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VOLUME 91 ISSUE 3 W I N T E R 2017

Cover story

Broward County Seeks to Make Debate Accessible to All Students

National Speech and debate education day

March 3, 2017

Elevating speech and Debate

2017 National Conference preview

Memories made in the magic city Looking ahead to #Nats17

The University of Texas National Institute in Forensics is one of the largest and most successful summer speech and debate workshops in the country. UTNIF has a reputation for engaging students from across the nation in the kind of training that leads rather than follows performative and argumentative trends. UTNIF students have won championships and final rounds at the National Speech & Debate Association National Tournament in Extemp, Humorous Interp, Dramatic Interp, Poetry, the House, the Senate, Policy Debate, Public Forum, and more. Our students consistently excel at the TOC and NIETOC. Join us this summer and see for yourself why UTNIF has made such an impact on speech and debate education for over 20 years.

2017 UTNIF Program Dates Individual Events main session

June 29 – July 13

Individual Events with extension

June 29 – July 17

CX 6 Week Summer Survivors

June 22 – August 4

CX Session 1 (Skills Intensive, Topic Intensive, Sophomore Select) CX Session 2 (Skills Intensive, Topic Intensive)

June 22 – July 12 July 15 – August 4

CX Novice

July 18 – July 26

Public Forum (all skill levels accommodated)

June 29 – July 11

Lincoln-Douglas (all skill levels accommodated)

July 17 – August 1

Lincoln-Douglas with extension

July 18 – August 4 UTNIF Individual Events UTNIF debate camp UTNIF Contact

In this Issue : Volume 91 : Issue 3 : WINTER 2017

From the Cover




From the Editor


2016-2017 Topics

Broward County Seeks to Make Debate Accessible to All Students by Sarah Brazier

Governance and Leadership 9 37

Board of Directors Minutes Fulfilling Our Vision: National Education Conference


Student Spotlight


USA Debate: Stepping Stones to Bali by Liz Yount


Coach Profile: Mario Herrera


Alumni Angles: Dr. Mike Edmonds

by Pam McComas and Renee Motter


Alphabet Soup: Regardless of Event Preference, Alumni Make Connections by J. Scott Baker, Ph.D. Why Former Debaters are the Best College Professors

District in Detail: Deep South


Team Profile: Mount Jordan Middle School, UT

Community 32 34

42 59 64 75 82

Big Questions in the Classroom Around the World in a Day: An Innovative Approach to World Schools Debate at the District Tournament by Megan West Women in Competitive Forensics by Angelique Ronald The Buzz About National Speech and Debate Education Day Teachers of English: Embrace Speech and Debate!

by Doyle Srader, Ph.D.

Member Resources 50 52

What We’re Reading Curriculum Corner

National Tournament Preview 16 18 21 27


Meet the 2017 Local Host Committee Overview of High School Tournament Logistics Birmingham Guide Overview of Middle School Tournament Logistics

102 Diamond Coach

Recognition 103 Donus D. Roberts Quad

Ruby Coach Recognition 104 Triple Ruby Coach

Recognition 106 Student Service Citations 109 Academic All Americans 110

Welcome New Schools

OUR MISSION Rostrum shares best practices, resources, and opportunities that connect, support, and inspire a diverse community of speech and debate educators committed to giving youth a voice. Rostrum | WINTER 2017 3

From the Editor

Board of Directors

As we enter a new year, I pause to think about the members of our community who got their first taste of speech and debate. Those young students who shared their message, rebutted their opponent’s claim, and took the stage for the very first time. The new coaches who survived their first tournament and those who are constantly striving to expand their programs and reach more students. In this issue, we explore greatness in education as we celebrate some of the incredible leaders innovating speech and debate education and hear from members about how this activity has helped them evolve and find their path. In this issue, we feature a Broward County program that brings the opportunity to engage in debates to alternative schools and juvenile detention centers. This initiative is a powerful example of the transformative power of speech and debate. Participants have the chance to engage different viewpoints, broaden their communication skills, and expand their critical thinking. We share this story and how the program got started on page 70. This month, we preview upcoming events and share stories from members across the country. You’ll hear from coaches about how to celebrate National Speech and Debate Education Day and take a look at the upcoming inaugural speech and debate educator’s conference. We chat with Dr. Mike Edmonds, Vice President of Student Life and Dean of Students at Colorado College, about his time in the activity and how speech and debate prepares students for college. Don’t miss your first glimpse at the 2017 National Tournament on page 16! As we enter the District Tournament season, we take a look at what you can expect at Nats17 and all the excitement Birmingham has to offer. I can’t wait to follow along with your journeys to the Magic City and see all the memories you’ll make this year. We all know that speech and debate is about more than competition. It’s about the lives that are changed and the stories that are told. It’s about the skills that will stay with students long after they’ve finished their last tournament. Time and time again we hear this from our alumni, who remember not the rounds won but the friendships and memories they made in the activity. We take a deeper look at the pull to remain involved in speech and debate and talk with students planning to enter the field of education after graduation on page 84. This is such an exciting year, full of opportunities to create bonds in our community and share ideas for improvement. I see greatness in all of you and am excited to see where 2017 takes us. Sincerely,

J. Scott Wunn Executive Director National Speech & Debate Association

401 Railroad Place, West Des Moines, IA 50265-4730

Rostrum A PUBLICATION OF THE NATIONAL SPEECH & DEBATE ASSOCIATION 401 Railroad Place, West Des Moines, IA 50265-4730 | Phone (920) 748-6206 | Fax (920) 748-9478

J. Scott Wunn, Editor and Publisher Steve Schappaugh, Managing Editor Vicki Pape, Assistant Editor Amy Seidelman, Copy Editor Deano Pape, Copy Editor Emily Bratton, Graphic Design Assistant Emily Kriegel, Advertising Coordinator

SUBSCRIPTION PRICES Individuals: $15 for one year | $25 for two years Member Schools: $15 for each additional subscription

(USPS 471-180) (ISSN 1073-5526) Rostrum is published quarterly (Summer, Fall, Winter, and Spring) by the National Speech & Debate Association (NSDA), 401 Railroad Place, West Des Moines, IA 50265-4730. Periodical postage paid at Ripon, WI 54971. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to NSDA, 401 Railroad Place, West Des Moines, IA 50265-4730. Rostrum provides a forum for the speech and debate community. The opinions expressed by contributors are their own and not necessarily the opinions of the NSDA, its officers, or its members. The National Speech & Debate Association does not guarantee advertised products and services unless sold directly by the NSDA.


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Don Crabtree, President Park Hill High School 1909 6th Avenue St. Joseph, MO 64505 (816) 261-2661 Pam Cady Wycoff, Vice President Apple Valley High School 14450 Hayes Road Apple Valley, MN 55124-6796 (952) 431-8200 David Huston Colleyville Heritage High School 5401 Heritage Avenue Colleyville, TX 76034 (817) 305-4700, Ext. 214 Jennifer Jerome Millard West High School 5710 S. 176th Avenue Omaha, NE 68135 (402) 715-6000 (school office) (402) 715-6092 (classroom) Dr. Tommie Lindsey, Jr. James Logan High School 1800 H Street Union City, CA 94587 (510) 471-2520, Ext. 4408 Pamela K. McComas PO Box 5078 Topeka, KS 66605 (785) 231-7414 James W. “Jay” Rye, III The Montgomery Academy 3240 Vaughn Road Montgomery, AL 36106 (334) 272-8210 Dr. Polly Reikowski, Admin Rep Eagan High School 4185 Braddock Trail Eagan, MN 55123 (651) 683-6902 Timothy E. Sheaff Dowling Catholic High School 1400 Buffalo Road West Des Moines, IA 50265 (515) 222-1035



Current topics, voting links, and resources available at: Member students and one chapter advisor per school are eligible to vote!

2017-2018 Policy Debate Topic EDUCATION REFORM — Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its funding and/or regulation of elementary and/or secondary education in the United States. United States students do not rank well compared to their peers from other countries. Achievement gaps also exist between children from different ethnic groups and between affluent and low-income students. Are the schools at fault or are other issues to blame? What changes in funding, regulations, standards, or support for our schools will bring better results? Do we need more teachers, higher teacher pay, uniform teacher standards, and/or smaller class sizes? Will more money for technology improve teaching? Do we need more flexibility to employ and develop different types of schools? Do we need more flexibility within our public schools? What will bring up graduation rates and help United States students compete internationally? How can we prepare and train the future United States workforce? This resolution will provide a balanced field to discuss these important education issues. The affirmative teams will have the ability to critically examine everything from charter schools to online programs to for-profit schools. There is flexibility to argue for or against K-12 in traditional schools versus more specialized schools. Each area of the country has substantially different standards and rules. This topic allows students to examine those differences and how the federal government can improve education across the board. Negative ground includes arguments from traditional policy options such as federalism, States CP, other agent counterplans, solvency deficits as to whether the affirmative is affecting a large enough scope to solve, spending DAs, politics scenarios, etc. Critical literature is also applicable to the wide variety of presumptions within our government and education systems.

Send us your suggestions for PF topic areas and LD resolutions! Access the online submission forms by visiting our website:

MARCH 2017

Public Forum Debate

Resolved: The United States should no longer pressure Israel to work toward a two-state solution.


Lincoln-Douglas Debate

Resolved: The United States ought to guarantee the right to housing.

The NSDA also suggests a separate LD resolution that may be used during the first two months of a novice season. Coaches are encouraged to check with tournament hosts in their area before exclusively prepping for one topic over another.


Policy Debate

Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its economic and/or diplomatic engagement with the People’s Republic of China.


Big Questions Debates

Resolved: Science leaves no room for free will.

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Dear Administrators, I can recall a statement from my student days about the importance of training in speech: “Speech: A Ready Man.” Certainly today, we would make the statement inclusive of gender, but there is an essential truth captured in that yearbook slogan from yesteryear. Many skills and much training go into the preparation of our students who compete at tournaments in speech and debate. Like many motor skills we learn during our school days, carefully honed, intentionally directed, and confidently delivered oral performance is one upon which we can rely for quite a long time. I think it’s a bike-riding lesson that can be seamlessly relearned and renewed. Possessed of such skills, our students gain a talent developed to deal with the increasingly complex issues they will confront as they mature. The rhetorical arts, devices, and structures deserve a central place in the education of those who need to confront a world that can be joyful, bewildering, and, sometimes, downright nasty. I’ve been lucky to witness the NSDA national competitions which demonstrate the best talents, the best speakers, and the most accomplished debaters. And these competitions are important sources of achievement and pride for our students. But the skills, the attitudes, and the behaviors developed by training in speech and debate, however, are vital for everyone. It’s a case of both/and rather than either/or. Speaking well, debating well, doing the right research to support a point of view are some of the best ways to counter halftruths and falsehoods, to train students to not only perform well but also to think well and to keep the passions and distractions in check. And that’s why training is a great word to use here. It’s basic, maybe a little old-fashioned, but in the education of our students, this training is at the core of two skills repeated in 21st century learning: communication and critical thinking. What a gift to provide for students now and for the rest of this century. The long-term power that can transcend adolescent angst and social helplessness. The training, done well, done fully, can teach the mind and touch the heart. And that can be the case as it helps students deliver messages in person, to be sure, but let’s be more realistic, over the social networks and who knows which networks of the future. When I arrived at the tournament in Salt Lake City in June of 2016, I spent a little time following a custom I use as an administrator or speaker: getting myself in the moment. That meant looking into the faces of students and coaches in the crowd outside of the auditorium and watching the skilled finalists in Dramatic Interpretation. And it also meant looking at the items in the store. One struck my eye: “Don’t Hate – Debate.“ Exactly. Let’s make them ready women and men. Sincerely,

Michael A. O’Toole Principal, La Salle College High School, Pennsylvania 2016 National Speech & Debate Association Principal of the Year

Find this and other letters of advocacy on our website: 6

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Climb the Mountain Speech & Debate Camp Policy, LD, Public Forum July 16-29, 2017

Congress Debate July 16-22, 2017

Individual Events July 23-29, 2017

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Leadership Board of Directors Minutes


he National Speech & Debate Association Board of Directors met December 14, 2016. Present were President Don Crabtree, Vice President Pam Cady Wycoff, David Huston, Jennifer Jerome, Dr. Tommie Lindsey, Jr., Pam McComas, Dr. Polly Reikowski, Jay Rye, and Timothy Sheaff.

December 14, 2016

employee benefits administration, and workers’ compensation/ risk management. Through this partnership, the NSDA internally maintains strategic functions of Human Relations like hiring, onboarding, and performance management, and gets the value of outside assistance and expertise for other Human Resources functions without the expense of hiring a full-time individual.

President Crabtree called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m.

National Tournament Update The Board received a 2017 Birmingham Nationals update from Host Committee Chair Jay Rye and Executive Director Wunn. The Board directed the Executive Director to further explore Lexington, KY and Albuquerque, NM as finalist host cities for the 2020 National Tournament.

Contracted Services Moved by McComas, seconded by Rye: “Accept the Human Resources solutions proposal as presented by the Executive Director.” Passed: 8-0 Moved by Wycoff, seconded by Crabtree: “Make the necessary adjustment in the contracted services line item of the 2016-2017 NSDA Budget to accommodate the hiring of the Human Resources firm.” Passed: 8-0 The Board approved the recommendation from the Executive Director to engage a third party Human Resources firm to assist with administrative payroll/payroll tax administration,

Liability Insurance Moved by Wycoff, seconded by McComas: “Enter into a partnership with the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) to offer liability insurance at a reduced rate to the NSDA membership.” Passed: 9-0 Liability insurance will be offered to member NSDA coaches at a reduced rate beginning in the 2017-2018 school year. Additional details about the program will be published in mid-April in the Spring 2017 issue of Rostrum.

Competition and Rules Moved by Rye, seconded by Jerome: “Adopt the Coaches’ Code of Ethics as proposed by the Code of Ethics Ad Hoc Committee as amended.” Passed: 9-0 The Coaches’ Code of Ethics will be published in the High School Unified Manual, effective immediately. For more information, see the article on page 11.

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Board Minutes (continued) Moved by Huston, seconded by Rye: “Adopt the language changes regarding speech rules violations at the National Tournament as proposed by the Competition and Rules Committee.” Passed: 8-0-1 Aye: Crabtree, Wycoff, McComas, Jerome, Rye, Sheaff, Reikowski, Huston Abstain: Lindsey The language changes (see below) will take effect at the 2017 Nationals and be published in the High School Unified Manual.

Board Committee Updates The Board received several updates from the Strategic Planning, Curriculum, and Inclusion Committees. The meeting adjourned at 9:00 p.m.

Speech Rules Violations Rules violations are defined as actions in which a competitor has presented material that does not fit within the guidelines of the activity in which they are participating. Such violations may include, but are not limited to, plagiarism, exceeding transitional material guidelines, using non-existent evidence in extemporaneous preparation events, and misrepresenting the content of the script submitted with what is actually presented in rounds. In such instances, the following consequences will result: 1. The competitor will be immediately disqualified from the tournament. The disqualification will occur after all appeals have been exhausted and the decision that a rules violation has occurred is confirmed. 2. If in a final round, any placings or points earned by that student will be vacated. All competitors ranked lower than the disqualified competitor will be moved up one placement in that round. If multiple violations in the same event have occurred, competitors will be advanced accordingly. If the violation is discovered during the semifinal round, the offending competitor will be ranked 6th in the semifinal round. If the student still qualifies for the final round with that ranking, their place in the final round will be vacated, and the 7th place competitor will be placed in the final round. If the violation occurs prior to the semifinal round, all previous placings will remain the same. 3. If the violation occurs in the final round of the National Tournament and the violation would result in a new champion, the championship will be vacated. Potential scholarships may be forfeited. 4. All coaching points earned for all of the school/chapter’s competitors for the entire tournament will be removed.


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We’ve settled into our new home in West Des Moines, Iowa. Our business office is now located at:

National Speech & Debate Association 401 Railroad Place West Des Moines, IA 50265-4730 Please use this address for all future correspondence and payments. Be sure to share this with anyone at your school who sends mail to our organization. Thank you!

5. If the violation occurs at the National Tournament, the offending school/chapter may, depending on the severity of the violation, lose up to four entry slots for the next year’s district tournament. The school/chapter will not be eligible for any bonus entries for the district tournament. 6. All rounds in which the competitor participated will not be included in the count toward eligibility for School of Excellence and Bruno E. Jacob awards.

National Speech & Debate Association | Coaches Code Of Ethics Introduction by Jay Rye, NSDA Board Member from The Montgomery Academy, Alabama


hen Bruno E. Jacob founded the National Forensic League in 1925, he created a handbook entitled, “Suggestions for the Debater.” This early version of what we now refer to as the “Unified Manual” was designed to give ideas to speech and debate competitors about the nuts and bolts of the activity. In 2007, the organization developed “The Code of Honor”­—the focus of which is to emphasize the importance of integrity, humility, respect, leadership, and service among the student membership. While the Unified Manual and the Code of Honor are awesome tools for students to use as a guide during speech and debate rounds, the National Speech & Debate Association had nothing as a guideline for coaches. Many states over the years have developed standards, best practices, and/ or codes of conduct for their respective state, but nothing existed at the national level. With this in mind, during the Summer Leadership Conference in August of

2016, four coaches led a group discussion about whether or not there was a need for such a guideline for coaches and what would a code of ethics for speech and debate coaches even look like. Coming out of that session, it was clear that those in attendance at the Leadership Conference were overwhelmingly in favor of the NSDA putting together some type of document that would serve as modern-day Jacobian “Suggestions for the Coach.” We as coaches should be bigger than the NSDA rules—we should model ethical behavior to our students. A total of 12 coaches from 11 different states sat down, via email and video conference, to begin examining different state documents related to this issue. From Maine to Texas to Minnesota, we assessed what we felt were the good, the bad, and the ugly of each state organization’s attempts to address ethical issues with coaches. Ultimately, we used as a model the Code of Ethics established by the National Federation of State High School Associations. While the document

on the NFHS website is clearly intended for athletic competition, we felt the spirit of this document was both affirming and, with some modifications, could work for the NSDA. In addition, seeing as how the vast majority of schools within the NSDA are members of the NFHS, either directly or through their state activities association, we felt using this as a model would lend legitimacy with school administrators, since the Federation is already a known entity. In December of 2016, the Board of Directors approved the document presented in this article. This is a living, breathing document, and we expect discussion to follow. We are certainly open to suggestions about how to improve this document, but we also recognize that the time for putting together something by the NSDA to address the ethics of speech and debate coaches was long past due. With new coaches coming into our activity every year, it is imperative that we preserve the legacy of Bruno E. Jacob.

The function of a coach is to educate students through participation in speech and debate. Students should be treated with the utmost respect, and their welfare should be considered in decisions by coaches at all times. Accordingly, the following guidelines for coaches have been adopted by the National Speech & Debate Association. Coaches shall be aware that they have a tremendous influence, for either good or ill, on the education of their students and, thus, shall never place the value of winning above the value of instilling the highest ideals of character. Coaches shall practice integrity by upholding the honor and dignity of our profession. In all personal contact with students, judges, tournament officials, activities directors, school administrators, other coaches, the media, and the public, coaches shall strive to set an example of the highest ethical and moral conduct. Coaches shall take an active role in the prevention of student drug, alcohol, and tobacco abuse. Coaches shall be expected to uphold their school’s policy in regards to drug, alcohol, and tobacco use when in contact with students. Coaches shall strive to understand the contest rules and to teach them to their students. Coaches shall not seek an advantage by circumvention of the spirit or letter of the rules. Coaches shall exert their influence to enhance sportsmanship and fair-play by competitors and other coaches. Coaches shall respect and support tournament officials. Coaches shall not indulge in conduct that would incite other coaches or students against tournament officials. Public criticism of tournament officials, other coaches, or students is unethical. Coaches shall set the correct tone for a tournament or competition.

(adopted December 2016)

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GET READY! READY! GET Prep for the upcoming speech and Prep for season Districtswith and supplies Nationalsfrom with the debate supplies from the SpeechStore! & Debate Store! NEW Speech & Debate


JOIN THE LEGACY! audition for the team Contact: Dr. Peter Pober Director of Forensics

George Mason Institute of Forensics is proud to celebrate successes at the 2016 Glenbrooks, Villager, Blue Key, Yale, Wake Forest, and Patriot Games 14 Champions 58 Finalists 72 Semifinalists

The American Legion Oratorical Contest

LOOKING FOR COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIPS?  LOOK NO FURTHER. As part of the National Speech & Debate Association’s ongoing partnership with The American Legion, the top three finishers from the Legion’s National Oratorical Contest may earn the right to compete in Original Oratory or United States Extemporaneous Speaking at the National Speech & Debate Tournament! The firstplace finisher is awarded an $18,000 scholarship, second-place $16,000, and third-place $14,000. The scholarships may be used at any college or university in the United States.

Want to get involved? Follow these simple steps!

