Last night, my wife, a high school drama teacher, came home from work and told me of changes to the Sterling Scholar program about which she had just been informed. Apparently, the category for "speech and drama," which already splits focus between two disciplines as it is, has been expanded to also include "debate/forensics," and now "drama" has become "drama arts," pulling in technical theater and all of its complexities in addition to the acting/performing areas.
Apparently, a category that already seemed diluted with two areas needed a little more watering down. It would seem that students who want to succeed in this category would either need to prove exceptional proficiency in all three areas, or very proficient in one or two and near perfection in a third in order to compete at the highest levels. In my experience most students choose only one, sometimes two, areas in which to focus and then pursue those interests throughout the duration of their years in high school.
It is my opinion that these changes will do a disservice to many talented and deserving young performers, public speakers, and debaters, and require the judges to pick one winner from three types of talents.