It is 1076 characters with spaces, so I think I need to cut it down. So please let me know what is superfluous, any grammatical mistakes (I'm not sure if it should be I or me in "and of her mother knowing it was I on the phone..."), and I guess how the essay makes you feel. Do you think it's right for the topic?
The office workers stare at my debate partner and I as we try our best to be quiet while carrying 20 pounds of paper and an intimidating collection of pens down a flight of stairs. It's not easy, but we make it to the street with only a few minor disasters. Then, we scream.
A few years ago, I wouldn't have shouted in celebration in the middle of a crowded Manhattan sidewalk. I would have grinned, certainly. But making noise, even raising my voice above a whisper, would have been out of the question. In fact, until joining debate in 9th grade, I barely spoke at all. My childhood was filled with my best friend coaxing me to sing, and of her mother knowing it was I on the phone if she couldn't hear "hello."
But when a friend convinced me to join debate, all of that changed. I found a place where it was encouraged to say all the things I thought, where even the most esoteric ideas were lent an ear. I loved it, and my voice grew louder and louder, culminating in the jubilant scream I had held in since the judges made a "3-0 decision for the affirmative." I am heard.