• Visit to learn more. • Click “Request Information” or contact your state’s American Legion Department to learn when the first contest will be. • Also click on “Assigned Topics” to learn the extemporaneous topic areas. • Prepare your original oration on some aspect of the Constitution with emphasis on the duties and obligations of a citizen to our government.

Washington student Benjamin Crosby placed first at the 2016 Oratorical Contest.

Watch examples of past winning orations online at


Jay Rye, Chair The Montgomery Academy

Dr. Kenny Barfield Mars Hill Bible School

Victoria Boyd Prattville Christian Academy

Lamp High School

Nate Conoly Vestavia Hills High School

Tonya Hatch Pelham High School

Rebecca Helms Trinity Presbyterian School

The Montgomery Academy

Jessica Newman Chelsea High School

Katy Olienyk Prattville High School

Oliver Parker Spain Park High School

Rachel Puckett

Ondreja Turner Westminster Christian Academy

Dr. Ian Turnipseed Saint James School

Elizabeth Wood Weas Mountain Brook High School

Hannah Zarzour Hoover High School

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Chris Colvin

John McWilliams



From YOUR Local Hosts

he Deep South District of the National Speech & Debate Association proudly welcomes you to the 2017 “Magic City” National Tournament, where we’ll be “Hammin’ It Up”! This marks the fourth time Alabama has been the location for this tournament. In 1980, the city of Huntsville hosted Nationals, which featured Lincoln-Douglas Debate as a main event for the first time. In 2009, Birmingham was the host city, and C-SPAN did a live show featuring some of the students in attendance. In 2013 the NSDA returned to Birmingham and the featured speakers were two sitting members of Congress. We are delighted to have y’all come back in 2017, and we will do our best to replicate the positives and rectify the negatives from past years! During your stay in Alabama, we invite you to explore the many things that make coming to the Deep South a special moment. First, satisfy your hunger. Dining should be a cultural experience, and there are a variety of eateries that will surely satisfy any palate. If you are looking for fine dining, we invite you to taste Chez Fonfon or Bottega—both are excellent and in the Five Points section of downtown Birmingham. If down home country cooking is what you seek, check out Lloyd’s off of Highway 280 or the Southern Kitchen just behind the Downtown Sheraton. Lest we forget the BBQ—ahhhhh, BBQ. So many places, only one week! We suggest Saw’s, Jim ‘N Nick’s, Full Moon—all are ohhhh so good!


Eating is not the only special thing. Second, fill your mind. Alabama, and specifically Birmingham, became center-stage during the struggle for Civil Rights. We strongly encourage you to visit the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, the 16th Street Baptist Church, and Kelly Ingram Park and celebrate those who sacrificed so much to make this movement happen with nothing more than hope in their hearts, prayer on their lips, and the winds of freedom at their backs. Hint to all visitors—the Civil Rights Institute is free for groups of less than 25 on Sundays from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. This would be an easy and inexpensive way to educate the future about our past.



9 3 8 4

5 7

In Alabama, we believe in having fun. Third, rejuvenate your spirit. Go to see the Birmingham Barons Minor League Baseball team in downtown Birmingham—one of America’s oldest baseball teams. Enjoy time at Barber Motorsports Museum—you will not believe the collection of motorcycles in the building. Looking for a water park in June? Try Alabama Splash Adventure just west of the downtown area or stay in the downtown area and check out the McWane Science Center. The point is, there is more to Alabama and to Birmingham than you might think. We are thrilled to have the National Speech & Debate Association return to Alabama. In the midst of the competitive nature of this National Tournament, we hope you will take time to satisfy your hunger, fill your mind, and rejuvenate your spirit. Roll Tide!


Jay Rye Deep South District Chair 2017 National Tournament Host Committee Chair

1 - Chez Fonfon; 2 - Saw’s BBQ; 3 - Birmingham Civil Rights Institute; 4 - Birmingham Barons; 5 - Alabama Splash Adventure; 6 - Barber Motorsports Museum; 7 - McWane Science Center; 8 - 16th Street Baptist Church; 9 - Full Moon Bar-B-Que; 10 - Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q

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National Speech & Debate Tournament JUNE 18-23, 2017 | Birmingham, Alabama OVERVIEW OF HIGH SCHOOL TOURNAMENT LOGISTICS SUNDay • JUNE 18 (Registration and Expo) This year, tournament registration and the expo will take place Sunday, June 18, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Sheraton Birmingham in downtown Birmingham, AL. The Sheraton Birmingham is the host hotel for the tournament and is located near the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex (BJCC), where the final rounds and awards assembly will be held. Schools staying in any of the recommended properties will find this extremely convenient.

MONDAY and tuesday • JUNE 19-20 (Prelim Rounds/Early Elims/Local Host Posting Party) Seven venues will be used for preliminary competition, June 19-20. All main event preliminary and early elimination competition on Monday and Tuesday will occur between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. High school Congressional Debate will be hosted at the Sheraton Birmingham. The Sheraton Birmingham will also host preliminary rounds of Extemporaneous Speaking. Jackson-Olin HS will host preliminary rounds of Lincoln-Douglas Debate and the Big Questions Debates. Carver HS will host preliminary rounds of Public Forum Debate. Mountain Brook HS will host preliminary rounds of Policy Debate. Huffman HS will host preliminary rounds of Humorous, Dramatic, Duo, and Program Oral Interpretation. Woodlawn HS will host preliminary rounds of Original Oratory and Informative Speaking. A. H. Parker HS will host World Schools Debate competition. The student posting party will take place at Uptown Birmingham, the premier entertainment district at the BJCC, adjacent to the Sheraton and Westin. Students eliminated from main event competition on Tuesday will reregister for Wednesday supplemental events at The Westin Birmingham during the student posting party.

WEDNESDAY • JUNE 21 (Elim Rounds/Supplemental Events) Five venues will be used on Wednesday. All competition will occur between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Students who qualify for elimination round 9 of all main speech and debate events (including World Schools) will compete at Carver HS. High school Congressional Debate semifinals will be held at the Sheraton Birmingham. Those students re-registered for supplemental speech events will compete at Jackson-Olin HS. Those students re-registered in Extemporaneous Debate will compete at A. H. Parker HS. Elimination rounds of Big Questions Debates will be held at Jackson-Olin HS. Note: Middle school competition begins Wednesday at Huffman HS.

THURSDAY • JUNE 22 (Elim Rounds/Supp-Cons Events/Interp Finals/Diamond Awards)

Online Registration Opens February 15

Thursday morning, debate elimination rounds will continue at Carver HS. High school Congressional Debate will hold its final round sessions at the Sheraton Birmingham. Extemporaneous Debate will compete at A. H. Parker HS. All supplemental speech and consolation events will occur at Jackson-Olin HS. Elimination rounds of Big Questions Debates will continue at Jackson-Olin HS (if needed). Note: Middle school competition continues at 8:00 a.m. on Thursday at Huffman HS. On Thursday afternoon through the evening, attendees will enjoy the national final rounds of World Schools Debate, Program Oral Interpretation, Humorous, Dramatic, and Duo Interpretation, as well as the Donus D. Roberts Diamond Assembly, at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex (BJCC).

FRIDAY • JUNE 23 (Supp-Cons/Main Event Finals and National Awards Assembly) The remaining main event final rounds (Informative Speaking, United States Extemp, International Extemp, Policy Debate, Lincoln-Douglas Debate, Public Forum Debate, and Original Oratory), as well as the supplemental/ consolation event and Big Questions Debates finals, will be held throughout the day on Friday at the BirminghamJefferson Convention Complex (BJCC), culminating with the National Awards Assembly Friday evening.

The National Speech & Debate Association has appeared on the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) National Advisory List of Student Contests and Activities since the origination of the list. 18

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See you in June in the


All schools should stay at one of the Association recommended hotels in downtown Birmingham or the surrounding areas. The lowest rates have been negotiated for our members. Please do not stay outside the block. The large volume of room sales within the block allows the Association to continue to negotiate the most affordable rate list. Properties that do not appear on this list are likely inconvenient for participation in the tournament, including lack of safety, amenities, and proximity to restaurants and are providing no benefit to the overall cost of the tournament. Morning and afternoon traffic could add substantial time to your commute if you are located outside the block. In addition, hotels not on the list have no contractual obligation to the Association, and therefore, we cannot provide any level of reservation protection at these properties. Middle school teams are encouraged to stay in airport hotel properties as they are closest to Huffman HS.


When calling hotels, all coaches must mention the “National Speech & Debate Association block” to receive the posted rate. All room reservations within the block are subject to an automatic two-night, nonrefundable deposit per room at the time of booking. This avoids double booking and allows all attendees equal opportunity to book in the best available properties.


All hotel properties on the Association’s list are easily accessible and are within 15-20 minutes by interstate or surface streets of competition venues. The tournament website has a link to an interactive Google map of every hotel including the Sheraton Birmingham, the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex (BJCC), Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport, and all competition sites. You can print all needed maps before ever leaving home.


The high school Congressional Debate headquarters is the Sheraton Birmingham located in downtown Birmingham. All Congressional Debate rounds and the PRELIMS of Extemporaneous Speaking will occur at the Sheraton complex. It is recommended that high school teams with Congressional debaters and/or extempers stay at the Sheraton Birmingham or at one of the downtown properties to avoid substantial rush hour traffic issues. These hotels are an excellent choice in both price and feature.


It is recommended that all coaches visit the individual websites of the hotels to determine which property fits the needs of their program. All hotels on the list are conveniently located to various aspects of the tournament. The Sheraton Birmingham and The Westin Birmingham are the most conveniently located hotels for access to the high school Congressional Debate competition, registration, final rounds, and the National Awards Assembly. Schools are encouraged to book early as hotel blocks will fill up quickly.


Key Travel Times to Note: a. Sheraton and other downtown hotels to Schools (less than 20-minute drive) b. Sheraton and other downtown hotels to Congressional Debate and Finals (less than five-minute walk) c. All other Hotels to Schools (less than 20-minute drive) d. All other Hotels to Congressional Debate and Finals (less than 20-minute drive)


PLEASE LOOK AT A MAP! Before reserving rooms, all coaches should consult a map of the Birmingham area to get a better perspective on travel logistics. Maps are available on the tournament website. The key to a less stressful week is to consider following the above lodging suggestions provided by the national office.

Additional tournament information will be available at Rostrum | WINTER 2017 19

Nat i o n al To u rn ament Tees N ow Avail able for Pre- Orde r! PRE-ORDER YOUR #NATS17 T-SHIRTS DURING ONLINE REGISTRATION – STARTING FEBRUARY 15! *Limited quantities available at tournament. Pre-order is recommended to ensure your size selection will be available!

VENUE GUIDE • BIRMINGHAM NATIONALS Downtown Birmingham will be an excellent location for the 2017 National Speech & Debate Tournament. To make planning easier, we have provided an overview of key logistics. Please refer to the following pages for essential venue and lodging information. Keep in mind that all details are tentative and subject to change.

Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex (BJCC) 2100 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd North, Birmingham, AL 35203 » Registration and Expo (Sun) » Finals and Awards (Thu-Fri)

Sheraton Birmingham Hotel 2101 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd North, Birmingham, AL 35203 » Congressional Debate (Mon-Thu) » Extemp (Mon-Tue) » Middle School Registration (Tue evening)

The Westin Birmingham 2221 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd North, Birmingham, AL 35203 » Supplemental Re-registration (Tue evening)

Uptown District-Birmingham 2221 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd North, Birmingham, AL 35203 » Student Posting Party (Tue evening)

Additional tournament information will be available at Rostrum | WINTER 2017 21


Carver High School 3900 24th Street North, Birmingham, AL 35207 » Public Forum Debate (Mon-Tue) » Main Speech (Wed) » Main Debate (Wed-Thu) » World Schools Debate (Wed)

Huffman High School 950 Springville Road, Birmingham, AL 35215 » Interp (Mon-Tue) » Middle School Competition (Wed-Thu)

Jackson-Olin High School 1300 Avenue F, Birmingham, AL 35218 » Lincoln-Douglas Debate (Mon-Tue) » Supplemental Speech Events (Wed-Thu) » Consolation Events (Thu)


Be sure to check out our interactive Google map for an overview of the 2017 tournament site plan. You can view hotel and venue addresses or see which events will be held in each building by clicking on each icon. Visit today!

Additional tournament information will be available at 22

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Mountain Brook High School 3650 Bethune Drive, Mountain Brook, AL 35223 » Policy Debate (Mon-Tue)

A. H. Parker High School 400 Reverend Abraham Woods Jr. Blvd, Birmingham, AL 35204 » World Schools Debate (Mon-Tue) » Extemp Debate (Wed-Thu)

Woodlawn High School 5620 1st Avenue North, Birmingham, AL 35212 » Oratory and Informative (Mon-Tue)


We offer more than 30 hotel properties to make your stay in Birmingham comfortable and enjoyable! Visit for the complete list.

Additional tournament information will be available at Rostrum | WINTER 2017 23


Hertz is the Association's official rental car company! For more information, call (800) 654-2240 or visit today. Some restrictions may apply.

CV #022Q8414

See you in June in the

Additional tournament information will be available at 24

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Birmingham-Shuttleworth International Airport 5900 Messer Airport Hwy Birmingham, AL 35212 Meeting Event Code:

NMPVR Offer Code: *

ZY6D 622499

Receive discounts off your flight when you book online with recommended carriers. Some restrictions may apply.

* UNITED: U.S. 50 States and Canada Customers: call your professional travel agency, book online via, or call United Reservations Meetings Desk at (800) 426-1122 and provide the Z Code ZY6D and Agreement Code 622499. For all tickets issued through United Meetings Reservations Desk, there will be a booking service fee per ticket collected. This fee is subject to change without notice. Such service fee is nonrefundable and applies to all itineraries, one-way or round-trip.

Additional tournament information will be available at Rostrum | WINTER 2017 25

WORLD SCHOOLS DEBATE INVITATIONAL • TOURNAMENT LOGISTICS Entries • World Schools teams are comprised of three to five students. The cost of entry is $50 per student. • Each NSDA district may enter up to two teams to the National Tournament, provided they offer a second judge to cover the commitment for the second team. Districts that do not provide a full-­time judge for each team will not be permitted to enter. • Students must attend an NSDA district qualifying event to be eligible for selection to their district’s team. • Students who attend the district tournament and qualify in a main event for the 2017 National Tournament may forgo their qualification and participate in World Schools Debate instead, if they are selected for the team by their district and have preferred it on the Single Entry Letter of Intent prior to the District Tournament Series. Refer to the Single Entry Letter of Intent regarding preferences in partnership events. • Guest nations may enter teams, as well. Visit our website for more details. Judges • Each district must provide a full-­time judge for each team available for the entirety of the competition. The judge may not be entered into any other judging pool at the National Speech & Debate Tournament. • There are no hired judges available. • Judges must attend judge training on Sunday! Motions • There will be a mix of prepared and impromptu motions for the competition. • Prepared motions will be announced by May 1, 2017. Tentative Schedule Sunday

Judge and Competitor Training; Demo Debate (Sheraton/Westin Complex)


Preliminary Rounds (4) (Parker HS)


Preliminary Rounds (2) and Double-Octafinals (Parker HS)

Wednesday Octafinals/Quarterfinals/Semifinals (Carver HS) Thursday

Final Round (BJCC Concert Hall)

Supplemental and Consolation Events • Teams who are eliminated from competition on Tuesday are eligible to enter in supplemental events if pre-registered. Teams must re-register during the local host posting party Tuesday evening. • Teams who do not advance to Thursday’s rounds may enter in consolation events if pre-registered. Teams must re-register Wednesday evening.

Additional tournament information will be available at 26

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Middle School Overview | JUNE 20-23, 2017 Tentative Schedule TUESDAY • JUNE 20 Registration will be held from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Sheraton Birmingham. Wednesday • June 21 Middle school competition begins Wednesday at Huffman HS. Rounds begin at 8:00 a.m. and last until 6:00 p.m. Time has been built in for lunch. Thursday • June 22 Middle school competition continues Thursday at Huffman HS. Rounds begin at 8:00 a.m. and last until 7:00 p.m. Time has been built in for lunch. Friday • June 23 Starting at 8:00 a.m., final rounds of Speech, Policy, and Congress, as well as semifinal and final rounds of Lincoln-Douglas and Public Forum, will be held at the Sheraton Birmingham and Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex (BJCC). The awards assembly will commence at 4:30 p.m. in the BJCC Mary Jane Teall Theater, followed by the high school awards assembly at 6:30 p.m., where middle school champions will be recognized on stage in the BJCC Concert Hall.

Important Middle School Dates • Coaches can register online starting February 15. • Entries are due April 24. All entries will be placed on a waitlist. Entries will be taken off the waitlist once payment has been received (space permitted, up to five). Additional entries will remain on the waitlist until the payment deadline of May 12. Entries will be taken off the waitlist based upon the payment date and not the registration date. • Congressional Debate legislation is due April 24. • Title, author, and ISBN information for Interpretation events must be posted on the registration website by May 1. • Media release forms, signed by each student’s parent/ guardian, must be submitted by May 12. • All fees, including judge bond, must be received in the national office by May 12. • A late fee of $200 will be assessed for fees and forms received after May 12. A school risks forfeiting participation if fees and media release forms are not received by May 19.

Other Details • Coaches are asked to carefully review all information on the tournament website. • Please note that each school is limited to five entries per event. A team may place an additional three entries in the system to try and secure additional spots. The first five slots are first come, first served, based upon the date that payment is received. Any slots beyond the five will not be available until after the payment deadline of May 12. • We will continue to rigorously train high school student judges. Middle schools are required to bring judges for each division in which they have students (Policy, LD, or PF, Speech, and Congress) as a condition for registering.

Please Read Before Selecting Lodging! Middle school coaches should review all information relative to lodging on page 19. Be sure to mention the “National Speech & Debate Association block” when booking rooms, and only book with recommended hotels for the reasons listed. The host hotel, Sheraton Birmingham, requires a minimum five-night stay. Middle school programs needing reservations of less than five days must book at properties other than the Sheraton. Middle school teams are encouraged to stay in airport hotel properties as they are closest to Huffman HS. All room reservations within the block are subject to an automatic nonrefundable two-night deposit per room at the time of booking or upon cancellation, depending on the property. This avoids double booking and allows all attendees equal opportunity to book in the best available properties.

Important Notice: The 2016 Salt Lake City Nationals was the last time a club or non-school member may enter the Middle School National Tournament. The Board of Directors affirms the creation, support, and development of speech and debate programs at the middle and secondary levels through accredited public and private schools. Beginning with the 2016-2017 school year, all members of the Association must be school-based. For any club or organization that does not currently have a school-based membership, the Association is eager to work with you to create school based speech and debate teams. Students who are currently Association members through their area non-school-based clubs and organizations may request to have their memberships transferred to their accredited public and private schools. Homeschools and virtual schools that are recognized by the state in which those schools compete may join the National Speech & Debate Association.

Additional tournament information will be available at Rostrum | WINTER 2017 27

BIG QUESTIONS CAPSTONE EVENT • TOURNAMENT LOGISTICS Entries/Qualification Process • The top-placing student at each district’s Big Questions division will be invited to participate at Nationals. • To host a district Big Questions event, fill out the online application by April 1, 2017. To get started, visit /big-questions or email • Big Questions entries will not count toward a school’s district entry limits. • The district Big Questions division may be held in conjunction with the district tournament or as a standalone event on a separate date as long as it occurs before May 15, 2017. The district event must meet the following requirements: • Minimum of 15 high school competitors. • All students must compete as individuals. • Must be more than one school in attendance. • The event must be organized through or with the permission of the district chair. • The event will either a) follow the double elimination format of other district debate events or b) hold a minimum of four preliminary rounds and semifinals. • The top-placing student will not be eligible to compete in the Big Questions Capstone Event if they have qualified in a main event. • If the Big Questions district event is held before the district’s main National Qualifying tournament, the top-placing student’s name may be withdrawn and replaced with an alternate’s if the top-placing student qualifies in another event. • “At-large” invitations will also be sent to individual students who have performed well in the event throughout the season if they did not qualify at their district tournament. Invitations will start being sent on April 15. • Only entries composed of individual debaters may compete at Nationals. The cost of entry is $50 per student. • For a tentative schedule overview, visit /nationals and scroll down to the Big Questions tab. Judges • Each district must provide a full-­time judge for each entry available for the entirety of the competition. The judge may not be entered into any other judging pool at the National Tournament. • There are no hired judges available. • Judges must attend judge training on Monday at 9:00 a.m. at Jackson-Olin High School. Topic • Students will debate the 2016-2017 topic, Resolved: Science leaves no room for free will. • Students must attend the topic discussion on Monday at 9:00 a.m. at Jackson-Olin High School. Supplemental and Consolation Events • Students who are eliminated from competition on Tuesday are eligible to enter in supplemental events if pre-registered. Teams must re-register during the student posting party Tuesday evening. • Students who do not advance to Thursday’s rounds may enter in consolation events if pre-registered. Teams must re-register Wednesday evening.

