Academy News

Fall 2013 Speech Class Begins

posted Sep 1, 2013, 7:31 PM by web admin

Today was the first lesson of the Fall 2013 Future Leader Academy Public Speaking Class. This kicks off the third year of Future Leader Academy classes.

Allen J. gave a speech advocating against teen violence, Hayley presented an excerpt of Conan O'Brien's 2011 Dartmouth College commencement address, Allen X. gave a speech supporting Puerto Rico's bid for U.S. statehood, and Anthony discussed the dangers of debris flow. Afterwards, the students evaluated each other's presentations and gave suggestions for how to improve their delivery and content, after which instructor Colby also gave feedback to the students. In the final section of the class, students presented short 2-minute speeches in response to impromptu topics including high school, the Internet, and the question of intervention in Syria.

Next week's class theme will be "How to Sell Something." Students will prepare presentations that are focused on selling a particular item, service, or idea.

This year, FLA is introducing new private lessons for students who are interested. This is an opportunity for students to receive more personal feedback on their speeches and to practice with specific guidance. Private lessons will be held virtually over video conference separate from the group lessons, which will continue on Sundays from 1:15-3:00pm at the original tuition of $20/class ($17/class if committing for entire semester).

MIT Graduate Tim Zheng Gives College and Career Seminar

posted Nov 28, 2011, 9:18 PM by Colby Ye   [ updated Dec 4, 2011, 6:37 PM by web admin ]


This past Sunday, after the student presentations, MIT graduate and Braingenie founder Tim Zheng gave a seminar discussing success strategies for college applications and entrepreneurship.

Tim Zheng graduated from MIT this spring, where he studied Math, Finance, and Computer Science. He has worked at notable investment and consulting firms such as Citadel, Goldman Sachs, Boston Consulting Group, and Jane Street Capital. However, he has recently quit his high paying job to focus on his own start-up,, an e-learning website for math and science education.

Zheng began the seminar with a discussion of the college application process and the advantages of attending a "top college." He explained that attending top colleges not only provides students with extensive academic resources but also opens up unique opportunities to meet motivated and innovative people, along with providing students with advantages in the job recruiting process. He described his own experiences at MIT and the people he met there, three of whom eventually worked with him on the Braingenie project.

Afterwards, Zheng presented a run-through of the college application process and how to best plan for it. He explained that it was always good to plan early, and that it was important to focus on a student's strengths when planning for and filling out a college application. He pointed to his own interests in math and science, showing how he focused on these interests in both his course selection and extracurricular activities.

He then discussed life in college and how to best prepare for a successful career, describing two contrasting examples of people who did and didn't prepare well for a career. Zheng remarked specifically on the need to focus on making oneself valuable to society, on preparing the skills for a successful career. Although, as he pointed out, hobbies are important to everyday enjoyment, they don't matter as much when it comes to finding a job. As a result, he said, while students should definitely pursue activities they enjoy, they should also think about specific interests that can enable them to pursue greater academic and career opportunities.

At the end of his seminar, Zheng invited audience members to ask questions on topics ranging from middle school academic preparation to college interviews. Feedback was positive. Many parents felt that they learned a lot about how they could best prepare their children for a successful experience in high school, college, and beyond.
Overseas Chinese News has a report on this wonderful event, published on Dec.3:
This report was published on 《侨报周末》 on 12/3. A shorter version of this report was published on 《侨报》日报 on 12/2. The following is link to the epaper:

Parents and Students Gather for Speech Presentations

posted Nov 28, 2011, 9:01 PM by Colby Ye   [ updated Dec 8, 2011, 10:55 AM by web admin ]


This past Sunday, Future Leader Academy worked with OCEAN to host a Speech Class Gathering at the Cary Memorial Library in Lexington. This was a chance for students to show off the public speaking skills that they had learned and practiced over the summer and during the school year.

OCEAN representative Jin Zhao opened the gathering with a short speech commenting on the importance of public speaking and the value of public speaking instruction. Then, Future Leader Academy founder Colby Ye introduced the two instructors, Evan Zhang and Vivien Chen, who have been teaching classes this fall. Both instructors expressed how rewarding it was to see the students grow and improve in their presentation skills from class to class.

A total of 11 students presented speeches of their own choice of topic. Subjects ranged from hydropower and the importance of preserving water resources to the impact of television on our daily lives. Students made good use of note cards and visual aids, including Powerpoint and video. It was clear that they had been practicing the skills they had learned, such as vocal variety, eye contact, and gesturing.

Overall, the event was a great success. Turnout was much greater than originally predicted, and parents also had positive feedback for the students' presentations.
For those who missed the event, a video recap is available on the Academy Blog.

