

    2. Content: a good speech or talk can only be as good as the substance on which it is based. We teach students how to obtain, organize, and present information for speech in the public circle.

    3. Visual Aids: Students are trained how to maximize the usage of visual aids (props, PowerPoint slides, or posters / figures.)

  2. Five Qualities of Leadership: We teach students the five central components of effective leadership: (1) Model the way; (2) Inspire a Shared Vision; (3) Challenge the Process; (4) Enable others to Act; (5) Encourage the Heart:

  3. Project-Based Learning: Students spend their final module in the course applying the skills learned in the first four modules towards designing, planning, and preparing a presentation about an original project idea that has philanthropic, social, or societal significance. These projects are aimed at moving students to think about problems, big and small, in the everyday world, and how the next generation of young leaders may rise to the task of solving these problems.

Saturdays, 10:30 AM - 11:45 AM

February 1 - June 6, 2020 (16 wks)

Classes held at 43505 Mission Blvd. (Berkeley Academy)


Course Dates: February 1 - June 6, 2020

Tuition: $495 for one course, $795 for dual enrollment

Instructor: Edward Njoo, Stanford