Additional tournament information will be available at 28

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Join Us Tuesday Evening • June 20!

Supplemental Re-registration will be held adjacent to the Uptown Entertainment District at The Westin Birmingham hotel.

Student Posting Party 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Supplemental Re-registration 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

UPTOWN is Birmingham’s fresh new take on entertainment. Just down the street from the BJCC (Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex) and the Sheraton Birmingham Hotel, the district attracts locals and visitors to enjoy a variety of dining selections. Texas de Brazil, Cantina Laredo, Todd English P.U.B., and The Southern Kitchen & Bar are just the beginning! Other eateries serve up good dining selections, from gourmet burgers and premium steaks to fresh-roasted coffees.

Watch the tournament website for more details coming soon! UPTOWN Entertainment District | 2221 Richard Arrington Jr Blvd North | Birmingham, AL 35203



Additional tournament information will be available at Rostrum | WINTER 2017 29






• Learn how to move to the next level in your debate career • Learn the strategies that DEBATE CHAMPIONS use to win tournaments • It’s a BLAST! Although you work hard and learn alot, it will be a fun-filled camp with many lasting memories

Listen to what Nick Ramsey said about the MSU Debate Camp “MSU Debate Camp offers the best possible camp experience. After having gone to a big national camp, I came to truly appreciate what makes Missouri State’s camp special. The lab leaders are really knowledgeable. The camp is small enough that you get plenty of personal attention. They proved willing and able to work with debaters from all backgrounds and experience levels.” Nick placed 3rd place in the NFL National Debate Tournament.

2 Week Policy

(June 25 - July 8) $600 Commuters • $1,300 Dorm

3 Week Policy

(June 25 - July 13) $900 Commuters • $1,950 Dorm

1 Week Novice

(July 9 - July 13) $300 Commuters • $650 Dorm

Event Camp Week

(July 10 - July 13) Lincoln-Douglas • Public Forum Congress • Extemp • Interpretation College Credit Options for 2 & 3 week camps $200, 3 credit hours, public speaking


MSU debaters have been in elims of all major national tournaments, including NDT semifinals. Recent MSDI alumni have been offered over $375,000 in college debate scholarships.

New 3-week options.

Three-week students may choose from a traditional judge, kritik, or event camp track for their final week.

Focus is on skill development:

This is the most effective means to rapid debater development. You will be in more practice rounds and speeches at the MSU debate camp. You will be in practice rounds and speeches by day 2 of camp, far faster than most debate camps.


JUNE 2, 2017 Space is limited. To register go to

Pragmatic approach for your circuit:

Many of our attendees come from middle of the topic circuits that use lay judges. MSDI will cover EVERY core case on the Education topic and negative strategies that will work on YOUR circuit. We will teach you how to adapt arguments to your circuit. and select MSDI

For more information contact



MSU Debate Camp is about half the expense of many debate institutes, but with staff comparable to top labs in other camps. By adding the college credit option, you might save an amount comparable to full tuition.


Big Questions in the Classroom A fun and easy way to earn up to $1,700! by Lauren Burdt


efore you know it, district and state tournaments will be over, and your students will be entering the fourth quarter with summer on their minds. Big Questions can be an easy, fun way for teachers to engage their students and earn money for their classrooms during this time! High school teachers who invite students to debate the new Big Questions format may earn up to $1,700 per event. Big Questions is a great opportunity to introduce new debaters to aspects of different debate events, as well as a creative way for experienced students to hone their skills in particular areas. Individuals in Oratory can practice speaking persuasively about technical topics, and extempers can gain experience forming arguments with limited preparation time. Interp students can learn to present maturely on personal topics, while students in Public Forum or Policy Debate can try their hand at debating philosophical topics with or without a partner. As Jeffrey Stoppenhagen, coach at Columbia High School in Idaho, notes, “What intrigued me about Big Questions is it really is a hybrid of several debate formats, which helped me introduce debate, in general, to our students. I am excited to offer this again as a way to introduce debate, and debate theory, in my classroom.” A student at Prattville High School in Alabama agrees: “I am personally not a debater; I perform speeches. I was very

Use the money for classroom supplies, an end of the year banquet, covering Nationals expenses, or increasing your team’s budget.

This is the third in a series of articles on the Big Questions funding opportunity. The next will appear in the Spring 2017 Rostrum.

much out of my comfort zone, but I enjoyed it and am happy I challenged myself.” Big Questions is designed to be accessible to anyone, even teachers new to debate. Big Questions is a great interactive strategy to introduce students to an interdisciplinary topic in a lowpressure competitive or non-competitive environment. Students actively participate in research—understanding philosophy and comparing scientific theories. Regina Warren from Plymouth High School in Indiana is doing Big Questions Debates in her classroom. “Working in a project-based learning environment, we are always encouraged to ‘think outside of the box.’ Being a speech coach and knowing the power of expressing yourself, this is the perfect project for my advanced English students.” She continues, “I want them to think beyond points in a grade book and really experience a debate with competition, and Big Questions is a perfect opportunity for us.” All you need is a minimum of 15 high school students to compete in three rounds to earn money for your classroom. The amount of money awarded to event hosts depends on the number of students that compete. Free teaching resources are available, and we are here to help make this as easy and fun as possible!

Getting Started Fill out an application on the NSDA website. Apply as soon as you can, even if details are tentative. Once we receive your information, we will send you three plaques and $300 to help you cover any upfront costs.

Teaching Big Questions in the Classroom Utilize the free resources on the NSDA website! • In class, watch the “Introduction to Big Questions Video” and walk through the student format manual. Watch the demonstration round video to get a feel for what a debate looks like. • Discuss different topic arguments in class. Use the beginner, intermediate, or advanced topic analysis to guide discussion. • Walk through the sample cases and encourage students to look through the evidence packs to get a feel for the range of arguments available.

2016-2017 Topic – Resolved: Science leaves no room for free will. 32

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(left) Big Questions participants from Prattville High School in Alabma (opposite page) Students from Northside High School in Fort Smith, Arkansas

On Competition Day

Not a debate teacher? Not a problem! Big Questions is designed to be accessible to anyone new to debate, and we are here to help you along the way.

• Use the Big Questions lesson plans to have guided discussions on common philosophical positions, research methods, what makes a source legitimate, logical fallacies in arguments, and how to dissect scientific studies. Robert Prichard from Granite Bay High School in California has integrated Big Questions into his curriculum. “I assigned the debate in my classroom and walked the kids through the format, as well as giving a week and a half for case work and practice debates. All students were really fascinated by the topic and worked hard to win their debates. We practice against each other frequently, but I think my students enjoyed having a formal competition in the classroom.” One of Robert’s students concurs: “I absolutely love the format of Big Questions. I think my school worked together really well and our teacher was a great resource. The first time I looked at the resolution, I was confused. However, by the end of the in-class tournament, I felt so much more knowledgeable about the concept of free will.”

Preparing for the Competition • Create a schedule for rounds. Do what works best for your class: one round per day, a round each week, have students come in after school, or have two teams debate per class period and let the rest of the class judge. Contact

us for help setting up a schedule! • Recruit judges. Invite other teachers, especially science, philosophy, social studies, or religion teachers who may have unique input on the topic. Ask parent volunteers to come in. Invite your administration, counselors, or administrative assistants to show off the great work your students are doing. Reach out to the speech and debate team at your school for help. All are welcome; special judge training is available on the NSDA website! • Set aside rooms for debates to happen in. We can help you figure out how many rooms you need. Robert got his whole school involved in Big Questions. He describes, “I had teachers and administrators judge the debates, and they all reported how impressed they were with the students. I tried to use the event as a way to increase my team’s visibility and profile in the school. I used a few teachers’ rooms who sat in and watched some debates. Afterward, they asked me for materials to use in their classrooms to facilitate debate in Language Arts.”

• Give one judge primer to each judge. Make sure there are enough ballots printed for each judge to have a separate ballot for each round. • Make a schedule for who debates whom, the room they will debate in, and who will judge. Make sure each debater or team gets to debate three times. We are happy to set the schedule for you! • Determine your winners! The winners will be the students who win the most debates, with the speaker points acting as tiebreakers. • Make the event even better by bringing in snacks, partnering with other teachers, and holding multiple events to make sure students get another chance to practice their skills.

After the Competition Ask students and judges to complete a brief, online survey. Send the results of your event to the Big Questions Project Manager, and give feedback on the reporting form on the NSDA website. We will get you the second portion of your grant award based on the number of students who competed in your event! To learn more about Big Questions and to apply to host an event, please visit our website or contact Lauren Burdt, Project Manager of Big Questions Debates.


EMAIL See page 28 to learn about our 2017 Big Questions Capstone Event!

This publication was made possible through the support of a grant from the John Templeton Foundation. The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the John Templeton Foundation. Rostrum | WINTER 2017 33


Around the World in a Day An Innovative Approach to World Schools Debate at the District Tournament

by Megan West


dding a new competitive event to one of the largest districts in the country can be an overwhelming endeavor. Last year, we added three. A little background: In 2015, we selected our World Schools team by an application process. Like many districts around the country, we had little experience with the new event, which led to little interest. We set parameters for which students could apply (competition at the district tournament, junior or senior, and at least a 3.0 GPA) and had a handful of students submit applications. We selected a team to go to Birmingham, but ultimately, felt that they underperformed—perhaps because we had only assessed them on paper. In 2016, our District Committee decided that, like the piloted events of Program Oral Interpretation and Informative Speaking, World Schools Debate would be a full competitive event at the district tournament. There was one problem: we did not know how to run a World Schools event at the district tournament. Thus, we did what any group of debate coaches does to solve a problem: debated it until we found a solution. The requirements were simple; our solution had to (a) provide a fair competitive opportunity for all students who wanted to participate; (b) be easily accessible for of our community judges; and (c) objectively determine who would compete for our team we sent to Nationals. Ultimately, my husband (in our usual debate-centered pillow talk) had an epiphany that was the start of an excellent solution to our problem. Over the years, he and I have had many arguments about speaker points (he loathes them, while I tolerate them because I acknowledge


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(above) Team Florida Manatee won the 2016 USA World Schools Debate Invitational held last June in Salt Lake City, Utah.

their necessity). One of the opinions we share is that only ranking debaters (instead of giving them speaker points) would improve the arbitrary nature of said speaker points while still maintaining their purpose. And this concept is precisely where the Manatee World Schools Debate model was born. Here’s how we brought it to life: • Every school was allowed to enter up to two students in the competition, which we decided to hold concurrently with our “Novice Championship” tournament in May. Remember, these students must still meet the parameters outlined above (junior or senior with 3.0 or above GPA who competed in a primary event at the district tournament). • Every student was guaranteed four rounds (and only four rounds) of competition. • Each round, we randomly paired students in teams of three (making sure to avoid both students from any given school being on the same team and any student being on the same team with any other competitor more than twice). For example, Round 1 would be debaters A, B, C versus debaters D, E, F and Round 2 would be debaters A, E, F versus debaters B, C, D. For Round 3, debaters B and C or E and F could not be on the same team. • During prep time, the debaters were responsible for determining who was giving what speech. • Each round, two judges ranked the students 1-6 (1 being the best debater in the round). We encouraged the judges to consider content, logic, organization, delivery, and teamwork

in their decisions. To clarify, no wins or losses were given. • At the end of the day (after each debater had completed four rounds), we tallied their ranks and chose the top five students to represent our district at Nationals. In the end, the tournament ran flawlessly, the debaters had a great time competing with students from other schools, the judges loved watching the “magic” happen, and perhaps most importantly, because there were no winners or losers, all of the competitors were laser-focused on being the best team player and debater possible. We tabbed everything easily on a spreadsheet, and everyone felt very comfortable that we were sending our best representatives to Nationals. My favorite part of our story is that our World Schools team ended up taking home the National Championship in Salt Lake City. Almost a year later, I still believe that a large part of that success is because we had a fair and balanced method of selecting the best of the best to represent all of our awesome Manatees on that stage.

Each district has autonomy in selecting up to two World Schools Debate teams of three to five students each. Consult the High School Unified Manual for more information.

Megan West is a one-diamond coach and the District Chair of the Florida Manatee District. She also serves as the full-time coordinator of the Broward County Debate Initiative.

Public Forum, Lincoln-Douglas, Congress Interpretation, Original Oratory, and Extemp

Sessions for any schedule! Commuter and Residential options available

June 26 - July 9 Ft. Lauderdale

July 10 - July 23 Dallas


July 24 - August 6 Ft. Lauderdale

Dedicated Staff The CBI staff includes some of the best speech and debate coaches and alumni in the country. Our instructors come from diverse backgrounds to ensure that students learn from a variety of perspectives. CBI provides more one-on-one coaching than any program in the country, ensuring that every student receives the attention they deserve.

Staff to Student Ratio Every student gets the attention they deserve What is a Champion? At CBI, becoming a Champion is about more than winning trophies. We teach students the leadership and advocacy skills that will be useful for the rest of their lives. While our approach doesn’t focus on trophies, CBI scholars have won




achieve incredible success at local, regional, and national tournaments.

Save The Date! August 24–27, 2017 Join the National Speech & Debate Association for the inaugural national education conference for speech and debate in Denver, Colorado with our gracious hosts Cherry Creek High School and the Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA). Attendees can earn up to 20 hours of professional development as well as possible graduate credit hours!

For information about hotels, schedule, and more, please visit take advantage of our early bird discount! Register by March 3, 2017

Members — $199 | Non-Members — $299


Fulfilling Our Vision: National Education Conference for Speech and Debate

OUR VISION We envision a world in which every student has access to competitive speech and debate activities. We are the leading voice in the development of resources, competitive and ethical standards, curricular and co-curricular opportunities, and recognition systems for our vast network of student, coach, and alumni members.

by Steve Schappaugh


he National Speech & Debate Association is committed to being a leading voice for all aspects of speech and debate. The organization has taken great strides when it comes to being that voice in key areas of our vision. The establishment of an Education Conference is a leap toward being the leading voice in curricular opportunities. Steve Meadows, District Chair and Education Conference Planning Committee Member, puts it best: “It’s one more announcement to the educational world that we matter. We’re here, we are on equal standing, and we want a seat at the table.” He continues, “The NSDA has established itself as THE voice of scholastic speech and debate. Now that we have moved beyond ‘just’ competitions to also work with classroom curricula, it seems like a logical step.” For a number of years the organization has been doing work to create curricular resources for teachers. From professional accreditation opportunities, lesson plans, and sponsored textbooks, the organization has gone on to develop more robust unit plans. Given the ramped up efforts related to creating curricular materials, we are now poised to do bigger and better things for our teachers when it comes

to professional development—an education conference.

Goals of the Conference

The conference is being designed to support teachers in the classroom. “Connecting new, experienced, and retired educators, supporting these educators in the classroom and beyond, and inspiring each of us to be the best practitioners of the rhetorical arts are our goals for this conference,” says Board Member and Curriculum Committee Chair Pam McComas. The conference goes beyond supporting those who teach speech and debate. We are working to provide as many cross-curricular sessions as possible. Speech and debate coaches who teach different subjects during the day will also find benefits for their English or Math or Science classrooms by attending. “We are a premier group heavily invested in many aspects of education. Critical thinking, research, forming arguments, and properly supporting them. . . who better? So much of what we do is applicable across all curricular areas,” says Don Crabtree, Board President and Education Conference Planning Committee Member. Hosting a conference is another way to provide recognition for the outstanding work our members do as

well as advocate for our profession. “Some of the greatest minds in education are found within the speech and debate community. It only makes sense that we would have an education conference for ourselves and for those outside ‘our world’—and who better to make presentations than people who teach presentation skills?” explains Jay Rye, Board Member and Education Conference Planning Committee Member.

More Than a Clinic

The NSDA has held coach clinics at Nationals before, but they are in the midst of competition and cannot be the focus of many who attend. Rye explains the unique benefit to a conference compared to clinics: “Adding a professional conference not associated with a tournament will provide adults the opportunity to focus on this segment of education without worrying about if their students are doing what they are supposed to be doing. Without the ‘chaperone role’ looming over our heads, we can be more relaxed and open about our free exchange of ideas, thoughts, and experiences.” Having a conference outside of the traditional tournament model also enables additional benefits that are seen at common education conferences. “I think the ability to

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network and share ideas is invaluable. Many of us have experienced it at other educational conferences like NCTE or the AP Conference. It’s time for the NSDA and our world to have this opportunity,” says Meadows.


The conference will be held August 24-27 in Denver, Colorado. We are excited to partner with Cherry Creek High School and the Colorado High School Activities Association for our inaugural conference. “We are thrilled to host the NSDA Education Conference,” says Martha Benham, Cherry Creek High School Director of Speech and Debate. “Providing opportunities for educators to share their knowledge and to collaborate with others is essential to our success and the success of our students. I am very lucky to work with amazing colleagues at Cherry Creek, in Colorado, and throughout the nation. The opportunity to have all of them in the same place working together to learn is tremendously exciting!” The Education Conference Planning Committee did a great deal of work in determining where to hold the event. Denver features a desirable location, major hub for air travel, affordable hotel pricing, and a state rich in history and tradition in the National Speech & Debate Association. In fact, Colorado was home for a short period of time for the NSDA, so in a way, this is a quasi-homecoming for our inaugural education conference. Significant deliberation went into setting the dates for the conference, as well. After considerable thought, the committee determined that speech and debate educators give up much of their summer, and every other education conference researched is offered throughout the school year. With advance notice, we are optimistic that administrators will support your ability to attend this professional development opportunity.


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Make Plans to Attend

Our early bird registration discount is good through March 3, 2017 (National Speech and Debate Education Day!). You can register for the conference online at conferences. If you sign up before March 3, members register for $199 and non-members for $299. After March 3, the rates increase to $249 for members and $349 for nonmembers. We encourage all participants to stay at the Hilton Garden Inn Denver Tech Center. We have negotiated special rates with this hotel, and they include breakfast in your rate. Half of the conference will take place in the hotel, so it is the perfect destination. Reservations must be made by August 3, 2017; however, we have a limited room block, so it is important to make your reservations as soon as you know you will attend. The group code is NSD, which will guarantee the rate of $112 per night. A direct link for reservations is also available on the conference website.

SCHEDULE OVERVIEW August 24 6:00 p.m. reception 7:00 p.m. opening dinner and keynote at Hilton Garden Inn Denver Tech Center August 25 Full day of sessions at Hilton Garden Inn Denver Tech Center August 26 Full day of sessions at Cherry Creek High School August 27 Morning sessions at Cherry Creek High School

Steve Schappaugh is the Director of Community Engagement for the NSDA.

SESSION PREVIEWS We have 40 engaging sessions planned! Below is an overview of several topics and presenters to pique your interest. The full list will be published online at


Discovering Your Voice: A Perspective on Helping Students of Color Excel in Forensics Presenter: Dr. Tommie Lindsey, Jr. James Logan High School, California Having had a successful 40-year career teaching a diverse population of students in the Bay Area, Dr. Lindsey has been able to develop some unique techniques for helping students be successful in forensics as well as in their lives after high school. More than 90% of his students move on to four-year colleges and have been able to carry their commitment to social justice and their dedication to service well beyond the classroom. They are only capable of doing this because they have discovered and developed their own voices in forensics and have grown to embody their team’s mantra of being “voices for the voiceless.”

Ensuring Access to Speech and Debate for Students with Disabilities Presenter: Thomas Mayes, J.D. Iowa Department of Education This session will review federal laws that require schools to provide students with disabilities an equal opportunity for participation in extracurricular and nonacademic activities. This session will explain how those laws apply to speech and debate competitors with disabilities, and the supports that schools and associations may be obligated to provide.

Envisioning a New Standard for Speech, Debate, and Communication Education Presenter: David A. Yastremski Ridge High School, New Jersey Over the past several decades, many organizations have created standards dealing with speaking, argumentation, listening, and media literacy. For educators, such standards provide direction toward helping students, of all ages, develop their voice and confidence as communicators. On a policy level, such standards help states and school systems recognize the communication discipline as a significant, relevant, and purposeful course of study, worthy of its own identity in licensure, state/school requirements, and overall contribution to the whole child. Along with members of the National Communication Association, the International Listening Association, and the National Association for Media Literacy Education, the current standards will be reviewed, in order to consider how they currently function in our K-12 classrooms in order to raise the question whether bridging the organizations can foster and promote a new vision of communication education.

Grace in the Lion’s Den: A Technology Empowered Confrontation of Racism Presenters: Andy Charrier, Dr. Becky Bauer, Marilyn Buchvold Global Academy, Minnesota

Grace in The Lion’s Den empowers students to use technology to deconstruct racism. This project is inspired by Princeton professor Ruha Benjamin who asks, “How do we make our schools laboratories of democratic institutions for social change? Where we experiment with technologies of love, reciprocity, and justice?” Apps create

a multimodal learning experience that responds to what Harvard researcher Matthew Desmond calls “five fallacies of racism.” Students express themselves through photography, academic conversation, poetry, and public speaking.

