Hello, everyone! My name is Christopher Maximos, and I’m extremely excited to be NJ Arts Ed NJ’s new (and best) communications intern! I currently attend Delbarton School in Morristown, where I’ll be a senior this fall. At Delbarton, I participate in a variety of academic, political, and journalistic extracurriculars, but my central focus has been the arts. My experience in the arts dates back to my early childhood, when I wanted to be a Broadway actor: I would compel my parents and neighbors to watch long shows of me singing, dancing, and acting. Unfortunately, I was not a triple threat, and my passion for theater quickly manifested into a love for speech and debate. Over the past six years, I’ve competed at the national level in a variety of public speaking competitions, winning national titles and developing a stronger sense of confidence, argumentation, and presence. Now, as I prepare for the next chapter of my academic career, I’ve taken great steps to coach the younger members of our school’s team and have founded both my own podcast, Extempolitik, and my own educational initiative, teachspeech, to offer free, youth-centered curricular resources in public speaking. In my sophomore year, I was lucky enough to win my first Governor’s Award in Arts Education for my state championship in impromptu speaking. As I stood, surrounded by the states most talented artists, I finally grasped the importance of the arts advocacy organizations such as Arts Ed NJ, devoted arts teachers, and in the case of public speaking, the New Jersey Speech & Debate League. Every student, in the pursuit of a balanced education, should have the opportunity to learn and master an artistic discipline. My devotion in speech & debate has taught me to be a better student, but more importantly, a better person. I hope that in working with Arts Ed NJ, we can mobilize this amazing network of scholars, educators, and patrons to afford every student the opportunity to amplify their artistic voice.