Summer Classes End, 2011-2012 School Year Classes Begin

posted Aug 27, 2011, 7:13 PM by Colby Ye   [ updated Aug 30, 2011, 8:08 PM ]

With the conclusion of the last day of Future Leader Academy's summer 2011 public speaking camp last Friday, the classes for this summer--the OCEAN class at MIT, the FLA classes on Saturday and Sunday, and the public speaking camp this past week--have finally reached their close.
In the past two months, students have learned about many different aspects of public speaking, including speech organization, gestures and body language, and eye contact and vocal variety. During each class, they had the opportunity to practice these skills by giving prepared speeches, with immediate feedback from the instructor. Colby wasn't the only person evaluating speeches, however. The students also evaluated each other, enabling them to not only present their own speeches but also to learn from others.
One of the most fun parts of each class was the impromptu speaking session, when students gave speeches without any preparation at all. These speeches were usually in response to some random question, such as, "What would you do if you found one million dollars on the ground?" Not only was it public speaking practice, but it was also an exercise in creativity, pushing students to think on their feet. Although Colby prepared these questions for the first few classes, the students themselves eventually were the ones asking most of the impromptu speaking questions.
The students had a great time in the classes. Their speech topics ranged from public service announcements regarding smoking and skin cancer to cheekily facetious discourses on the merits of toilet paper. Especially with the introduction of positions into each class, such as the "um counter" and "timer," the students were able to engage further in the class and participate more actively. Counting "ums" and "uhs" was hotly contested, as each student strived to minimize the use of these crutch words.
Yet, even after our summer classes have concluded, we are looking forward to the future. Since many parents have requested that Future Leader Academy continue its classes after the summer, we will be teaching three weekly classes, starting on Saturday, September 10. Each class will be only one and a half hours long, and tuition will be $20  per student per class. The schedules for each class are below.
  • Saturday 4:00pm-5:30pm
  • Saturday 6:00pm-7:30pm
  • Sunday 6:00pm-7:30pm
The main focus of the classes during the school year are for students to practice the skills that they've learned and developed over the summer. Many parents have correctly pointed out that learning skills isn't as helpful if the students don't have the chance to continue practicing. This is why Future Leader Academy is continuing classes starting this fall. We hope that both parents and students will take advantage of this opportunity to continue growing, especially as the demand for good public speaking skills increases in school and the workplace.
Contact Colby at with any questions, comments, or requests for registration.

Academy Setup Student Resource Center

posted Aug 14, 2011, 5:58 PM by web admin

To further improve the learning process, academy now have a secure student resource area with selected class materials for summer speech class and camp students to review and continue practice the skills learned in class.

Check out Academy Resources for more details.

Summer Public Speaking Class in Full Swing

posted Jul 30, 2011, 12:04 PM by web admin   [ updated Jul 30, 2011, 12:27 PM ]

Future Leader Academy's first summer public speaking class is now in full swing at its Lexington campus. The classes were well-received by both parents and students alike. Students have grown more confident in public speaking, and they have shown great improvement in their presentation skills. The classes are not only educational but also fun. Many students were dragged to class by their parents in the beginning, and now they are anxious to come to the class.
Check out Academy Gallery for more classroom snapshots.

Summer Speech Camp Broke Ice

posted Jun 27, 2011, 5:41 PM by web admin   [ updated Jun 27, 2011, 7:19 PM ]

The wait is over – summer speech camp broke the ice on Sunday, June 26, with first OCEAN class in the afternoon at MIT, and the evening weekly class in Lexington.

Anxious students started the lesson by watching and discussing a speech by President Obama. The group then broke the ice with a 1-minute speech introducing themselves. The warmed up students then split into small groups of 3 or 4 people to present a short skits illustrating a specific message in a relaxing and fun way. After a quick break, Colby gave the students and the sit in parents a lesson and discussion about using rhetorical techniques in speechwriting. The techniques were immediately applied to analyze two speeches in history, one by Martin Luther King, Jr. and one by President Obama.  The students concluded the class with an impromptu speaking session where everyone gave a 1-minute speech on a random topic, without any preparation.
For most students, it was their first “formal” speech training. There would be a lot for them to digest after the class. But the ice breaking session at least showed some “shy” students that speaking in public.

3 Days in Indianapolis

posted Jun 5, 2011, 10:40 AM by web admin   [ updated Jun 5, 2011, 11:04 AM ]

April 15-17 were three days of fierce competition and close interaction with 50 contestants from each state at the 74th American Legion High School Oratorical Contest National Final. Colby did not bring home the $18,000 American Legion High School Oratorical Scholarship. But the experience from those 3 days in Indianapolis was so intense the rich, and he’s still digesting.

OCEAN Offers Summer Speech Workshop in MIT

posted Mar 27, 2011, 2:23 PM by web admin   [ updated Mar 27, 2011, 3:14 PM ]


With increasing awareness of the importance of public speaking in business world and career advancement, OCEAN (Overseas Chinese-American Entrepreneurs Association) is teaming up with Future Leader Academy to offer its members and the Greater Boston area youth speech workshops in MIT this summer. The speech training will be offered in eight intensive sessions starting from June 26 and on each Sunday afternoon through August 21.

  • DATE:June 26, July 10, 17, 24, 31, August 7, 14, 21
  • TIME:Sundays, 1pm - 4pm
  • LOCATION:MIT Campus, Cambridge
  • COST:$300
Contact about workshop details.
Download workshop information sheet here.
Also, read more about the workshop in news report on last Saturday’s (March 26) China Press Weekly newspaper.

Open House - Replay Now Available

posted Mar 23, 2011, 11:54 AM by web admin   [ updated Mar 27, 2011, 3:20 PM ]

For those who missed Saturday, March 19 Speech Class Open House, the video replay of the event is now available here for you to catch up on this great event, and get a preview of the communication and presentation skill training offered here at Future Leader Academy.
A demo of class format, including a speech evaluation of his very first speech recorded 7 years ago:
Many questions were also answered after the class demo:

1-10 of 14