Holding a Debate Day at Your School Presenter: Jeffrey Miller

many personal and pragmatic walks of life. Joe and Pam believe in the power of the spoken word—the power of words and honest emotions and discernible truths— and how “Interp” and “character building” are valuable building blocks to create some real latitude in the Communication Process of Speaker, Message, Listener, and Feedback. This session will be from one teacher to another; it will focus on offering a differentiated learning style that just might turn the light bulb on for some kids.

Marist School, Georgia Challenged to create a day that centered around teaching students to learn how to “agree to disagree,” I created an Informed Discourse Day for the upperclass students at my school. The day focused around social justice and challenged all students to engage in discussions, dialogue, and debate. After completing this successful day, I realized that this is something that could be modeled at any school across the country. The day not only had non-debaters learn about social justice and engage in a topic they wouldn’t in their core classes, but it also offered the student body a spotlight on the members of our speech and debate team.

Interp: Bringing Characters to Life Presenters: Joe and Pam Wycoff Apple Valley High School, Minnesota This session will address the basics of oral interpretation, not only as they apply to competition, but also how they apply to the inner workings of effective interpersonal (even intrapersonal) communication. Bringing characters to life means that we bring meaningful communication to life—and with that comes an understanding of the power and potential of both verbal and non-verbal communication. Understanding Interp skills and creating believable characters transcends the competitive realm. One becomes more than a good performer: each person becomes a master storyteller, a teacher of didactic messages that are creative, relevant, and transferable to

Investigating and Addressing Gender Differences in Debate Presenter: Shuntá Jordan Pace Academy, Georgia In this interactive session, participants will investigate gender differences in speech and debate. By understanding the issues faced by students in the classroom and debate spaces, participants will reflect on how actions and inaction foster and perpetuate beliefs of gender inequality and in response, come up with solutions to better serve all districts.

Riding the Zombie Wave: Apocalyptic Strategies for Advancing Argumentation Skills Across the Curriculum Presenters: Kevin Minch, Jared Young, Tyler Unsell Truman State University and Park Hill High School, Missouri The panelists will explore three aspects of the Zombie Scholars Academy curriculum that can be deployed in teachers’ own classrooms. The session will begin with a brief orientation to the approach of zombies as a metaphor. The bulk of the session will be devoted to the discussion of specific strategies including: (1) The Zombie Apocalypse Survival Debate; (2) The Bug-Out Bag Survival Supply Discussion; and (3) Disaster Preparedness Public Service Announcement Argumentation. Copies of lesson plans derived from the programming will be shared.

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“We produce more than 2,400 awards for the National Tournament alone. Imagine what we can do for your school or — Chad Wagner, tournament!” Trophy Shop Manager for the NSDA


TROPHY SHOP Order tournament trophies, school awards, plaques, medals, and more from the National Speech & Debate Association’s Trophy Shop!

We have thousands to choose from, or you can create customized awards for your event! As a member, you have access to wholesale prices and early invoicing. Learn more at


YOU The Next


2017 Regional Competitions Greater Texas: February 4 - Pflugerville, TX Western: March 18 - Sherman Oaks, CA Mid-West: April 7-8 - Independence, MO Mid-Atlantic: May 5-6 - Washington, D.C. Northeast: May 13 - Mineola, NY Online: May 20 To sign up, go to


Women in Competitive Forensics by Angelique Ronald

When I was 16 years old, I was walking out of the room after finishing a Lincoln-Douglas round when the judge grabbed me by the arm. “Hold on a minute,” he said, catching up with me just outside the door. Thinking he maybe needed directions back to the judge room, I spun around and smiled, asking how I could help. With a suggestive smile, he slowly looked me up and down, then said, “Well, I was hoping I could get your phone number. I want to take you out sometime.” My heart sank into my stomach. He was at least 25. I swallowed hard and started making polite excuses: I’m only 16 (“that’s okay”), I have a boyfriend (“he doesn’t need to know”), and I just don’t think it’s a


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Author’s Note: Throughout this piece, for the ease of communication and clarity, we use terms and labels like “girl” and “woman.” This article is inclusive of our trans, gender non-binary, femmepresenting, and/or identifying members and their experiences as women in speech and debate.

good idea. With that last excuse, his expression turned from lecherous to angry. “If that’s how you’re going to be. . .” he trailed off, holding up the ballot and writing my male opponent’s code as the winner. He winked at me and walked away. I was 16.

When I was 15, I was debating with my male partner in a Policy round against an all-male team, with a young, male judge. When I stood up to speak, the judge told me that if I leaned over to expose my chest, I would get higher speaker points and help my team win. My partner was uncomfortable, but quiet. The other team hooted in laughter. I was 15.

While speech and debate experiences begin in the classroom or afterschool program, many students spend a significant amount of time in competitions at other schools on weekends. These competitive environments can provide unique challenges for young women. Historically, although women have competed in high school forensics from the beginning of the National Speech & Debate Association, they have been disproportionately underrepresented in the world of competitive speech and debate. Since Policy Debate is the oldest of the debate formats, it can be used to generate a historical perspective. A review of Policy Debate finals at the NSDA National Tournament reveals some interesting statistics: from 19311941, there were seven women in the final rounds of Policy Debate. Between 1950-1994, there were six, total. In 1995,

two women won. Between 1996 and 2015, there were six more (four of those were from the same school). That means that from 1931-2015, there were only 21 women represented in the final Policy rounds, 19% of the competitors. Demographically, active NSDA student membership is currently 51.4% female-identifying, per self reported data. While there is naturally going to be a variance from year to year, we should, on average, expect to see a similar percentage of young women represented on our final stage in each of the events. However, that is not happening, and we can see that in the numbers from the 2016 National Tournament in Salt Lake City, Utah. Of the top 27 Lincoln-Douglas debaters at the National Tournament in 2016, we find just seven girls (or: roughly 25% of the competitors remaining). In Public Forum Debate, the top 32 teams consist of 55 boys and nine girls (or: roughly 86% male and 14% female). In Policy Debate, we find that the top 24 teams consist of 39 boys and nine girls (or: the pool is roughly 19% female), but with each progressing round, female representation in Policy Debate at the 2016 National Tournament got worse and worse. By round 14 of Policy Debate, there was one girl left on the six remaining teams (or: the pool is roughly 92% male). The gender disparity in debate is frequently excused by the commonly held belief that young women show disproportionate success in speech events. However, this is not true when looking to the National Tournament numbers for 2016. Of the top 14 competitors in International Extemp, only five were female (or: roughly 35%). In the U.S. Extemp top 14, there are just three girls (or: roughly 21%). Even the Interpretation events, which historical data does show to be the most regularly and equitably diversified with regard to gender, are still not disproportionately weighted to female competitors. While the 2016 results for Humorous Interpretation show a top 14 that has six female competitors (or: roughly 43%), the top 14 for Dramatic Interpretation consists of just three young women.

In 2015, there were no girls in DI finals. In 2014, there was one girl in DI finals. Since 1985, when the NSDA abandoned a gender split in Extemporaneous Speaking and moved to Domestic and International divisions, there have been only two female national champions in U.S. Extemp and five in International Extemp. There have been 18 women who have won Oratory since 1931. After becoming the National Champion in Dramatic Interpretation in 2016, Izabella Czejdo learned that she is part of a small group of women to achieve that accomplishment since the late 1960s: “It made me appreciate my moments on the final stage, not only from the perspective of being honored to perform at that level, but also from a historical one. I have seen more national-level final rounds with only men than with those with a majority of women. It’s discouraging to newer competitors, as it should never be implicitly understood that women only sometimes can compete at a high level with the same success.” No coaches who regularly work with students in speech and debate competition think men are naturally more talented than women; in fact, research indicating women having greater advantages in oral communication from an early age would seem to favor them in competition. So, what factors come into play when competition is involved?

What Experiences Do Women Face When They Compete In Forensics? Izabella Czejdo recounts: “At a large competition in May of my senior year, right before I went on stage to perform, a high ranking tournament official repeatedly criticized my makeup choices. I had just turned 18. I was stepping up to what was my biggest audience to date and someone was telling me that my makeup was going to interfere with how the judges viewed my performance. In that moment,

any one of the male competitors could have stepped in and said something, but no one did.” A current 16-year-old competitor, who asked to remain anonymous, explains a recent experience: “At a tournament earlier this year, I had what I thought was an awesome cross-examination with my opponent. It was fast-paced with lots of great back and forth, but I got the best of him toward the end. As soon as the timer beeped, he said under his breath (but loud enough for everyone in the room to hear), “Wow, what a bitch.” Shocked, I looked to our judge to see if he had heard. He had. He was laughing. After the round, I told my coach, and he insisted I must have misheard. I’ve never felt more alienated in my whole life.” Kelsey Brewer, an NSDA alum: “I remember always walking into the Extemp prep room, wondering if I was going to see another woman who was competing. And even if there were a few, they were almost always gone by the final round. In fact, I can’t remember a single time that there was another woman on the finals stage with me.” An anonymous 18-year-old competitor: “As a trans woman who started my transition midway through my competitive career, I’ve been able to see forensics in a different way than most. I’m the same person inside as I’ve always been, with the same brain, the same way of talking, the same debate skills. But with my transition came a drop in my speaker points, more comments about how I look, and more ballots mentioning me being too bossy or aggressive in round. Before, that aggression was viewed as an asset, but now the exact same thing is viewed as a liability.” Lalee Ibsaa, a 17-year-old senior from Florida: “I received a ballot back that said,

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‘I think heels without straps would complete the look better.’ I just feel that ballots should be a place for you to critique my performance, not my outfit. None of my male teammates have ever gotten a ballot about their suit/tie combo or their shoes, so why do I get them?” Anna Laven, Ed. D., NSDA alum: “I remember getting a critique and being told I was ‘bitchy.’ I had it written on decisions quite a bit in high school. ‘Catty’ was another word used.” Ellie Grossman, a 17-year-old senior currently representing USA Debate on the national World Schools team: “I think it goes without saying that debate can be a challenging environment for women to be in. It’s incredibly common for women to experience sharp criticism for “aggression” when their male opponents get praised for assertiveness. . . I do know women who have been ogled or even harassed by male debaters, making the debate space feel even more hostile that it already does.” Last year, coach Sarah Botsch-McGuinn faced an all too common situation when her female student received inappropriate comments on a ballot for a semifinal Impromptu round at a nationally-renowned invitational. The ballot simply said, “Wear a lower cut dress. You’re beautiful and it will help the judge vote for you.” Sarah explains: “I always have to read all ballots before my students get them. I have had to ‘lose’ ballots with sexual comments, racist comments, and other such things. I think students are really discouraged from participating in debate if they get comments about how they win or lose based on what they look like rather than the arguments they make. I can’t protect them when judges say these things in round, but I can decide to prevent them from reading it on the ballots.”


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An anonymous competitor revealed that she has had to deal with debate arguments minimizing the impact of rape and other forms of sexual assault while facing taunts from male competitors and even judges when these arguments were made. Essentially, some young women face an uncomfortable and, in some cases, even hostile environment as they navigate competition.

What Tradeoffs Do Women Face When They Participate in Competition? Many observers believe that there are unique social tradeoffs faced by women in any public or leadership position. These conflicts emerge even in an organization deeply focused on empowerment of all students, like the National Speech & Debate Association, because they are deeply ingrained into the fundamental fabric of our society. Alice Eagly and Linda Carli observe: “In the language of psychologists, the clash is between two sets of associations: communal and agentic. Women are associated with communal qualities, which convey a concern for the compassionate treatment of others. They include being especially affectionate, helpful, friendly, kind, and sympathetic, as well as interpersonally sensitive, gentle, and soft-spoken. In contrast, men are associated with agentic qualities, which convey assertion and control. They include being especially aggressive, ambitious, dominant, self-confident, and forceful, as well as self-reliant and individualistic. The agentic traits are also associated in most people’s minds with effective leadership— perhaps because a long history of male domination of leadership roles has made it difficult to separate the leader associations from the male associations. As a result, women leaders find themselves in a double bind.” This double bind extends directly into the world of competitive forensics, as Amanda Wilkins and

Jeffrey Hobbs explain: “In debate, as with any public speaking forum, a speaker is judged competent when she takes on such ‘masculine’ qualities as aggressiveness, argumentativeness, and dynamism. When women attempt to adopt these characteristics, however, they are regarded as unfeminine. It is the very qualities defining competence that women try to embrace and, in doing so, are criticized. Women in debate are often chastised by both men and women for seeming too aggressive and too unfeminine.” Transgender, gender-fluid, gender non-binary, and femme-presenting competitors often find themselves in a unique position for experiencing this competitive, gender-based double bind. Sonya Kalara, a current competitor who identifies as an androgynous woman, explains: “I’m in a pretty unique situation because I am masculine presenting. When I don’t correct people, my aggression becomes part of the round; it’s accepted and it’s retaliated against in kind. But when I alert people to my female gender identity, my aggression isn’t matched, it receives condescension instead. Judges go along similar lines; they will usually only mention my aggression when I am feminine identified because none of the guys will address me head on or engage with me, preferring to let me portray myself as the bitchy woman and themselves as the knights in shining armor.” A sophomore competitor sums up the experience of many women in debate succinctly: “As a girl debater, I’m either

perceived as too meek or too bitchy. There is no in-between.”

Forensics Is The Solution, Not The Problem The double bind that women face is one that begins and extends well beyond the world of forensics, but the fact is that our activity has the power to make a difference. Forensics is not the problem, but it is an integral part of greater society’s solution. Forensic educators in particular are in a unique position to invoke positive change for all of our students. One coach expressed her obligation this way: “It occurred to me that I have a voice now that has some influence—and what is a voice for if not used for positive change? Some young person (we know rape has no boundaries) out there is going to be at the end of a hallway at 11:00 p.m. on a Friday night, alone with some either clueless or misogynistic opponent reading this hogwash (“no impact to rape”), adjudicated by some potted plant of a judge who will not use the power of the pen (or the push of a button) to bring some education into the room. And they are going to be intimidated, or scared, or hurt, or too timid to say anything. And there will be some coarse laughter and some winks and our young person will have to deal with it—all alone at the end of a hallway in some school somewhere. I’ve been alone in that room with an opponent and a judge like that—it was one of the loneliest moments I’ve ever felt in my life. If I don’t want anyone else to ever have to experience this, I have to speak up.” Many believe that a key starting point is to deny people making inappropriate comments the safety of polite silence. Competitor Ellie Grossman: “I really do think things the community is already doing, like teaching about sexism and diversity within the community, is a good

start. But it isn’t enough. Coaches and competitors need to check one another when they see sexist attitudes and behavior. That’s especially true when young women are facing sexism from adults. Many girls have received sexist and hurtful comments from judges, but it’s hard for students to be able to do anything when they aren’t in positions of power. Because of that, sometimes coaches will have to confront other adults, even if it might not be comfortable. Everyone can work hard to check bad behaviors within themselves and to talk to other people about their actions when they can. With effort and cooperation, the community can continue to push forward and fight against sexism.” “Zero Indifference” is a policy promoted by the Southern Poverty Law Center and recommended by the American Civil Liberties Union; the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network; the AntiDefamation League; the Respect for All Project; and Teaching Tolerance. Edward San Nicolas explains: “In the same vein as building schools of character and determinedly teaching social responsibility, Mara Sapon-Shevin in Chapter 7, ‘Zero Indifference and Teachable Moments: School Leadership for Diversity, Inclusion, and Justice,’ maintains that leaders need to implement a zero-indifference policy to bullying and discrimination in schools. Leaders should do so in such a way that rather than acting as bystanders to instances of bullying and social injustice, students learn to become multiculturally literate, to recognize discriminatory practices, and to act and speak out against the social injustices they encounter in their day-to-day lives. Sapon-Shevin, Professor of Inclusive Education at Syracuse University, states that schools need to take an ‘activist stance’ to establish ‘an inclusive, diverse school community.’

She says, ‘Our goal cannot be to mirror the injustices and inequalities of the broader society (and world) but rather, to provide students with the skills, attitudes, and confidence they need in order to actively transform the world.’” Coaches, parents, students, and NSDA leadership are collaboratively working to provide inclusive and innovative solutions to empower our competitors and each other. These solutions fall under three branches: representation, validation, and amplification.

Representation More than ever, it is important that students see themselves in their NSDA coaches. Our strengths are their strengths. Our successes are their successes. Representation matters and it begins before students even walk into the tournament. While self-reported data tells us that 48.8% of active National Speech & Debate Association coaches are female-identifying, the representation of strong, female leadership at all levels of cannot be overstated in the promotion of gender equality in the competitive speech and debate community. The effect it has on students is pronounced. NSDA alum Alexis Sheffield explains: “My freshman year, I was not confident enough to stand up for myself and made myself smaller at tournaments. After listening to my coach and educating myself, I found that how I was being treated wasn’t okay. My experience in forensics would have been very different if I did not have the appropriate,

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comfortable speaking up, and those reports have to be taken seriously. This ombudsperson often has special training about how to properly help in these unique situations, but this training is actually something that many teachers across the country are already mandated to go through. With a number of qualified individuals often already on campus, it becomes increasingly easy for tournaments to implement this liaison and make a direct, positive impact for our students. Through these small but proactive measures, we can create a space where coaches no longer feel the need to “lose” a questionable or inappropriate ballot. professional mentorship of an adult woman.” There are a number of real world ways that we can actively increase the representation and participation of women in forensics. First, we have to address the issue of recruiting more women to coach in our activity. This can come from two directions: young women currently in the activity and women who are currently not involved in our community. Current participants can be encouraged to mentor younger women on their own teams and in feeder programs. They can be encouraged to return when in college as assistant coaches. They can be recruited for summer programs. Workshops and affinity meetings tailored to those interested in women’s issues can be held at the National Tournament and at its Leadership and Educational Conferences. In order to reach women not currently in the activity, we can initiate and expand outreach efforts at colleges and to our alumni to encourage women to return to mentor and encourage younger women in the activity. When it comes to tournament administration, awareness of equal representation of marginalized groups is of high importance in everything


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from judge pool selection to protest committee composition, as all involved have a role in deciding what behavior and social norms are acceptable, valued, and promoted. Judges specifically have the incredible power to address harmful discourse in-round, and it is vital that judge training includes education on how to do that in a productive, positive way. Behavioral expectations for judges should be clear and all violations of those standards should be handled promptly through discussion or even removal of the problem judges from the tournament. Competitors should also have the ability to see people who look like them in the judge pool. Tournament directors should be encouraged to look for diversity in their judges and in their elimination round pools. Mutual judge preference systems should be examined to see if competitors are using them to reject diverse judges. Another key change that is being well received at an increasing number of tournaments around the country is the implementation of a single “point-person” for students or coaches to contact with concerns about the experiences of marginalized groups throughout the tournament. This person’s job is to sit in tab and help address issues like inappropriate comments, bullying, or harassment. Anyone should feel safe and

Validation Validation, or the process of acknowledging and accepting the experiences of another person as valid, is an often overlooked component in the path to equality. A key way to promote validation is to create spaces that facilitate the sharing of common experiences, and this is something that is increasingly happening in the world of speech and debate. In December 2016, Notre Dame High School in San Jose, California, hosted The Girls’ Invitational. A mixture of round-robin style competition and moderated forums for and by women, The Girls’ Invitational created a space where all young women competitors (whether cisgender, transgender, non-binary, or femme-identifying) and coaches could openly discuss, share, and problem solve issues that affect women in all levels of forensics. According to Sarah Botsch-McGuinn, coach at Notre Dame High School, “It’s more than a tournament. The Girls’ Invitational is part of a movement.” While girls’ tournaments that afford students the opportunity to come together are one way to offer female participants validation, further facilitating discourse in all forms only strengthens our entire activity. It is increasingly important for anyone who has ever identified as a woman to

actively and regularly use our voices to empower those around us, whether we are participating in forums like the NSDA’s Inclusion Seminar at the Blake tournament, leading discussions at practice with all of our students, or writing articles for publications like Rostrum. These type of experiences may be a way to reduce the “double-bind” young women can find themselves in and, instead, offer a path to empowerment that can last a lifetime.

“Women are told how to speak, how to look, and how to act. But the fact of the matter is that this is not just a problem in competitive forensics—it’s a problem all throughout society. Fortunately, and in part due to skills gained through debate, I feel that I am in a better position to fight against these double standards. I learned that I can speak out—and I can speak as loudly and aggressively as

I want to—no matter who tells me otherwise. We can challenge unfair and sexist expectations in forensics and society with our voices, our bodies, and our successes.”

Angelique Ronald has coached for 12 years in Bakersfield, California.

