How do national and international political and social issues affect our local communities? How do local issues influence national debates? How can our words speak to these issues and challenge our audience to think, feel, and act? These questions will inform our exploration of writing and public speaking this semester. We will focus on strengthening our written and spoken voices, writing four formal essays in a variety of genres (as well as giving at least one oral presentation), revising each as we work through multiple drafts. Reading published essays will help us consider different approaches and styles. A final research project will draw on skills we have developed all semester, culminating in a product that will be presented to a broader audience in a format of each student’s choice.