My daughter, Katie is one of the most interesting people I know. She also happens to be one of the most loving and accepting ones. Katie comes along side the underdogs and encourages them to not lose heart. Once Katie is your friend, you have a friend for life.
I would like to share a little bit of Katie's journey recently. A number of her friends are from the NCFCA (the competitive forensics league that all 3 of my children compete in) and Katie's response to the latest results are a testimony to who she is as a person.
In May of 2005, Katie was one of the masters of ceremonies for FUSION speech and debate club's National Rehearsal. We invited people and it was standing room only. I pretty much told Katie that she had to do it and being obedient, she did, knees knocking and voice quivering. She did a pretty good job but she would have rather been taking pictures at that point in time. Katie is what mothers in the forensics community call, "my reluctant speaker."
The following fall Katie attended a Communicators for Christ conference, partnered with a young man from NH and competed with some speeches for the 2006 competitive speech and debate season with FUSION in SW Florida. It was not an easy season, afterall her mother made her do Impromptu. The point is Katie was willing to walk through her fear and learn better how to communicate. My reluctant speaker stepped out of her comfort zone and began to take the public platform. Something happened to Katie during that year. She realized that she could be an effective public speaker, but it wasn't until this season that she really blossomed in the place she had been planted, a place of leadership.
Our extended stay here in Gainesville gave Katie an opportunity to become a student leader along side her brother and sister in both speech and debate. Needless to say, her impromptu skills have been sharpened through coaching throughout the season. More importantly, Katie related to her fellow competitors especially being able to encourage them to walk through their fears because she had not only walked through her own but found out the joy of taking the public platform.
As we came into the home stretch of this competitive season, I for one thought Katie was well on her way to the National Competition, she had a good tournament season qualifying for debate and her 3 speeches for the Regional tournament. The Lord always has a better plan. It was not immediately evident to me, since I was helping run the tournament but a dear friend of mine each time she saw me on the last day reminded me that Katie was the biggest winner. It did not hit me until the next day.
Katie was the biggest winner because she made sacrifices and became a coach and friend to many here in Gainesville. She gave up debating with one of the best debaters in our Region (her sister) in order to partner with someone new and think of others before herself. Katie still put her all into debating and competed with excellence but the outcome was not what we expected. However, Katie held her head high and stayed right in the race by timing and serving at the tournament.
I started this post talking about Katie being a great friend of those who might otherwise want to stay on the sidelines. Time and time again, I have witnessed her rescue someone from themselves and help them become a part of the group, the party and the club. Katie is gifted with the ability to draw others out of their shells and at the same time preserve the new friend's spirit while gently breaking through their timidity. I am not the only one who has noticed this trait in K. Nearly a year ago, Katie's good friend Mallory Phillips at the Tallahassee CFC in August decided to start "The Official Katie Mullaney Fan Club" and I would say that I am at the top of the list. Katie knows how to give of herself and consider others better than herself. If you are interested in becoming a member of the club please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will forward it on to Mallory.
I love you Katie M. Mullaney and I am very proud of you. Mum