Amplification Amplification refers to a technique that gained national recognition in 2016 and provides a way for even bystanders to help women in representation. Juliet Eilperin explains: “When President Obama took office, two-thirds of his top aides were men. Women complained of having to elbow their way into important meetings. And when they got in, their voices were sometimes ignored. So female staffers adopted a meeting strategy they called ‘amplification’: When a woman made a key point, other women would repeat it, giving credit to its author. This forced the men in the room to recognize the contribution—and denied them the chance to claim the idea as their own.” Amplification is a tool that can be used to strengthen and validate our voices in the world of speech and debate. If a woman speaks up about her experience, we should each consciously amplify that voice until it is heard and addressed in a positive and productive way. Amplification offers an immediate solution to what can feel like an impossible situation. After all, as speech and debate coaches, we know that there is only one thing more powerful than a single voice: our collective voices, brought together to impact change in the world. NSDA alum Kelsey White offers this closing thought:

References Anonymous. “Re: Women in Competitive Forensics.” Received by the author, December 6, 2016. Anonymous. “Re: Women in Competitive Forensics.” Received by the author, January 25, 2017. Botsch-McGuinn, Sarah. “Re: Women in Competitive Forensics.” Received by the author, December 10, 2016. Brewer, Kelsey. “Re: Women in Competitive Forensics.” Received by the author, December 9, 2016. Czejdo, Izabella. “Re: Women in Competitive Forensics.” Received by the author, December 10, 2016. Eagly, Alice H., & Carli, Linda L. “Women and the labyrinth of leadership.” Harvard Business Review 85.9 (2007): 62. Eilperin, Juliet. “White House Women Want to Be in the Room Where It Happens.” The Washington Post. September 13, 2016, n.p. Grossman, Ellie. “Re: Forensics | Women in Competition | your thoughts.” Received by the author, December 9, 2016. Ibsaa, Lalee. “Re: Women in Competitive Forensics.” Received by the author, December 10, 2016. Kalara, Sonya. “Re: Women in Competitive Forensics.” Received by the author, January 27, 2017. Laven, Anna. “Re: Women in Competitive Forensics.” Received by the author, December 10, 2016. San Nicolas, Edward P. “Leadership for Social Justice and Democracy in Our Schools.” Journal of Educational Administration (2013). Sheffield, Alexis. “Re: Forensics | Women in Competition | your thoughts.” Received by the author, December 9, 2016. Timmons, Cindi. “Re: Forensics| Women in Competition | your thoughts.” Received by the author, December 12, 2016. Wilkins, Amanda, & Hobbs, Jeffrey. “A feminist critique of intercollegiate debate.” Contemporary Argumentation & Debate, 18 (1997): 57-67.

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What We're Reading by Amy Seidelman


n addition to producing Rostrum magazine, the NSDA distributes hundreds of thousands of communications via email, mail, and social media each year. While we don’t claim perfection in our word choice, we do make a “conscious” effort to use the right language to convey our point to members and the public accurately and respectfully. If you’re not actively engaged in the evaluation and scrutiny of

language on a regular basis, you may find it helpful to have a go-to resource when contemplating your own word choices, especially in written or prepared speeches. The Conscious Style Guide is one such resource we’ve found useful and reference among our staff. The Conscious Style Guide website was founded by Karen Yin, the writer/editor behind the AP vs. Chicago website and style editor for Copyediting, and has

been adopted as an official reference by corporations including MailChimp. It highlights thought-provoking articles on each topic, as well as points the reader to style guides and reference tools designed by leading organizations in each specialty. At first glance, there is a lot to peruse, but it’s relatively easy to figure out where you need to navigate to get specific assistance on your topic.

What is Conscious Language?

kind compassionate empowering respectful inclusive


Rostrum | WINTER 2017

According to the site: “Conscious language is the art of using words effectively in a specific context. Who is your audience? What tone and level of formality do you want? What are you trying to achieve? Some words are more apt than others. The most important part of conscious language is the conscious part—our intention. Good writers consciously use disagreeable language to strike a dissonant tone. The goal is not to be inoffensive or politically correct (whatever that means), because even language intended to be inclusive and considerate is deeply offensive to many. If you’re interested in conscious language, then know your intention, and evoke and provoke skillfully.”

Examples of conscious language from resources collected in the Style Guide: √ articulate

√ opposite sex

As an adjective, the word is viewed by some as a subjective term that implies it is an exceptional occurrence for people of color to speak confidently, knowledgeably, clearly, eloquently, and/or reasonably on a topic. It is better to report what someone said rather than simply describe them as such.

A term used to distinguish males and females. Some in the LGBT and scientific communities note that sex and gender are not necessarily binary, so avoid this term when addressing gender and transgender issues in favor of “another sex” or “different sexes.”

Source: National Association of Black Journalists Style Guide

√ mental health Avoid derogatory language. Terms such as psycho, crazy, and junkie should not be used. In addition, avoid words like “suffering” or “victim” when discussing those who have mental health challenges. • Preferred: She has a mental health illness. She has a substance use disorder. • Not preferred: She suffers from mental illness. She’s a drug abuser. Source: American Psychiatric Association, Reporting on Mental Health Conditions

Source: National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association Stylebook Supplement On Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Terminology

Avoid “confined to a wheelchair” or “wheelchair-bound” as these terms describe a person only in relationship to a piece of equipment. The terms also are misleading, as wheelchairs can liberate people, allowing them to move about, and they are inaccurate, as people who use wheelchairs are not permanently confined in them, but transfer to sleep, sit in chairs, drive cars, etc. Source: The National Center on Disability and Journalism’s Disability Language Style Guide

√ wheelchair/wheelchairbound/confined to a wheelchair Background: People who use mobility equipment such as a wheelchair, scooter or cane consider their equipment part of their personal space, according to the United Spinal Association. People who use wheelchairs have widely different disabilities and varying abilities. NCDJ Recommendation: It is acceptable to describe a person as “someone who uses a wheelchair,” followed by an explanation of why the equipment is required.

Ways to Use The guide can be a useful reference in your own writing, helping students with language choices, judge training, and more. Because it’s a website, it’s designed to change as language evolves.

Ability + Disability




Ethnicity, Race + Nationality

Gender, Sex + Sexuality


+ More


Guides offered include:

Rostrum | WINTER 2017 51


Curriculum Corner Check out these practical ideas for speech and debate teachers to use in the classroom. Each activity is constructed to last one hour, but plans may be altered to work with your setting.

Cross-Curricular Corner In this lesson, students will craft arguments in core subject areas using claim, warrant, and impact analysis. Prerequisite Knowledge Required: Content-specific

• Closing: Have students go home and write a block to each of their arguments using claim, warrant, and impact analysis. Explain that each student will exchange arguments with a classmate for constructive feedback and potentially participate in mini-debates during the next class. (5 minutes)

Debate Corner

Common Core Standard Addressed: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.11-12.1.A

This lesson is designed to help students gain a deeper understanding of the March/April LD or March PF topic.

Introduce precise, knowledgeable claim(s), establish the significance of the claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that logically sequences the claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.

Prerequisite Knowledge Required: March/April LD Topic or March PF Topic; previous research to be completed on the topics (10-25 cards of Aff/Pro or Neg/Con evidence cut)

• Bell Ringer Activity: Have students in your class read an argument and a block (pre-planned counterpoints) to that argument written by a debater on your team. (5 minutes) • Discuss the structure of the argument and the structure of the block. Ask them to consider ways they could use that in their writing for science, social studies, English, or another subject. (20 minutes)


• Pick a topic that you’re exploring in your core subject area class and assign students positions on a resolution of your choosing. (Examples may include, Resolved: Research essays are easier to write than compare/contrast essays, or Resolved: Fibonacci should be taught in all math curricula.) Have students begin brainstorming arguments to support their side of the resolution. Ask students to write three arguments with claim, warrant, and impact analysis. (30 minutes)

Rostrum | WINTER 2017

Common Core Standard Addressed: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.11-12.2.A Introduce a topic and organize complex ideas, concepts, and information so that each new element builds on that which precedes it to create a unified whole; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., figures, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension. • Bell Ringer Activity: Ask students to journal about

the biggest mistakes that new debaters make when preparing for a new topic. Why do those mistakes happen? (5 minutes) • Split students into groups of two by event (LD or PF). Students should take their previous research and discuss the definitions of the topic. They should be able to re-write the resolution in different terms to clearly explain what the topic is asking students to debate. They should identify two or three key resolutional factors that debaters will need to address. (10 minutes) • Invite students to discuss the affirmative or pro side of the resolution. What are the 10 best arguments they can identify (claims only)? (10 minutes) • When complete, ask students to do the same for the negative or con side of the resolution. (10 minutes) • Closing: Have students create an outline of a topic analysis that they would write for novice students to help explain the topic. They should include resolutional analysis, affirmative/pro overview, negative/con overview, a suggested reading list, and a compilation of the evidence gathered. Give students a due date for their joint topic analysis. (25 minutes)

Interp Corner Students will write compare and contrast essays after observing final round performance videos. Prerequisite Knowledge Required: An understanding of characterization, blocking, and cutting Common Core Standard Addressed: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.11-12.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. • Prior to Lesson: Explain to students that they are going to watch most of the 1998 and 2016

National Final Rounds of Duo Interp in the next two classes. (Note: If you do not have the Resource Package, you may show the 2015 final round.) Review that they are going to write a compare and contrast essay on the similarities and differences between the final rounds. Provide students with a list of areas for them to take notes (blocking, number of characters in the performance, type of literature, use of humor or innuendo, etc). • Day One: • When the students arrive, begin playing the 1998 Duo Final Round video from the National Tournament. This can be accessed at As students watch, be sure they are taking notes. (50 minutes) • At the conclusion of the fifth performance, stop and have students discuss their observations. What stood out to them about the performances? Did they look as they would’ve expected? Did the technical aspects of the performance surprise them? Did the literature surprise them? (8 minutes) • Before they leave, have them rank the performances 1-5. Assign them to watch the sixth performance at home and update their rankings. The next day in class, they should turn in their rankings with a justification for the order. (2 minutes) • Day Two: • When the students come in, begin playing the 2016 Duo final round video from the National Tournament. This can be accessed at As students watch, be sure they are taking notes. (50 minutes) • At the conclusion of the fifth performance, stop and have students discuss their observations. What stood out to them about the performances? Did they look as they would’ve expected? Did the technical aspects of the performance surprise them?

Rostrum | WINTER 2017 53

Did the literature surprise them? (8 minutes) • Before they leave, have them rank the performances 1-5. Assign them to watch the sixth performance at home and update their rankings. The next day in class they should turn in their rankings with a justification for the order. (2 minutes) • Day Three: • Ask students to share their rankings of each of the final rounds using “Poll Everywhere” or another application. Display the results on the board and discuss how similar or different the overall rankings were. (15 minutes) • Divide students into groups of two or three and have them discuss the categories you gave them for note-taking. (35 minutes) • Make sure students get a chance to answer any questions they have about the compare/contrast essay and remind them of the due date. Provide a rubric before they leave the class. (10 minutes)

Public Speaking Corner In this lesson, students will explore key differences when reading vs. listening to speeches. Prerequisite Knowledge Required: None Common Core Standard Addressed: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.11-12.9

be an Oratory or Informative manuscript, famous public address, or less well-known speech. The speech should have no identifying information on it about the speaker, and there should be no notes about the speaker’s intended delivery in the document. When students arrive, have them begin reading the text. (10 minutes) • After reading the text, have students answer the following questions: (10 minutes) • How old do you think the speaker is? What evidence can you use to justify this estimate? • What tone do you think is used in each part of the speech? Why? • What is the most powerful part of the speech? Why? • What personal experiences are used to advance the point? How effectively is it done? • Discuss each question as a class. What similarities and differences are there among the students’ answers? (15 minutes) • Show the speech to the students. (10 minutes) • Discuss each question again as a class. What answers changed? Why did they change? (10 minutes) • Closing: Ask students to write a reflection for the next class that summarizes their reaction to what their beliefs were when only reading the text, compared to what their feelings were after seeing and hearing the speech. Have them examine what it means for word choice and delivery when it comes to creating an image of a speaker in their mind. (5 minutes)

Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research. • Bell Ringer Activity: Before students come in, place a printed speech at each desk. The speech could

Written by Steve Schappaugh, Director of Community Engagement for the National Speech & Debate Association


Rostrum | WINTER 2017

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March 3, 2017

The Buzz About

More Ways to Celebrate National Speech and Debate Education Day Volunteer

Ways to Celebrate, Showcase Your Team, and Spread the Word

Plan Classroom Activities

by Annie Reisener


Alumni, use the day as an opportunity to give back to the speech and debate community. Volunteer to judge at a tournament, donate to your alma mater’s program, or simply reach out to a local coach to see what support is needed.

Avenues for Change – Inspired by

activity that inspires students

Original Oratory, students in this activity prepare a presentation for their class by taking a topic of their choice that is related to the content of the class and offering insights on an issue of concern, with potential changes to address the situation.

and builds their ability to think

Unexpected Voices – Inspired by our

oin us March 3, 2017, as we celebrate National Speech and Debate Education Day!

Speech and debate is a rigorous

critically and creatively. National Speech and Debate Education Day recognizes the importance of speech and debate instruction and its integration across grade levels, both inside and outside the classroom. If you believe in the value of the activity, we encourage you to

with a Speech and Debate Day. Invite teachers, students, parents, friends, administrators, and school board members to come see

celebrate and promote the teachers

the team perform and talk with

and students who are transforming

students and alumni about the

tomorrow through speech and debate

value of speech and debate.

education. Help us spread the word

Students at Archbishop Mitty High

Voices of the Future program, this activity involves students examining powerful speeches from unexpected voices. Discussions, essays, or presentations can be arranged in class.

Plan Large Group Events Performance Assembly – Organize

an assembly where students are afforded an opportunity to express themselves through spoken word poetry, an oratory, an extemp speech, or a debate. Audience members could be given the opportunity to ask questions about the message following the performance.

Guest Speaker Assembly – Organize

about the life-changing impact of

School in California have learned

speech and debate! We’ve provided

that Speech and Debate Day is a

suggested events and activities

fun way to recognize the activity

an assembly with a guest speaker to discuss an issue of significance to the student body.

for the day to get you started.

and generate school-wide interest.

Town Hall – Organize a town hall

Coach Karen Joshi and her students

Host a Showcase and Meet the Team Event

introduce community members to speech and debate with Mitty Speech

Teachers, students, and alumni can

and Debate Day (MSD Day). The day

work together to open the doors

begins with a welcome presentation

of their program to the community

that shares the program’s history,


meeting and open the floor for students to discuss the issues that matter to them in their school or the community at large.

Are you planning an event? Reach out to us! We’re happy to provide templates for press releases and other tools to spread the word. Also, be sure to use our event hashtags on social media. Happy celebrating!

#transformingtomorrow #thankateacher Rostrum | WINTER 2017 59

A Showcase and Meet the Team Event is a great way to recognize the

found that the students really respond

day, spread the word about speech

to Impromptu. “We can introduce the

and debate, recruit new members to

students to Impromptu in one session,”

the team, and find volunteer judges

she says. “One of the high schoolers

for future events. Karen agrees and

will give the intro, another will give

encourages other programs to use the

the overview of the main points, three

event to celebrate National Speech

students develop each of the main

introduces the team and its goals, and

and Debate Education Day: “I think

points, and the student who presented

explains how students can get the

speech and debate is extremely

the introduction will give the closing.”

most out of the program. Attendees

complex, and the more information

then have a chance to watch students

people can get to learn more about

begins introducing debate to fifth

perform in the school theater and

it, the better. From the events, to the

graders with progressively more

meet members of the team.

life lessons, to the amazing kids who

challenging topics. “We start with

fall in love with it—speech and debate

simple topics—whether a hot dog is

can never be recognized enough.”

a sandwich, or if a cat or dog makes

Students set up booths for each competition event, led by event

the event for themselves. “Impromptu,

Celebrate with Mentorship

for example, decorated their booth

Recognize National Speech

activity that lets attendees test out

with post-it notes that had simple

and Debate Education day by planning

words on the back,” Karen says.

a day of mentorship for your program.

Attendees select a post-it note and talk about the word on the back for as long as possible without using a filler word. Then the event captains give feedback and answer questions about the event. Attendees learn about the program while the team has a good time showing off their events. MSD Day holds a special place in the heart of Archbishop Mitty senior Akaash Tawade. “Watching the excitement and curiosity on the faces of those parents and students who were new to the team made my day, and bonding with others over our

in local elementary schools or middle schools that don’t have existing programs, and celebrate the day by introducing speech and debate to a new generation. Inspire them to speak up, engage, and think critically. Gay Brasher, coach at Leland High School in California, visits elementary and middle schools every week to introduce speech and debate to classrooms, both on her own or accompanied by members of her high school program. While students may be timid for the first few minutes, they warm up quickly. “I’ve learned over the years that the younger students

an appreciation for the friendships

will see the fun and excitement in

and great memories I have fostered

speaking and volunteer immediately,”

through speech and debate,” Akaash

Gay says. “The ice is broken within two

says. “There’s nothing we value more

minutes. They are so eager to learn.”

love with the people that we love.”

Rostrum | WINTER 2017

eventually graduate them to debating

To get started, reach out to teachers

love for the activity filled me with

here at MSD than doing what we

Megan West of Broward County

a better pet,” Megan explains. “We

captains. Each booth features an


fit for younger students, and Gay has

Mini debates and simplified interp pieces can all be modified to be a good

The hard work of our students and coaches, along with the value of speech and debate, were officially recognized last March by the U.S. Senate! Co-sponsors of the resolution include Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), Sen. Christopher Coons (D-Delaware), and Sen. Angus King, Jr. (I-Maine). Sen. Grassley encourages schools to recognize March 3, 2017, as National Speech and Debate Education Day: “Students often ask me how I became interested in government. I always say that my mom and dad discussed the news of the day around the kitchen table when I was a kid, and it became second nature to follow and debate current events. Speech and debate education helps students understand different points of view and develop crucial communication skills. Free speech is embedded in the fabric of our country’s founding, so it makes sense to embrace the unique legacy given to us as Americans.”

Debate students from Shiloh, Bismarck, and Mandan schools in North Dakota testified on behalf of National Speech and Debate Education Day. They are pictured below with their two coaches and the two legislators who are sponsoring the resolution. The photo is taken in the North Dakota Supreme Court chambers. (left to right) Rep. Thomas Beadle, Lucas Bender, Jake Thomas (Bismarck and Mandan coach), Casey Beck, Luke Miller, Colton Thompson, Trevor Brownlee, Laurel Schley, Jannelle Combs (Shiloh coach), and Rep. Corey Mock.

about human responsibility for global warming or banning standardized testing.” Introducing speech and debate on a day of celebration not only creates excitement among the younger students about being involved in the future, but it’s also a way to invigorate the older students. Gay’s high

Spread the Word! Last year, we were able to secure a U.S. Senate resolution recognizing National Speech and Debate Education Day. We are working on passing a resolution again this year, but we need your support to pass resolutions at the state level. Coaches and students from at least 23 states have already begun work with state representatives on bringing a resolution recognizing National Speech and Debate Education Day to the floor of their state legislatures! If you have any leads or connections that can help us get a resolution on the floor, please let us know by emailing Steve Schappaugh at

schoolers love going to work at

At press time, resolutions are being planned in the following states:

the elementary schools. “They

Arizona, California, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

say how much fun it was and how enthusiastic about learning the younger students are,” she says. Mentorship is a great way to spread awareness about speech and

Thank A Teacher Gram |

experience. They may even become

Has a teacher inspired you to enter the education field? Have there been veterans throughout your career who have mentored and supported you? Consider thanking them on March 3 with a special email message! Complete our online form at by February 28, 2017!

the future of your program.

(Brought to you by McKinsey & Company and the National Speech & Debate Association.)

debate, and about your program. These students will return home and tell their parents all about their

Annie Reisener serves as Operations Coordinator for the NSDA.

Rostrum | WINTER 2017 61

Ross K Smith Debate Workshops

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Wake Experience 1-week workshop workshop for onon skills and getget an an Wake Experience AA1-week for those thosewho whowant wanttotoboth bothwork work skills and understanding Whether want to aget a head on the understandingofofthe thetopic. topic.Start Startdebating debatingday day one! 1! Whether youyou want to get head startstart on the summer, skills,ororunderstand understandwhat whatit itmight might mean a Wake Forest summer,work workon onyour yourflowing flowing skills mean to to bebe a Wake Forest student, workshop will work student.thisThis workshop will workfor foryou. you.Justin JustinGreen Greenwill willlead lead the the workshop. workshop.

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NFHS Publications Available for Purchase Forensic Quarterly

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Teachers of English: Embrace Speech and Debate! by Pam McComas and Renee Motter

An English teacher and a debate coach walk into a coffee shop.

English teacher: Ugh, it’s such a dreary Saturday. After my morning latte, I wonder if I should grade this set of papers or just watch Netflix instead? Debate coach: Perm it! English teacher: Wait, what? You think I should curl my hair?? Debate coach: No, “perm” it. Do both! Or would you prefer a counterplan?


learly, we might not speak exactly the same language, especially when it comes to debate jargon, but it’s hard to argue we don’t have the same goals. Vocabulary, note-taking, critical listening, reading for comprehension, speaking, understanding point of view, rhetorical devices... We could go on, but you get the picture (another thing we all want for students!)


