current and former competitors

– Eva Spasova, former competitor from Simeon Radev FLHS – Pernik

“[Before starting BEST] I was more of a keep-to-himself kinda guy, not wanting to take any chances or attract unnecessary attention – whether that’s in school or just hanging out with friends. But ever since I started doing public speaking I started noticing subtle changes in the way I behave. Small things at first – anything from cracking a few extra jokes to improvising a whole presentation in class. I also learned how important working towards your goals is and started giving it my fullest in every activity. But, more than anything, I was now willing to leave my comfort zone and, more often than not, it ended up paying off. I got noticed by teachers and became the school’s go-to guy when it came to English-speaking competitions or just public appearances in general. Every new quality, every success I owe to that change – and BEST’s competitions were the catalyst that made it happen.”
– Peter Donchev, former competitor from FLHS – Pleven

“BEST gave me optimism, willingness to think ‘out of the box’ and something to impatiently wait for.”
– Petriela Bacheva, former competitor from Ivan Vazov FLHS – Smolyan

“BEST was something I got into out of curiosity but stayed because of all the awesome, hardworking people… BEST has given me the opportunity to express myself and explore parts of me like no other place.”
– Belcho Belchev, former competitor from Geo Milev – Dobrich

“BEST is the best because it is not just a competition. It is a community. Here students receive a chance to express their opinion, share their thoughts and be heard. They create art and learn to share it with the world. And most importantly, they create a big team of intelligent and compassionate people ready to change the future.”
– Boryana Milenova, former competitor from Simeon Radev FLHS – Pernik

“[…] Not only did BEST push me to show the best of my performance skills on stage but it also gave me the opportunity to help students improve and develop theirs.  I know from experience how much work goes into preparing a speech so I appreciate every  second of every piece. There’s no other feeling than the honor to sit in front of a group of talented young people expecting to hear your assessment of their rendition! Thank you so much for giving the students in Bulgaria a chance to stand up and speak and rewarding their effort!”
– Daniel Ivanov, former competitor from Simeon Radev FLHS – Pernik

“I decided to participate because I really wanted to overcome my fear of public speaking, to be better at social interaction, to overcome my shyness. I also really wanted to meet new people and make new friendships. BEST gave me the opportunity to expand. It has helped me with my fear of public speaking. I’ve realized that even if I don’t perform well, I’m 100% okay with that fact. I don’t get stressed out that much anymore and I don’t get down.”
– Dayana Baleva, former competitor from Pleven FLHS

“BEST is the only place where I was taught not to only work on my strengths, but to find new talents and passions. BEST showed me sides of me I didn’t even know existed. Thanks to BEST, I found people who believed in me more than I believed in myself.”
– Lazar Lazarov, former competitor from Geo Milev FLHS – Dobrich

“BEST helped me with choosing my path in life, helping me meet incredible people. Taught me how to be a leader, how to talk in a better manner. It made me a more understanding, smart, original, interesting, etc. person. I met my girlfriend because of it. Nothing bad comes out of BEST!
– Alexander Venchev, former competitor from Bertolt Brecht FLHS – Pazardzhik

“BEST is the best because BEST is not about trophies, but friendships. BEST is not about speaking, but it’s about communicating. BEST is a thrilling journey, rather than a means to an end. BEST is all about inspiration, self improvement and dedication. BEST is the best because BEST is a family.”
– Seda Radoykova, former competitor frpm American College of Sofia

“BEST gave me the opportunity to create strong friendships with people all over Bulgaria. It also taught me how to be more confident and not to be shy to start a conversation with someone I find cool. And last but not least, BEST gave me the opportunity to practice my English like no other competition did.”
– Viktoria Nestorova, former competitor from Dr Ivan Bogorov FLHS – Dimitrovgrad

Teachers, coaches, and judges

“Even though Oratory was challenging for him at the beginning, he constantly tried throughout the year to improve his work, and it shows. Not only is he more confident and sure of himself when he presents now, his English is infinitely better.”
– Coach’s nomination of student for the BEST Foundation’s “Exemplary Student Award”

“BEST is the best because it makes me think BEST. Being part of the whole adventure has changed my attitude towards people and towards life as a whole. So far BEST has been a life changer for my students and for myself as well. It makes people do their BEST at any time, anywhere.”
– Biserka Alexandrova, coach and chaperone of Petar Bogdan FLHS, Montana

“BEST is the best because it brings the focus on public speaking skills which are generally disregarded and overlooked in most Bulgarian schools. BEST encourages young people to show their talent(s) and promotes creative thinking. I am really happy that I had the opportunity to be a part of the judge team, and would be thrilled to have a chance to do it again. Thank you!”
– Iliya Andreev, volunteer judge

“BEST Coach Training gave me the skills to not just lead a team, but to inspire students.”
– BEST Coach

“BEST changes lives. This is the truth.”
– BEST Chaperone

board members

“BEST is:

  • after-school meetings

  • speech practice on the bus

  • the moment right before results are posted

  • that time we had no electricity in the middle of a blizzard

  • telling a student that even though she didn’t make it to finals, you learned something from her

  • all the times you left a round feeling inspired

  • where people dream big and work hard to achieve these dreams

  • pizza, pies, games

  • laughter, smiles, tears

  • a community…

  • our community”

– Michael Deegan, BEST Co-Founder, Board of Advisors member, former coach of teams Hristo Botev FLHS – Kardzhali and American College of Sofia

“Speech gives you the power to fight for equality and make change in this world. You learn quickly that the world isn’t perfect, but through forensics, you discover all the great ways to make it better…together. BEST gives me hope for a better Bulgaria and a better world.”
– Claire Sagstuen, BEST Co-Founder, Board of Advisors member, former coach of team Ekzarh Yosif I FLHS – Lovech

“When I started with BEST(formerly BFL) last spring, I had no idea what to expect. What I discovered at the first tournament my team attended was a school full of student leaders and strong, courageous youth voices. During my year with BEST, your strong voices have grown bolder, and your compassion for humanity has impacted me more than words can say. Thus, I want to say “thank you” to the students of Bulgaria who allowed me the privilege of meeting you, dreaming with you, and working with and for you. Your futures are bright, and YOU are the change that will happen in this world. I am sad to go, but overjoyed to know that what I am leaving behind is a community, a family; it is the BEST.”
– Sarah Craycraft, Board of Advisors member, former coach of team Dr Ivan Bogorov – Dimitrovgrad

“Whether you are the ‘overachiever,’ the ‘rebel,’ the introvert,’ or maybe all or none of the above, there is a place for you in BEST. In our community, we strive to empower every member of our community so that they can grow, think, love, create, and most importantly, help each OTHER. If we apply what we’ve learned in BEST to our own lives, we will change Bulgaria and our world for the better!”
– Athena Lao, BEST Co-Founder, Board of Directors member, former coach of team Akad. Lyudmil Stoyanov FLHS – Blagoevgrad

“BEST is the best because it broadens kids’ perspective and it gives them an outlet to express themselves that they don’t get in school.”
– Reid Furubayashi, former ETA Coach of Petar Bogdan FLHS, Montana and BEST Assistant Director 2016/2017