Meet JD Deutsch

Jacob “JD” Deutsch graduated from Kishwaukee College a year ago and transferred to Eastern Michigan University. Little did the Naperville native know that his speech and debate skills would help power EMU to the state Speech and Debate championship and to JD himself earning the title of State Champion in Parliamentary Debate in Michigan. “Just to have an opportunity to compete on this level with this caliber of a team is an honor,” he said. “That my success helped to lead EMU to be crowned the best team in Michigan was maybe even more of an honor than my own individual success. And honestly I couldn't have gotten here without Chase and Kacy, my coaches at Kish.”

JD Deutsch

JD came to Kishwaukee like many students, looking to find direction after a not-so-great first year at a university. “I originally went to to Northern Illinois University for music performance. I had applied to other schools for astrophysics as well,” he stated. “I didn’t find anything there that I was passionate about which led me to not do well in school. Going to Kish was really my way of trying to seek redemption and hopefully find something I was stellar in.”

His first class was COMS 100 with instructor and Assistant Director of Speech and Debate Kacy Abeln. He recalled, “After my first speech in class, she pulled me aside and told me I had potential. Later in the semester, I went to the Kish speech team’s showcase at the end of the year. I was instantly hooked. The rest is history.”

At Kishwaukee, JD found his strongest events in the Speech and Debate arena: Limited Preparation and Debate. Limited Prep events are exactly what they sound like. The students receive a quick prompt -  like a quotation -  at the competition and have a few minutes to prepare a five-minute speech (“Impromptu”) or are given a topic and a half hour to prepare a seven-minute speech with six source citations (“Extemporaneous”).  His sophomore year at Kishwaukee and first year on the Speech and Debate team, JD finished third in the nation in Extemp, fourth in Impromptu, and was National Champion in Impromptu Sales.  He also took the Bronze Medal in IPDA (International Public Debate Association or solo debate) at Phi Rho Pi Community College National Tournament.

EMU noticed. JD said, “I received a very nice scholarship package specifically for forensics (aka,  Speech and Debate) from Eastern Michigan. These are highly competitive because EMU gets students transferring from coast to coast just to do forensics.  It's been an amazing asset that truly helped me to continue my education.  I never could have afforded the out of state tuition without forensics.”

Providing a scholarship gave EMU, a Speech and Debate powerhouse, an additional member for their team at the state level.  JD was named Michigan State Champion in Parliamentary Debate which helped the university team win not only debate, but the overall sweepstakes for the Michigan State Tournament. 

The scholarship and the accolades as a Michigan State Champion are wonderful accomplishments, but finding Speech and Debate at Kishwaukee College had a greater, more enduring impact on JD.

“When I came to Kish I had a 1.7 GPA,” he explained. “In my first year at EMU, I earned a 3.77 GPA and was named to the Dean’s List both semesters. I attribute almost all of my success to things Chase [Budziak, Director of Speech and Debate] and Kacy taught me at Kishwaukee. They were the first educators in my career to really sit me down and tell me I had potential, not only in forensics but also in academics. Since then, I have learned self-confidence and developed a strong work ethic and have just grown as a student and person.”

JD will return to EMU next year, the reigning state champ in Parliamentary Debate. What does his future hold, long-term? “I intend to go to graduate school for communications in hopes of becoming a coach like  Chase and Kacy,” JD stated. “If I end up having even half the influence on a student’s life as they did on mine, then I would consider myself a success.”


Photo Caption: Kishwaukee College alum JD Deutsch transferred to Eastern Michigan University in Fall 2015 on a Forensics (Speech and Debate) Scholarship. This spring he was named State Champion in Michigan in Parliamentary Debate and the EMU team was named the overall State Champions. Pictured are members of the championship EMU team; JD is standing on the far right.