Rostrum | WINTER 2017

As coaches and educators, we have a niche to provide resources to a wide array of teachers and, at the same time, allow more students exposure to speech and debate. With the college and career readiness movement, students must be prepared for the global world. Teaching the soft skills are ever more in demand as colleges and employers continue to look for students who are able to effectively communicate with an audience and speak publicly. And, as we all know, speech and debate skills are good for all students, whether they compete or not. In schools across the world, there are students who may never compete in a round, but who will absolutely need to communicate, think, and analyze throughout life. With each conference we’ve attended, it has become more clear how much of a need exists among English teachers to teach students the necessary, life-long skills of speaking, listening, and argumentation.

About the Authors Pam McComas is a sevendiamond coach from Topeka, Kansas, and member of the NSDA Board of Directors. She is the 2016 recipient of the NFHS Outstanding Speech/Debate/ Theatre award. She has an M.S. in Curriculum and Instruction and served 40 years as a secondary teacher. Renee Motter is the Speech and Debate Head Coach and Teacher at Air Academy High School in Colorado. She earned her M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction and has 20 years of experience in high school classrooms. She is a two-diamond coach.

To better understand the needs of English teachers and what we had to offer, we presented at the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) national conference for the first time in 2013. The theme was “(Re) Inventing the Future of English” and our session, “How to Listen; How to Speak, and How to Argue,” was filled with educators clamoring for specific instructional strategies for listening, speaking, and arguing. They listened intently regarding ideas for activities that challenge students to think beyond the summary, to move to critical analysis of works of literature, and other issues. Later, after being approached by numerous educators and even a college instructor, we realized we could have a role in helping teachers spread speech and debate to all students—we could provide the tools. Since then, we’ve presented on topics Like “Telling a Story through Argument,” “Argumentation and Rhetoric: A Gateway to a Limitless World,” and “Argumentation and Public Speaking: Foundational Skills for Advocacy.” Our colleagues Steve Schappaugh, NSDA, and Mary Dibinga, Boston Latin Academy, pictured below, added to the mix this

Why We Attend Boston. Washington, D.C. Minneapolis. Atlanta. At each of the last four NCTE conferences we’ve attended across the country, we’ve presented sessions in the rhetorical arts focused around speaking, listening, and argumentation. Over the years, we have provided speech and debate activities that can be applied to various topics, fiction and non-fiction selections, and classrooms.

Making Connections In addition to providing teachers with resources and best practices for teaching argumentation, we have also worked to make some key connections and build networks with teachers, exhibitors, and publishers. • A couple of years ago, we were able to connect with a teacher who had been assigned to teach the debate class at her school, despite having no debate experience. We were able to provide the teacher with lessons and resources to make the transitions smoother. • Just this year, while at dinner, we met three English teachers who were also attending the conference. As we chatted with these ladies, we discovered that one was from a rural area and had considered starting a speech and debate team in her school, since her husband had participated in high school and had told her how beneficial it had been to him. We were able to talk to her about the possibilities of starting a team and connect her with the national office, so she could start looking into beginning a program. • The Expo Hall has also been a great place for us to make connections. Over breakfast one morning before the conference, we were talking to a colleague from NAMLE (National Association of Media Literacy Education) who recommended the book An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments by Ali Almossawi. While walking through the Expo, we were able to talk to one of the book’s reps. The NSDA is planning to offer the title in their online store later this spring. • As we work to grow the name of the NSDA as a professional organization beyond the National Tournament, these connections are key.

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Activities for All Content Areas year with “Developing Better Writers Through Evidence-Based Argumentation Activities.” Unfortunately, supply does not currently meet demand when it comes to argumentation at NCTE. We recently counted only eight sessions covering argumentation, speaking, listening, or rhetoric. As we reflect on the last four years at NCTE and hope for a fifth, we look forward to continuing to provide our colleagues with the resources they need to help all students improve in the rhetorical arts as well as make connections to further the work and mission of the NSDA. We all know and have seen the difference that speech and debate can make in the lives of students, and we look forward to helping other teachers expose their students to the wonders of speech and debate through the activities introduced in our presentations. However, we don’t have to wait for the next conference. If you’re an English teacher, or if you know one who is open to teaching more argumentation, you can learn more about Evidence-Based Argumentation (EBATM) featured in the Winter 2016 and Spring 2016 issues of Rostrum. We offer activities that can be seamlessly implemented into curriculum already established. See the sidebar for additional suggestions. Sending a quick email to teachers in your building with a new idea for an activity that can be applied to any topic or piece is a great place to start!

Bell Ringer Activity (listening) – Have a pre-taped list of the top 10 tunes from a different era. As the final bell rings, have students list the titles, in order, of the song playlist. Do this activity for several days in a row with different recordings to enhance students’ listening skills. Points can be awarded for extra credit. This activity can be a lead-in to studying listening and/or improving note-taking skills. As you develop activities, strive to teach students key listening terms and strategies such as active, attentive, passive, selective, reflective, examining intonation, gesture, body language, etc.

Teaching Note-Taking and Flow-Sheeting Skills – As a continuation of the listening bell ringer, have students set up their notes in a Cornell format. Begin playing a song that students can hear the lyrics (Hamilton: An American Musical would be an excellent source to use). Have students write down the lyrics, even using abbreviations, various symbols to illustrate words, and be able to restate what was heard. Listen to the same passage several times, and have students read aloud their notes. Do a pair share and fill in the blanks on the Cornell notes of word(s) missed. Do this daily to enhance students’ note-taking skills.

I See, I Think, I Wonder (arts integration activity to introduce a particular story, unit, book) – Visuals should be an integral part of teachers’ lessons. Showing a visual or image can speak volumes to our students. This 90-second exercise can be an introduction to a


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NEW unit of study. Students will have a half sheet of paper with the three statements listed: “I See, I Think, I Wonder.” Project a selected visual and ask the students to respond to the three statements. Then, have them draft a newspaper headline for this visual. Have students share aloud their statements. Follow-up with a class discussion, making certain students are giving specific examples to their statements. This can be an introduction to Toulmin and teaching argumentation. This visual

Tabroom Support Forum We’ve recently launched a new online Tabroom Support forum. The forum creates a place where Tabroom users (including tournament directors) can ask questions, get answers, and discuss best practices!

can be tied to a specific text, article, speech, etc. Now, turn this into a writing and a speaking assignment. Students have to defend their “I See, I Think, I Wonder” statements by finding support from texts and images to confirm their point of view. An extended learning activity could culminate in a mini-debate with modified time limits.

Finding Voice (interpretation of literature) – Cut a piece of poetry or a speech into sections and have different students read different parts. Then, play a recording of the author reading the piece (if available) and have students listen to the author read. [Note: Slam poetry works great for this.] Follow up with a discussion on inflection, voice, and rhetorical devices.

Debate Corners (argumentation) – Separate your room into three areas: one for agree, one for disagree, and one for qualify. Give students a quotation or statement that is related to the topic you are studying. For example, if you are studying Ender’s Game, you might use something like, “Adults have a responsibility to protect children.” Have students go to the area that fits their opinion. Then, have students discuss with the whole class why they are in the agree, disagree, or qualify area.

We think these kinds of discussions are best to have in a public forum, so that other people with similar questions/issues can learn from the collective wisdom. As the forum grows, we hope it will be a useful resource for the whole speech and debate community. Do you have a question about how to use Tabroom? Curious about best practices when running a tournament? Have a feature request? Are you already a Tabroom pro with some advice to give? Come contribute to the conversation! To ask a new question: Make sure you’re logged in on Tabroom, then click the “Help” tab. On the right, click the “New Topic” button. A box will open at the bottom of the page where you can type your question, then click “Create Topic.”

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Program features include: ⏺ Experienced, trained teaching staff ⏺ Beginner, intermediate, and advanced training ⏺ Prepare for the next topic before school starts ⏺ Unique social justice component with a field trip to the National Center for Civil and Human Rights For application and more information, please visit:

Barkley Forum for Debate, Deliberation, and Dialogue | Emory University | 404-727-6189


Broward County Seeks to Make Debate Accessible to All Students by Sarah Brazier

According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, Broward County is the sixth largest school district in the country. Its students are racially, ethnically, and socioeconomically diverse. Five years ago, Superintendent Robert Runcie and the Broward County School District started a partnership with the NSDA, through the Communicators in the Classroom program, to make speech and debate a norm in Broward County schools. The Broward County Initiative now partners with the NSDA, local businesses, and local debate programs within Broward County to expand their reach to help students build resumes, teach valuable life skills, and ultimately change lives. The Broward County Initiative has almost 8,000 elementary, middle, and high school students currently enrolled in debate classes.

The Beginning “I feel like I can take on big challenges,” writes one student. “I see myself as more intelligent,” scrawls another. “I’ve learned how much I can use my head,” a third answer states.

“How has speech and debate changed how you see yourself?” It’s a question I’ve asked countless times interviewing students for the NSDA. The responses almost always articulate a realization of being better than they’d previously perceived themselves. There’s an awareness, a newfound confidence, a coming into oneself that most participants of speech and debate experience. These students are no different than most in their growing self-confidence. What makes them unique is how they became exposed to the activity. At the beginning of the 2016 school year, Megan West, Broward County Curriculum Supervisor for Civic Engagement, one-diamond NSDA coach, and long time forensics advocate,

was at a meeting that would spark a new generation of leaders in South Florida. At the table were long-time champion of debate in Broward County, School Board Member Laurie Rich Levinson; former NSDA coach and current Broward County Director of Applied Learning Susan Cantrick; and Seagull Alternative High School Principal Bonnie Clemon, Jr. Bonnie shared his growing concern about alternative schools and their involvement in extracurricular activities. The gist of his message was this: despite the overwhelming benefit of extracurricular activities, they are in short supply at alternative schools. Reasons for this are as varied and unique as the schools themselves. Some schools don’t have the funding; others find it difficult to offer a traditional after-school extracurricular schedule that aligns with the schedules among the student population. The longer the speech went on, the more Megan realized this was her next project. She immediately set out to negotiate a partnership with the Broward County Initiative and Seagull Alternative.

Author’s Note: Because the students in this story are minors with sensitive backgrounds, it was not possible to hold any long form interviews or discussions with them. All my interactions with the students have been through a liaison. To protect their identities, students’ names were not used.


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Seagull Alternative High School A small, alternative school sits just under two miles from the Fort Lauderdale airport. The white painted concrete building serves students seeking to do what most high school students seek to do—graduate. However, this group of diploma hopefuls are faced with barriers that make it challenging to attend a traditional public school. There are 320 K-12 students and 71 adults enrolled at Seagull Alternative High School. It should be noted that the “alternative” in the title references the programming offered by the school, not the behavior of its students. Principal Clemon explains that these programs serve a range from adults with disabilities to teen parents, offering the only licensed child development center in the school district as well as a credit recovery program for students who have fallen behind in reaching the credit requirement for graduation. Collectively, these programs provide support for students uniquely affected by various forms of adversity. One of the largest growing populations in the school is immigrant students hailing from Haiti, Jamaica, and Central America who often work fulland part-time jobs to help support their families. It’s a challenging but necessary choice Bonnie’s students have to make. Either they go to school five days a week, eight hours a day, and come home to an empty table, or they get a job and help provide for the family. “A lot of our kids have to work to take care of their family. That’s what they’re used to, and that’s what the culture expects from those who are able to work,” Bonnie explains. Cultural differences are not the only setback for these kids. Bonnie continues, “Sometimes communication skills are not developed because a lot of these kids either are from one-parent families or are not in a home where they communicate a lot. Everybody is out doing something, out working, or a lot of kids spend

“Sometimes communication skills are not developed because a lot of these kids either are from one-parent families or are not in a home where they communicate a lot.” — Bonnie Clemon, Jr., Principal

so much time alone or in front of a computer. Nobody is exchanging dialogue.” Bonnie introduced speech and debate as a way to cultivate those communication skills. Some students are so exhausted from their work schedules they only make it to school three days a week, he says. Others are dealing with the stress of teen parenthood. And with 95% of Seagull students busing in or riding public transportation, Bonnie notes that extracurricular or after-school activities are particularly challenging because often “there’s no way for the kids to get home, and some of them have children or have to go to work.” In response, they made speech and debate a class. Bonnie and his team of teachers are adapting as they work to support the students balancing the weight of adulthood on their teenage shoulders. It’s these students, many of whom are adapting to a new language and a new country with different cultural and social norms, that Megan thinks can find a way to thrive by joining speech and debate.

Yes, there are obstacles, but those obstacles do not define who these students are or who they will become. Believing wholeheartedly that speech and debate is an avenue for success, Seagull’s speech and debate novices express excitement to begin competing. They have things they want to say, and things worth hearing. With the same energy and determination that keeps them fighting against the odds, they are tackling the opportunities speech and debate is bringing.

Youth Treatment Center How do you catch up to the competition when they’re already miles ahead? Run faster. How do you beat the competition when they’re pulling out in front? Run faster. How do you win? Run. Faster. Six competitors, two alternates, eight Congressional Debaters, one team. They’ve been working for months to prepare for their first tournament. “[I have] no fears, but I expect to get a better view of myself,” one student writes of his expectations for the tournament. “I’m a little nervous about talking in front of people, but it also excites me,” another student reflects. “I’m a little excited. . . because it might be something I love.” The words hold a truth in them that many speech and debate alumni can recall. There is something magical about your first tournament—something simultaneously exhilarating and terrifying. It feels like so much rides on that moment, not just because it’s the first, but because it’s the first of its kind. These particular speech and debate students are receiving rehabilitative treatment through the Juvenile Justice System’s Youth Treatment Center in Broward County.

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“They’ve done some things, now— from armed robbery to aggravated assault, to theft, to breaking and entering. I don’t want to paint the picture that these children aren’t being held accountable for their crimes against the citizenry. They have those things that they’re dealing with in the adjudication process. At the same time, you can see they have potential within other areas,” says Jabari Akil. He’s an educator in the Department of Equity and Academic Achievement, working with the team and other children involved in the juvenile justice system. A long-time educator and current toastmaster, Jabari believes it is imperative to develop strong communication skills in his students—skills they might never have had the opportunity to cultivate. “Every day, I can see these guys struggle with the ability to express what’s in their mind and turn that thought into words that can be understood and felt,” Jabari says. “If they had different skills to pull out of their bag, I think they would make better choices.” Jabari knows his students can debate—it’s just a matter of how. “These guys—they have to debate. They have to argue their point. They have to protect themselves through use of words. It’s not like they haven’t encountered this, it’s just a different process—more of a scientific methodology.” It’s this last part, learning how to refine their approach to debate, that Megan West and her team hope to teach. Once a week, she joins a group of Broward County Initiative mentors including Justin Weaver (Coral Springs High School), Jon Martin (Cypress Bay High School), Jesus Caro (Stoneman Douglas High School), and Brandon Inzinna (NSDA alum and former Public Forum debater attending Broward College) at juvenile facilities to teach debate. With their weekly visits and Jabari’s regular coaching, these students are getting a chance to learn the multifaceted nuances of debate. Already, Jabari has noticed a change in his students. Before, they may have used the threat of physical violence as a tool to end an argument; now, he sees individuals


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who rely on words to fight their battles. “[I’ve learned to] persuade people to go along with what I’m saying,” one student explains. “Our motto is ‘don’t raise your voice, improve your argument,’” Jabari explains. His students “have begun to use their words in more crafty ways to persuade their classmates and teachers. They’re taking it to heart,” he reflects. “And they’ve even begun to teach others who are not part of the debate progam how to debate. They’ve begun to teach them the rudiments of debate structure.” “I like to inspire others,” one of the students writes. At the Youth Treatment Center, inspiration goes both ways. While the work and dedication of the students is impressive, their coaches Megan and Jabari represent a group of educators across the

“To have a student who was in a juvenile facility who turns around and becomes a lawyer and eventually a judge? The enormity of the potential is limitless.” — Jabari Akil, Educator

country bent on increasing accessibility in speech and debate with an untamed passion. Their goal, like many others, is to give every student the opportunity to have their voice heard.

On the Horizon Naturally, programs like the ones at Seagull Alternative High School and the Youth Treatment Center have significant implications. Every competitor, alum, and coach knows the benefits of speech and debate—the national organization touts them routinely in this very publication. The practical skills, the educational boost, the confidence-building that speech and debate gives each of its participants is widely acknowledged by our community. On the other hand, the critique that speech and debate belongs only to the elite who can afford the expenses incurred by the activity, and therefore can only privilege the privileged, holds enough weight to be discussed during coach clinics at the most recent National Tournament. Before Jabari moved to Florida to teach, he worked within the Cleveland school system, and he thinks what’s happening in Broward County can happen in Cleveland, too. “Maybe in the rehabilitative sense, allowing children to be agents of rehabilitation, they can befriend and help mentor each other, peer to peer. Take someone from the most affluent area of Cleveland and pair them with someone from East Cleveland, and watch both sides benefit,” he explains. His desire is to bring different demographics of students

together through debate and, by fostering relationships among them, grow friendship and mentorship. “I believe out of these students. . . it is very likely that you may get a congressman or a senator, or a council person, or maybe a school superintendent, or maybe a teacher,” Jabari says. “Now how great would that be—to have a student who was in a juvenile facility who turns around and becomes a lawyer and eventually a judge? The enormity of the potential is limitless. They are seeing that their voices can be used in a powerful way.” The Broward County Initiative’s dive into alternative schools holds the potential not only to instill these skills to some of America’s most disenfranchised youth, but also introduce their voices to debate outside of the metaphorical sphere they traditionally live. When these programs begin competing against other schools in spring 2017, Florida speech and debate students will be exposed to unique stories not often heard in the community. The opportunity to hear ideas, perspectives, and experiences brought forth by these new competitors is an experience few other extracurriculars can provide. “I think this can create respect, and understanding, and inclusiveness among all of our students,” Megan says. Megan hopes the impacts of the Broward County Initiative reach beyond South Florida. “We believe that we are an example of what a lot of other school districts could be doing. We hope we can break the stigma that debate is for the ‘rich kids.’” In fact, since 2012, the National Speech & Debate Association, through its Communicators in the Classroom program, has been working with the Broward County School District, helping bring speech and debate to every high school in the district. “With thousands of our students in debate classes, and access points at almost 100 schools, our partnership with the NSDA has dramatically changed the way our students learn, communicate, and compete,” Megan says.

Already, the Broward County Initiative has conducted a lot of groundwork to understand the needs of alternative schools and to help them understand what debate brings to the table. The discussion at the Department of Juvenile Justice focuses on what the goal is for these students. As Megan explains, “Frequently, the response is to get them a GED and to get them a job. And we were kind of challenged by that—asking ourselves, why is that their goal? We’ve started to work with our local community college and a few other organizations because we want this to be the start of these students not just getting a GED and working a lower skill job, but instead go to the local community college, compete for them, and then have a career. It has the potential for them to have better lives.” Of course, such optimism could be considered premature, because this new outreach to alternative schools in Broward County is only in its first year. However, the majority of administrators are hopeful this will increase the number of students who graduate with marketable skills. Still, Bonnie Clemon is hopeful for his students at Seagull Alternative High School. Recently, he went with them to a debate luncheon awards ceremony near the beach. His students sat down in a formal setting, enjoyed a formal meal, and watched as the finalists debated each other. Afterward, awards were handed out and the finalists were honored during the ceremony. Bonnie reflects, “The kids had the actual experience of hearing

the debate and seeing some of the kids who had been successful. They’re really impressed, and they’re really interested, and as time goes on, hopefully they’ll be able to take more of an active role in going out and debating and being an active part of the competition.” However the Broward County Initiative’s latest endeavor plays out, Bonnie hopes he can continue to use the program to expand speech and debate at his school—getting more students to join, and offering multiple classes throughout the school day. In the end, he hopes speech and debate will develop students into effective communicators and serve as a springboard for them to feel comfortable applying and interviewing for jobs. “A program like this will help with their self-esteem,” he says, “They’ll be effective communicators, and think better of themselves so they can be more proactive and do better for themselves.” All speech and debate coaches hope to instill that sense of capability in their students. For the students at the Youth Treatment Center and Seagull Alternative, speech and debate is a new but welcome way to take on big challenges.

Sarah Brazier is a freelance writer and actor currently living in the Bay Area of California. She formerly coached at Saint Mary’s Hall in Texas. An NSDA alum from Wadsworth High School in Ohio, she placed second in Dramatic Interp at the 2010 Kansas City Nationals.

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Alphabet Soup:

Regardless of Event Preference, Alumni Make Connections by J. Scott Baker, Ph.D. Parent: So, my son is in debate? Me: Yes. Parent: Great, so he writes cases and argues with peers? Me: Not exactly. He doesn’t write cases. He performs. Parent: Like a speaker? He does speeches? Me: He does interpretation. Parent: What is that? Me: He performs literature. Poetry and prose, even some drama, and presents the script in a performance. Parent: But, you said he is in debate? Yes, often we use the term debate to encompass all Me: of speech and debate activities. Parent: What? How many different activities are there. . .?


These discussions are never easy. When I coached, I told my students and their parents/guardians each year learning the basics of ‘what speech and debate is’ is akin to learning alphabet soup: PF, LD, IX, USX, POI, DUO. . . Honestly, until you are in the activity, it’s difficult to explain succinctly. And, while jargon around our activity differs regionally, I have alumni who will tell you they’ve “done debate for four years,” even though they’ve never once cut a card, written a contention, or researched a policy. Why? For many students, it’s much easier to say ‘debate’ than forensics (crime scenes?), or speech (as in speech therapy?), or oral interpretation (oh, theatre?) to get to the heart of what they do at competitions every weekend.

Research Obstacles This language complexity also leads to difficulty in arguing for our activity, advocating for funds, and discussing benefits of vastly different events. Therefore, an issue surrounding speech and debate is the lack of research between public speaking, oral interpretation, and debate. Previous research either focuses on students who participated in debate events, primarily Policy or LincolnDouglas Debate (Littlefield, 2001; Mezuk, 2009; Noonan, 2011) or does not delineate between events (McCammon, Saldaña,

A total of 1,015 alumni ranked the event categories they most preferred, which resulted in 497 Debate, 276 Oral Interpretation, and 242 Public Speaking preferred responses. Using the aggregated data collected from questions and narrative responses, the following information was attained.

Hines, & Omasta, 2012). Peters (2009) contends: while the “focus has been mostly on effects of participation in debate. . . [there are] no empirical studies in which the effects of participation in original oratory, extemporaneous speaking, or interpretation of literature were examined” (p. 42). Peters continues, “the problem with such limited research on non-debate events is that supporters of comprehensive high school forensic programs must be able to justify their entire programs to critical administrators” (p. 42). Thus, with the assistance of the NSDA and National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), more than 1,000 speech and debate alumni completed a national survey in the fall of 2015. As part of a dissertation from Texas A&M University, participants were asked a series of questions regarding identity, satisfaction with experiences, and influence of participation on life post-high school. Participants were also asked to identify which type of speech and debate activities they most preferred. Options included: Debate, Oral Interpretation, and Public Speaking. Since competitive speech and debate consists of 15+ events ranging in skill sets, it was important to evaluate the types of events in which

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study participants competed to garner a complete look at the satisfaction and post-secondary influence when aggregated by event preference. In this article, the satisfaction and influence on post-high school life as well as narrative responses are used to determine if there is a difference in these factors based on alumni event preferences.

Results A total of 1,015 alumni ranked the event categories by their most preferred, which resulted in 497 Debate, 276 Oral Interpretation, and 242 Public Speaking preferred responses. Additionally, alumni were asked to rate two questions: 1) “What is your overall feeling about your experiences in speech and debate activities in high school?” and 2) “How much do you think your experience in speech and debate activities influenced your life post-high school?” Participants were asked to determine this impact on a radial dial, 10 being extremely impactful, 1 being the least impactful, 0 being no correlation. These two questions, known here as “satisfaction” and “influence,” yielded an overall 9.13 mean for satisfaction and a mean of 8.57 for influence. Finally, alumni were asked to write narrative responses to discuss their satisfaction, influence, and correlation to academics. These narrative responses provided multiple themes, including relationships, voice, confidence, as well as skills and growth. Therefore, using the aggregated data collected from questions and narrative responses, the following information was attained.

Oral Interpretation TABLE 1 | Oral Interpretation Preferred Population of Alum Participants

Personal Background


















Native American




Mixed Race


Persons with a Disability




Number of States


In regard to participants, represented in Table 1, who identified an Oral Interpretation preference, there is not a significant difference in either satisfaction or influence from the general population, with a satisfaction mean of 9.21 and an influence mean of 8.56. These results indicate Oral Interpretation alumni experienced a similar level of satisfaction and influence posthigh school as alumni who preferred Public Speaking and Debate.


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Alumni articulate how their experiences impacted their lives beyond high school. A respondent explains: I am now in graduate school, pursuing an MFA in fiction writing at one of the oldest creative writing programs in the country, and I can confidently say that I still draw on a sense of narrative and storytelling that I developed while cutting scripts and watching pieces for interpretation events. Finally, I believe that the close relationship I had with my peers and coaches fostered in me the confidence in abilities as a speaker, thinker, and artist that has sustained me throughout my professional life thus far. Likewise, alumni offer their explanations of speech and debate influence: “forensics gave me insight into the creative process. Learning the pieces and performing an interpretation allowed me to be more apathetic, as well”; “I also gained pride in what I did. Each event allowed for me to interpret/prepare the material into something that I could be proud of. The feeling of performing a piece that had so much hard work put into it, will never be matched”; and “I learned to manage my time and to be a self-starter to do all the things I wanted like work, study, prep and compete in speech and debate, social time, all that stuff.” Explaining how Oral Interpretation provided confidence, a respondent offers: I am currently in an improv team at. . . University, and without oral interpretation, I probably would not have made it. It gave me the confidence to stand up in front of people I have never met and be ridiculous. And, it has helped me express myself much more eloquently. It gives me an upper-hand in meeting people because I am able to express my thoughts in an efficient and thought-provoking manner. Another respondent says speech activity “was a form of artistic communion for me with my Duo partners, and a method of expression in Storytelling, Prose, and DI/HI. It was soul food. It helped shape my identity and my sense of myself.” Even if alumni weren’t successful, they learned from the experience: “I competed in Humorous Interpretation during my two years, and I loved it. I wasn’t the best by any means, but I always got better. Each week I would see improvement in my scores and my confidence.” Oral Interpretation students also developed their own voice. A respondent explains: I remember just absolutely loving speech. I have always been an introvert with a weird obsession with challenging myself to be in front of people and performing. Speech helped me form friendships, travel, gain new perspectives, and be much more comfortable in front of groups of people. I remember it being the best thing about my high school experience and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Furthermore, experiences helped alumni with academic excellence. One participant explains, participation “helped with memorization, which was immensely helpful for tests,” while another participant asserts, “test scores go up when students are involved in this activity, and if that is not enough reason why it should be available to everyone, then nothing is. I fully enjoyed my time in speech and hope that students everywhere can have the same experiences that I had.” Finally, an Oral Interpretation alumna explains how her entire family has been influenced by their experience in forensics: I think performers have an extra edge, as well. After high school, sorority rush was the first place I realized exactly how much speech influenced my behavior and my presentation of myself. Any oral presentations required in college were given easily, without nerves or trepidation. Even interviews for grad school and medical school were influenced by what I learned about presenting myself well in speech tournaments. Performers tend to be eccentric, outspoken individuals. Exposure early on to people who thought and acted differently from me taught me to value diversity in thought and character. In the end, this Drama Girl married a Debate Boy. Our kids will be in high school soon, and we are already pushing them toward speech and debate! I just can’t say enough about how valuable this experience was to me.

Public Speaking Public Speaking alumni, represented in Table 2, do not show a significant difference in either satisfaction or influence from the overall mean. Additionally, there is a satisfaction mean of 9.03 and an influence mean of 8.48, which indicates Public Speaking alumni enjoyed a similar high level of satisfaction and influence post-high school as other event preferred alumni. TABLE 2 | Public Speaking Preferred Population of Alum Participants

Personal Background


















Native American




Mixed Race


Persons with a Disability




Number of States


Similar to Oral Interpretation participants, the concepts of skills, relationships, and voice were evident in narrative responses. A Public Speaking participant explains:

It had an extremely positive effect on me. I learned how to write, think, research, understand and empathize. I learned how to work hard, work with others and never give up. I learned how to succeed and fail gracefully. I learned how to handle and succeed under pressure, and how to present myself calm and collected no matter what. I met people who forever changed my life for the better, and people who will be my friends forever. Former competitors linked Public Speaking experiences to higher test scores while in school: “essays became Extemp speeches that I simply wrote out. Standardized tests became easier to take because I was able to analyze information quickly”; “throughout high school I was better able to write any type of paper due to writing cases. My writing ACT score was the highest score on my test, I was able to pass AP tests, but overall, it made me more comfortable”; and “the entire premise of Extemp (30 minutes to prepare a speech) is mirrored in the SAT writing section.” Other alumni directly linked speaking events to career success stating, “I work in Sales and Political Organizing. The research skills I developed competing in Extemporaneous Speaking and the confidence I developed competing in Impromptu Speaking have helped me become an excellent Sales Professional and Community Organizer”; while other alumni explain: “I can analyze information quickly and speak extemporaneously. I’ve become more interested in current events and political issues”; “It changed me for the better and gave me skills that I use every day. And I attribute a great deal of my success to what I learned in speech”; “helps you to realize the power of one person’s voice”; and “speech and debate enabled me to articulate my thoughts clearly and logically, gave me a worldly perspective on current events, and brought me into a social circle that I treasure to this day.” Moreover, furthering the link between Public Speaking and post-high school life, a participant responds: My experiences with speech and debate had a profound impact on my post-high school skills and confidence. I knew myself to have an aptitude for public speaking and writing because of my success with Original Oratory in high school and, therefore, I made an effort to find ways to use those skills in my career. I’m currently a law student, and my speech and debate experience has been invaluable to me in developing my persuasive writing and oral advocacy skills. I credit much of my success in law school to this early exposure to public speaking and debate and to the tips and tricks I learned through my experiences.

Debate Data showed Debate preferred alumni had a satisfaction mean equal to the general population mean of 9.13 and an influence

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mean of 8.61, indicating no significant difference between debate preferred alumni and the overall population. Satisfaction and influence were comparable to both Oral Interpretation and Public Speaking alumni. TABLE 3 | Debate Preferred Population of Alum Participants

Personal Background White

Identification 386















Native American




Mixed Race


Persons with a Disability


Other 15 Number of States 39 Likewise, similar to Oral Interpretation and Public Speaking, Debate preferred alumni address concepts of relationships, growth, skills, and confidence in their narrative responses. Alumni provide feedback, such as: “I gained confidence, discipline, research skills, writing skills, and critical thinking skills.” and “it gave me confidence, it helped me learn to think, to train my intellect and to reason critically. Before debate, I was a decent but unmotivated student, but debate gave me focus.” An example of concepts repeating in Debate preferred students include: Debate influenced my college choice, and inspired me to go to college in the first place. The skills I gained— argumentative, research, speaking—made the majority of my college courses easy. They set me far ahead of my peers. Not only would I have not gone to college if it wasn’t for Policy Debate, but debate is what allowed me to thrive. A former debater agrees, “my interest in international affairs and foreign policy sparked during Policy Debate,” while another offers, “Congressional Debate has definitely had a significant impact on my life post-high school.” Specific scenarios offered by respondents illustrate the careers of the participant pool. For example: I’m a Journalism and Political Science major and I have got to say that there is not a day that goes by that I do not use what I’ve learned in my field. In political science the strategy and understanding rational actors were both concepts I first learned in debate. When I later found myself in Journalism, my experience in Policy Debate really came into play. Writing a news story is essentially writing a debate case, but with more filler, and you’re collecting the information for cards by doing interviews. I specialize in political PR and advocacy, and I’m always shocked how much politics, from


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a communications perspective, is like Policy Debate. In short, my experience doing debate has greatly influenced my life, and I use the skills I learned every day. Another participant elaborates, “speech and debate gave me confidence that made the transition to college easier. I had the confidence to speak up in class and the discipline to read academic material while gleaning important information. The activity also gave me the skill set necessary to eventually become a communications director for U.S. congressmen and national nonprofits.” Furthermore, “Policy Debate taught me how to think, write, and speak. I learned how to argue with passion and dispassion, taking up a side and dropping it at the flip of a coin. Policy taught me that it’s not the perceived strength of one’s argument, but the degree to which another finds it persuasive that carries the day” explains one participant. Continuing with the focus on how speech and debate correlates with career success, a former competitor posits, “as an engineer, working at a Fortune 500 company, I feel confident in my ability to synthesize qualitative data and speak publicly because of Public Forum—not my college degree.” Whereas, an attorney contends in their survey response: Speech and debate taught me how to take an effective “flow” of what the other side is saying while also drafting and structuring my own questions and arguments. It also taught me how to evaluate my audience to determine appropriate delivery rates and inflections and to gauge the effectiveness of various lines of argumentation. They don’t teach these skills in law school. I regularly testify before the legislature and prepare pieces of legislation for consideration, utilizing skills that have their base in speech, debate, and student congress. An advocacy speech for/against a particular piece of legislation is persuasive speech. And, although I was lazy in high school, debate did teach me the research basics necessary to fully explore, understand, and explain my positions. Finally, former debaters offer a perspective on relationships developed during participation: “My team became my family”; and “Debate was a family for me and provided a safe space that did not come with the temptations of drugs and alcohol like other places in high school. I also met friends from around the country, learned to travel semi-independently, and was exposed to people and ideas different from my own.”



Whether alumni define themselves as students who preferred Oral Interpretation, Public Speaking, Debate, or any combination of the three categories, there was a high level of satisfaction of experiences and perceived influence of those experiences on their



with essays by Minh Luong, Matt Stannard, Amy Cram Helwich, and 14 more! Over the course of 20 chapters, the authors explore the positive impacts debate has on personal growth, academic development, career preparedness, and society. Here is a sampling of our authors’ experience: Air Force Officer & Pilot, Attorney-at-Law, Corporate Leadership, Elementary School Teacher, Nonprofit Leadership, Pediatrician, and Software Programmer.

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Available on Amazon Paperback $11.95; Kindle $7.99 These essays draw on the personal to make the larger point that debate can change the relationship of a student to subject, people, and the world in a way that deepens and enriches.

post-high school lives. Relationships, confidence, skills, growth, and voice were repeated concepts in all three separate event categories. These correlations across all event categories are important for school programs across the country. Previous research explains the benefits of debate events (particularly those in urban debate programs); however, other teams, that either don’t do debate or focus on oral interpretation and/or public speaking, do not have the research demonstrating the benefits of their program. Alumni have clearly described the same benefits, satisfaction, and influence on post-high school life regardless of event participation. Irrespective of your program’s focus—oral interpretation, public speaking, or debate—alumni express universal benefits across programs throughout the country. As one participant explains: “I regularly tell other people that if everyone were required to take part in speech and debate, the world would be a better place. It’s not just the opportunity to cultivate empathy, critical thinking skills, and confidence; it’s also the fact that some of my most valued friendships are still those that were developed during my time in speech and debate.”

— Paul Ongtooguk, M.Ed., Term Assistant Prof., College of Education, University of Alaska

References Littlefield, R. S. (2001). High school student perceptions of the efficacy of debate participation. Argumentation and Advocacy, 38 (Fall 2001), 83-97. McCammon, L., Saldaña, J., Hines, A., & Omasta, M. (2012). Lifelong impact: Adult perceptions of their high school speech and/or theatre participation. Youth Theatre Journal, 26(1), 2-25. doi:10.10 80/08929092.2012.678223 Mezuk, B. (2009). Urban debate and high school educational outcomes for African American males: The case of the Chicago Debate League. The Journal of Negro Education, 78(3), 290-304. Noonan, T. (2011). Debating for Success: Academic Achievement, Self-Efficacy, Civic empowerment and the Milwaukee Debate League (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from e-Publications@ Marquette. Peters, T. L. (2009). An investigation into the relationship between participation in competitive forensics and standardized test scores. Rostrum, 84(2), 37-51.

J. Scott Baker, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Studies at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Prior to his work at UWL, Baker was a high school speech, debate, and English teacher outside of Houston, TX while working on his Ph.D. in Curriculum & Instruction from Texas A&M University. Baker is a three-diamond coach with the NSDA.

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About the Public Debate Program

The Public Debate Program offers integrated class/critical thinking instruction and debate competition for secondary schools. Major educational and civil rights non-profit organizations in the US and abroad use PDP materials and programming for critical thinking, professional communication, language development, and girls’ and women’s empowerment instruction. The PDP proprietary competitive debate formats were designed by graduate education school faculty, secondary school administrators and teachers, and education and debate professionals. They were developed to maximize student educational outcomes and accelerate standards-based learning, as well as professional communication practice. The PDP promotes sophisticated public speaking, critical thinking, note taking, research, argumentation, and refutation skills. In 2016-17, the Public Debate Program will serve more than 800,000 teachers and students in 28 countries.

National Middle School/High School Debate Summer Sessions

Middle school and high school students may participate in MSPDP and HSPDP/CHSSA parliamentary debate programs. The summer residential/commuter debate sessions feature an innovative curriculum, extraordinarily low 4-1 student-faculty ratio, small group instruction, certified staff and judges for program instruction, and student-directed elective and open forum sessions. The summer program integrates student assessment portfolios for individual feedback and best practices updates during the following year. Students may attend one or more than one session – all sessions are appropriate for new and advanced debaters.

International High School Debate Summer Session/Audition

The program is open to US and international high school students. Debaters from China, Japan, Germany, Canada, Singapore, Indonesia, Kuwait, UAE, India, Mexico, Jordan, and other countries have previously attended. Instruction includes preparation for international debating in 2 international debate formats – the World Schools Debating Championship (WSDC) and World Parliamentary Debate (WPD) formats. In addition to the advantages of Claremont Summer programming (innovative curriculum, 4-1 student-faculty ratio, staff with years of international debate experience, studentdirected elective and open forum sessions), the program includes an integrated audition for Claremont’s International Public Debate Program (IPDP). The IPDP is an extraordinarily large, active, and successful program; its award-winning debaters have participated in tournaments and international exchanges in more than 20 countries. IPDP instruction and international competition assists students to succeed in WSDC competition. About half of the members of the NSDA’s WSDC debating squad previously participated in IPDP or other PDP debating.

Visit for information and applications


CLAREMONT SUMMER Residential/commuter sessions for 500 debate and leadership communication students. For comprehensive Information and applications, visit MIDDLE SCHOOL DEBATE Three sessions, with training in the Middle School Public Debate Program (MSPDP) format. Comprehensive instruction in advanced public speaking and argumentation – appropriate for MSPDP and other debate formats. The third session includes a summer tournament. Session 1 – June 25-30 Session 2 – July 6-11 Session 3 – July 26-August 2 HIGH SCHOOL DEBATE Two sessions, one with training in the High School Public Debate Program (HSPDP) and California High School Speech Association (CHSSA) parliamentary debate formats and another session featuring international debate instruction in the World Schools Debating Championship (WSDC) and World Parliamentary Debate (WPD) formats. National (HSPDP/CHSSA) – July 17-24 International (WSDC/WPD) – June 17-24

PROGRAM DIRECTOR John Meany Director of Forensics Claremont McKenna College Claremont Colleges Debate Union


Why Former Debaters are the Best College Professors by Doyle Srader, Ph.D.


ots of my friends make boring, unintelligible conversation that’s all larded up with jargon and concepts I can’t follow and don’t really care about. Your closest nondebater friends know my pain. I debated from seventh grade until my fifth year in college, so nearly everyone who came of age in my cohort went on to law school. I didn’t; I took a different path. When I get together with college friends, and they talk about collateral estoppel or motions for summary judgment, I have to tell them to shut up and watch the movie. That’s not so bad, but I do admit it rubs me the wrong way when people operate off the unspoken assumption that, obviously, good debaters are supposed to go to law school and become attorneys. I mean, if you’re good at research, strategy, and execution, then that’s where you belong, right? The legal profession is to debate as the NBA is to basketball, no? No. I have nothing against a career in law if that’s your calling, but I realized early that it wasn’t mine. When I was halfway through college, I decided I wanted to be a college debate coach and stay around debate my entire life. That didn’t last long. Instead of paying attention to what debate coaches actually did each day, I imagined all my favorite parts of competing in debate, and added on power


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The field doesn’t matter. Former college debaters of my acquaintance are now professors of Political Science, Philosophy, International Relations, Economics, History, Cognitive Science, and Math.”

and permanence, in the sense that I would get to make all the decisions and never run out of eligibility. Let’s just say it wasn’t quite like that, and I coached college debate for only two years. But the one thing I did do right was I got the schooling to nail down job security: I did a doctorate in Communication, which included several terms of TA teaching assignments. When my coaching dreams shriveled up and blew away, I fell back on teaching. In the years that followed, I made a discovery. Debate is really excellent training for a career as an educator. I don’t mean debate coach: I mean educator. The field doesn’t matter. Former college debaters of my acquaintance are now professors of Political Science, Philosophy, International Relations, Economics, History, Cognitive Science, and Math. I’m too far removed from debate to know whether “portable skills” is still a trendy buzz-phrase, but it’s got a lot of truth to it. (If it isn’t, ask your coach about it.) I’ve won campus-wide teaching awards in four of the past ten years, at a huge state school and a tiny liberal arts college. I don’t say that to brag; instead, I say it to set up the question so many of my colleagues

ask me: “How do you do that?” I always give them the same answer: “Debate.” They roll their eyes, but it’s true. To give you a sense of how cut out you are for the classroom, let me list a few things I do that make my colleagues ask, “How do you do that?”

1. I answer questions comfortably and confidently. Some professors do this, but you’d be surprised how many don’t. They know their subject, but they’re not used to being put on the spot. A handful of professors ask students to hold all questions until the end of class, but far more common is the professor who gives a short answer that really punts the topic down the road. But I spent years, and hundreds of debate rounds, parsing a question, quickly deciding on the best way to answer it, and then carefully choosing my wording on the fly, often turning my response into a useful argument in the moment. And any of you who’ve debated know how natural it feels to do that. College students love it.

2. I don’t fall behind. It’s amazing how many professors have zero awareness of the passage of time. They schedule lecture topics, exercises, and other learning activities for the class meetings, but then barely make it halfway through what they’d planned. Too often

they get engrossed in minutiae, or overly fascinated with their favorite nuances of their subject, and before they know it, they’re three days behind the syllabus and have to postpone the exam yet again. But anyone who’s debated knows how to watch the clock, how to pick up the pace and not fall behind—put simply, how to cover. And not just cover in the sense of getting words out, but how to make choices, prioritize, boil down to essential details, and get the critical topics addressed with the big picture in mind before time runs out. All professors have the same time limit—the end of the term, looming in the distance—so being top-heavy exacts a price at the end, just like in debate. But people with debate competence can use our time deliberately, and can compensate if the unexpected throws off our plans.

3. I get to the point. Many unfamiliar, complex ideas are only teachable with a lot of setup. For that reason, it’s a hazard of the trade in higher education that professors sometimes ramble. It comes to feel natural to give a lot of backstory, to define a lot of terms, or to narrate the moment when a pioneering researcher made a critical discovery. But debaters somehow never lose the satisfaction, the good feeling, of being able to cut right to the chase whenever possible. Sometimes it’s not possible, but when it is, it still feels good. I spent a good part of my debate career as a 1AR, and I still love it when my word economy is in gear, when I explain something briefly and see eyes widen in recognition, when my students show mastery of a concept that I delivered tightly and concisely.

4. I tell people no. My students are not minors under my supervision; they’re adults. In fact, some are older than I am. For this reason, a lot of professors have a very hard time setting limits and making them stick. But every debater I’ve ever met has a grip

on three qualities that help a professor maintain a rigorous, challenging learning environment that enables real growth. First, debaters know how to be assertive. Debate produces assertiveness like guitar playing produces finger calluses; it’s just an automatic byproduct. And former debaters who teach college students have all the assertiveness we need to enforce our policies and deadlines. Second, debaters know how to think several layers deep. We know how to spot a loaded question, how to hedge with a larger objective in mind, how not to get backed into a corner. Put this together with the assertiveness, and we’re a lot less likely to get flustered. Some of my colleagues say “How do you do that?” about my ability to stay calm when students challenge me. Honestly, it’s because the students are fighting above their weight. Third, and most importantly, debaters know how to help an opponent save face. You know those presets from time to time when you debate brand new novices, or a team from a school with zero coaching? And you know how they make really unwinnable arguments, or obvious mistakes? I think a lot of debaters have had the experience, early in our careers, of being too harsh or unkind to opponents who fit that profile, only to have the judge chew us out, and rightfully so, for the damage we do to our credibility, to the community, and to the learning potential of the environment. I think that’s one of the first truly adult lessons I learned about ethics.


The experience of guiding young people from newbies to confident conquerors of tough ideas is deeply rewarding.”

So now, when a student comes to my office to do damage control for unwise choices and missed assignments, I know how to have that conversation without being harsh, but also without talking down or being condescending. One of the biggest “How do you do thats?” I get from my colleagues goes along the lines of, “Why is it that the students who flunk your class still seem to like you?” There’s a good deal more. I actually did a fairly low-tech study of this phenomenon and presented it as a conference paper at the National Communication Association a little over ten years ago (Srader, 2006). And it’s true that debate produces a few regrettable habits that need to be corrected a bit before an ex-debater is ready to be effective in a classroom. (Although, honestly, most of my students seem to like the fact that I talk fast. But their patience with it might have something to do with the fact that I wear an MP3 recorder and post my recorded lectures online.)

Now, you might be thinking, “Fine, but why become a professor?” And I can speak to that, since I’ve spent the past two decades teaching college students. It’s not utopia, but it definitely has its perks. The experience of guiding young people from newbies to confident conquerors of tough ideas is deeply rewarding. You can get that experience if you teach K-12, but in that environment you have to follow a lot of regulations and directives that are responses to political pressure, and you also have to navigate the perceptions and expectations of parents. I have vast freedom to take approaches I dream up and experiment with, and hone in real time, taking feedback from students. That means my classes can stay very streamlined, functional, not about teaching to tests or fending off backlash from outsiders. It also makes my teaching very much a creative outlet: I have a lot of fun designing lessons and assignments,

— Dr. Doyle Srader Rostrum | WINTER 2017 83

EDUCATION and classroom teaching nicely scratches my itch to perform. A lot of my former students are now my lifelong friends; I’m writing this as fall term ends, and one thing I have to organize later today is a series of lunches and coffees with alums who are swinging through town. Not that higher education is perfect; it has some deep dysfunctions, and some of its institutional pressures will very likely reach the earthquake point before too long. But I have this crazy, stubborn belief that former debaters as educators make up one of the reforming, cleansing forces in higher education. We are disproportionately represented among deans and department chairs, and we have a collective reputation for running ruthlessly tight meetings and exposing the unacceptability of senseless bureaucracy. We are exercise equipment to burn off cognitive flab. But whatever career path you choose, my purpose in writing this is to challenge the notion I’ve found too many debaters seem to carry around, that debate is the NCAA to the legal profession’s NBA. That’s just not the case. If you’ve taken on the discipline of becoming a competent debater, you’ve laid a solid foundation for success as an educator. You’ve got options.

Dr. Doyle Srader is professor of Speech and Communication and symposiarch of the Song Nai Rhee Honors program at Northwest Christian University in Oregon. Dr. Srader debated for Baylor, was an assistant coach at Baylor and the University of Georgia, and head coach at Arizona State. As a member of the NSDA, he earned a single ruby debating for Richardson High School in Richardson, Texas.

Reference Srader, D. (2006). The impact of prior experience in intercollegiate debate upon a postsecondary educator’s skill-set. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Communication Association, San Antonio, TX, November 16–19. Retrieved from


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Student Spotlight These young women plan to enter the field of education after graduation. Learn what inspires them and how involvement in speech and debate is helping them reach their goals. Carly Goldsmith (Class of 2017) Montville High School in New Jersey • Involved in speech and debate for four years

Plans to attend The College of New Jersey with a double major in Special Education/ Elementary Education and Spanish What made you decide to go into the field of education? The field of education has been in my family for generations. My great-grandmother was a teacher, my grandmother was a teacher, my mother is a teacher, and my sister is currently in college to become a teacher. Beside it being in my family, when I first started working with kids, I immediately fell in love. Especially at the younger ages, your influence on them means so much. Tell us a bit about your favorite teacher or coach and how they’ve inspired you. Mr. Miller, my eighth grade Language Arts teacher, has consistently been there for me for the last five years. He was the first teacher I could actually talk to about any problems I was having, without fear of retaliation: a skill that still helps me to this day. How has participation in speech and debate benefited you as a student? I am more comfortable participating in class. I used to be the kid who awkwardly sat in the back of the room and waited for others to answer, but now I proactively respond to questions posed by my teachers. What skills will translate to college or your career in education? I will be able to command a classroom and make sure that the students understand my presence. If I begin my teaching career orating assertively, then expectations will be set and more likely to be followed. What tips would you offer fellow students who are thinking of becoming a teacher? Teaching is an extremely rewarding career. However, it can be somewhat difficult. It is a job that involves a lot of connection with people. Another key element of being an educator is having good communication skills. Moreover, a teacher has to be in the job for the enjoyment. It requires so much energy. If a person is not committed, nobody is going to learn or have fun. Is there anything you would like to add? If I could go back and change my high school experience, I know the one thing I would not change would be forensics. I would not trade this for anything. I would suggest anyone to try to compete, whether they are good at public speaking or not. This activity has become my second family.

Grace Klein (Class of 2019) Millard West High School in Nebraska

Mariah Villaroman (Class of 2017) Munster High School in Indiana

• Involved in speech and debate for two years

• Involved in speech and debate for four years

Plans to attend the University of Nebraska Lincoln with a major in education and a minor in psychology

Plans to attend Indiana University or Valparaiso University with a major in Spanish Education

What made you decide to go into the field of education? Throughout my elementary and middle school career, I have always enjoyed helping out teachers with their daily responsibilities, whether it was writing something on the board or sharpening pencils; it just made me happy. Now that I am a little older and have had a variety of teachers, I realize the impact a teacher can have in a student’s life. I have had teachers who have made me excited to learn, who’ve helped me overcome tough subjects that used to scare me. I want to do the same for my students.

What made you decide to go into the field of education? A few reasons contribute to my decision. For one, my mom is a teacher and my biggest role model, so I want to follow after her. Second, I did this awesome foreign language program with Indiana University, and it really fostered a whole new love for the Spanish language. Most of all, I guess I just like helping people, as cheesy as that sounds. It’s nice to see someone succeed if you had a small part, any part, in their success.

Tell us a bit about your favorite teacher or coach and how they’ve inspired you. My speech coach, Ms. Jerome, has been an inspiration for me since the start. Last year, I wasn’t sure if I was right for forensics. I thought I was too shy. She assured me that becoming a good speaker would take time and practice. During my novice year, I never went to finals, and the rest of my teammates did, yet she never made me feel bad about myself. She just encouraged me to try new categories and new topics until I found the ones that clicked with my personality and writing style. If I had given up thinking it wasn’t a good fit, I would have missed out on so much. It had been a good lesson in perseverance! How has participation in speech benefited you as a student? Speech has benefited me in many ways. I had to learn better time management. I am a better researcher utilizing various sources and voices on topics to give me a more well-rounded understanding. I’ve usually done well with my writing structure, but now I have great content! What skills will translate to college or your career in education? Being a better student will definitely carry over into college. I have also gained more social skills. This includes meeting new people and starting conversations. I don’t feel awkward in new situations anymore. I think this will benefit in relating to my class, their parents, and other teachers. I can also share some of the things I have learned with students who are shy. What tips would you offer fellow students who are thinking of becoming a teacher? Talk to your favorite teachers and ask them what they would tell themselves back in high school if they could—what classes to take, what teams and clubs to join, what helped them become the great teacher they are—and then consider this feedback when making your choices.

Tell us a bit about your favorite teacher or coach and how they’ve inspired you. I really appreciate all the coaches on my speech team, but I’ve worked with Mrs. Katie Gross more than anyone else. She has been my primary Oratory coach for three years now, and she has helped create a sense of critical thinking and passion for that event. There was a scary time my sophomore year when my school made budget cuts and that, unfortunately, included her job. I remember crying in the middle of my English class. Miraculously, it worked out that my school was able to keep her position! I think that shows how much she meant to me only after a year of coaching. How has participation in speech and debate benefited you as a student? Speech and debate has really helped with my time management skills. Those 12-hour Saturday tournaments can be exhausting, but I’ve learned that if I plan ahead and plan smart, I can complete my schoolwork and participate in an activity I love. Also, at least from competing in Original Oratory, writing English essays has become so much easier. What skills will translate to college or your career in education? Communication! No matter what major or profession you plan on doing, effective communication (both verbal and nonverbal) will always be beneficial. It is so crucial to write fluent essays or hold charming interviews with possible employers. Especially with education, I need to talk about a subject in a way that makes sense to younger students. I know for a fact my communication skills have insanely improved through speech and debate. What tips would you offer fellow students who are thinking of becoming a teacher? Be prepared to not exactly be encouraged to enter education. Many people are going to think that you can find a better paying job and one with more professional benefits, and it’s going to become really discouraging. Do your research and find the location, subject, age group, etc., that would be ideal. Talk honestly with your teachers about their feelings toward the job. There’s a reason you want to teach; don’t let anyone take that reason away.

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USA Debate: Stepping Stones to Bali by Liz Yount Follow the team on social media and at


hand my passport to the Croatian customs official for the second year in a row. “Reason for your visit?” he inquires. “Debate tournament,” I respond affirmatively. When I passed through customs in that very same airport one year earlier, I had absolutely no idea what to expect. Having never left the country nor debated with Team USA, my growing excitement equaled my trepidation. However, this journey through the Croatian airport was characterized by confidence and humility—a product of a year’s experience debating alongside the amazing people who comprise USA Debate. Eight debaters and two coaches traveled to Zagreb, Croatia, from December 14-19 to compete in the Winter Holidays Open (WHO) tournament, for the second year in a row. Last year, USA Debate fought to the final round and championed the tournament, with debaters placing throughout the top 10 speakers. This year, USA Debate Red (Aditya Dhar


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’17, Josh May ’17, Ella Michaels ’18, and Liz Yount ’17) advanced to the final round and placed second overall in the tournament. USA Debate Blue (Colette Faulkner ’17, Gaurav Gawankar ’17, Sarah Lanier ’17, and Nikhil Ramaswamy ’18) advanced to semifinals and placed third overall. Faulkner, Yount, Ramaswamy, Lanier, and Michaels also placed 2nd, 3rd, 13th, 15th, and 16th, respectively, out of 325 total speakers from 102 teams. Prior to the WHO, USA Debate also sent one team (Dhar, Faulkner, Lanier, Michaels, and Ellie Grossman ’17) to the EurOpen Tournament in Hamburg, Germany, from November 2-9. Team USA finished as a quarterfinalist with Gawankar and Lanier placing as third and seventh speakers, respectively. In preparation for the WHO in Croatia, Team USA, along with its inaugural Development Team, began a new tradition by gathering in Houston, Texas, from November 26-27 for “Turkey Training.” “Being able to work face-to-face [in Houston] with fellow teammates

not only helped solidify our team’s bond, but also allowed us to work together more freely and openly,” Faulkner says. “I think a large part of our success in Croatia can be owed to the Turkey Training.” Like Faulkner, Gawankar also agrees that the Turkey Training was integral in developing both debate skills and team connections. “When it came time for us to prepare for elimination rounds at the WHO, all of the members fell into place like a well-oiled machine and worked together to do what was necessary,” he explains. “This was largely due to the guidance and leadership of the team captains who properly designated tasks and ensured that what needed to be done was done.” USA Debate Coach and Manager Cindi Timmons also echoes feelings of teamwork, emphasizing the time spent preparing for competition and researching material. “After decades of doing this, I am still in love with the rush of late nights with a group of smart people

(opposite page, left to right) In December, Ella Michaels, Nikhil Ramaswamy, Aditya Dhar, Joshua May, Liz Yount, Gaurav Gawankar, Colette Faulkner, and Sarah Lanier traveled to Zagreb, Croatia, for the 2016 Winter Holidays Open.

hashing through ideas—the coming together of team as family for a common goal,” she reflects. “Part of me is in the middle of it all, enjoying the back and forth, and part of me is stepping back and just enjoying the magic and wondering if everyone else realizes how powerful this is.” She explains that the next step for USA Debate in preparation for its trip to Singapore in February is to focus on personal growth and continue strengthening impromptu debate skills. Returning team member Josh May agrees that streamlining the impromptu prep process will move Team USA closer toward a world championship in Bali, Indonesia, this summer. “In comparison to last year, I think the team has been able to develop much more diverse roles to the point where everyone can debate in multiple positions,” May explains. “I’m greatly looking forward to developing a really close team that’s ready to win WSDC this summer.” As we continue to prepare for competition in Los Angeles and Singapore, I am constantly reminded of the immense support that comes from my debate family. Despite our distance on the map, we will continue improving our skills and creating more memories together. I am anxious to see where my next journey on Team USA will lead, but regardless of the destination, I will always have a group of supportive teammates and coaches by my side. For that, I am truly grateful.

(below, top to bottom) Teammates held intensive practice sessions in Houston, Texas, as part of their Turkey Training in November. • USA Debate Red (Michaels, Yount, Dhar, and May) placed second at the Winter Holidays Open. • USA Debate Blue (Gawankar, Faulkner, Lanier, and Ramaswamy) placed third overall.

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Mario Herrera:

Finding the Path to Success by Katie Hines


any people argue that education is the “great equalizer.” No matter someone’s race, socioeconomic status, or gender, they can thrive through education. Mario Herrera, four-diamond coach from Henry W. Grady High School in Atlanta, Georgia, believes that speech and debate also can be seen as the great equalizer. “It allows people from varying backgrounds to find success and to their path and to find some place to fit in,” he explains. “It encourages individuals to step up and be what they can be.” This belief and passion for the activity stems from Mario’s own background and experiences in high school. Many teachers use their own experiences and learning styles to create their teaching philosophy. Little did Mario know that his own future teaching philosophy would begin to mold as a freshman in high school. In the ninth grade, Mario was struggling in English class when his teacher reached out to him and suggested that he join the speech and debate team. Being on the debate team surrounded by supportive teammates and coaches helped him realize that this was a path where he could apply his curiosity and transfer the skills he learned over to the classroom, thus sparking his passion for the activity. Throughout his high school career, Mario competed in Extemporaneous Speaking, Policy Debate, and Oratory.


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Each of these events helped develop lifelong skills. (Even his failed attempt at Duo made him realize he would never become an actor.) As Mario explains, “Extemp made me answer the question as opposed to just talking about a subject by using critical thinking and utilizing the information that you’ve absorbed and then articulating it.” Although he grew to be successful outside of the classroom, it didn’t always translate within the classroom. Despite being president of the debate team and captain of the show choir, Mario did not see language classes as important—and therefore didn’t go. This caused him to not graduate high school on time. After earning his high school diploma later that summer, Mario attended the University of New Mexico. During his first year, however, he decided college wasn’t for him and instead entered the healthcare field, working with geriatric, Alzheimer, and stroke victims while


[Speech and debate] encourages individuals to step up and be what they can be.” — Mario Herrera, Coach

simultaneously working as a contract coach. After 10 years as a healthcare professional and contract coach, Mario recalls asking himself, “Why am I coaching instead of teaching?” He ultimately took the leap and went back to college. In 2005, he graduated with his Bachelor’s degree from the University of New Mexico, all while continuing to coach. Upon graduation, Mario began working at CDE Debate. There, through working relationships, he finally found an opportunity to teach halfway across the country at Grady High School. Ever since, Mario has taken on more than a full class schedule. As a very ambitious person, he teaches ninth grade Literature and Composition, AP Seminar, and Speech and Forensics I, II, III, IV. In the classroom, Mario engages students in a variety of ways. He often will take a stance that might be provocative to get students to participate, then challenges them by asking “why” or to “prove it.” This is all to push students outside of their comfort zone and explore topics deeper. In fact, what feeds Mario’s passion for teaching—and speech and debate in general—is when students who are nervous and don’t want to speak in front of large groups end up working hard and coming out of their rounds


Even though competition exists in a bubble, the skills they are learning go beyond that.” — Mario Herrera, Coach, Henry W. Grady High School, Atlanta, GA Grady High School Speech and Debate Team, pictured at right.

smiling. He enjoys watching students who start out struggling but then begin to appreciate the struggle—as well as the rewards. Mario is a strong advocate for interdisciplinary learning in his school. He recognizes that disciplines are not in their own exclusive silos; rather, they overlap in unique ways. In his AP seminar class, for example, Mario frequently invites other teachers and college professors to speak on topics they’re learning and debating about in the classroom. He also visits other classrooms to help students with speaking drills. This partnership among teachers at Grady creates a culture in which students thrive and makes debate more inclusive. Mario doesn’t just apply what students are learning in other classes but also to what is going on in the world. During the presidential debates this past fall, he had his students examine them from an unbiased perspective through the lens of their respective speech or debate events. Extempers would view the debate and critique it based on whether or not the speaker was able to answer the question; Public Forum debaters examined whether or not the factual statements were actually factual; and Lincoln-Douglass debaters looked at the debate through a philosophical lens. Mario explains his thought process behind this strategy: “I wanted them to

see that, even though competition exists in a bubble, the skills they are learning go beyond that.” In other words, speech and debate skills are lifelong skills that can be applied no matter the field they enter. By talking to Mario, anyone can tell he truly cares about his students and wants them to succeed in the classroom and later in life. He keeps in contact with former students from New Mexico and from Grady. In December, thanks to a former Grady student, his debate team was able to visit the Eisenhower Executive Office building in Washington, D.C., where they participated in a fourhour Q&A session with presidential advisors about current events and debate topics. Mario and the White House staff were blown away by the tough questions his students were asking. The students themselves felt valued when individuals from such a high office were listening and truly engaging with them. After the Q&A, students began to understand that what they do and talk about matters and is relevant to the world. Furthermore, Mario wanted to instill in them that “there is a need to talk about theory on some level, but there’s also a need to balance ethos, pathos, and logos. Just because something is logical doesn’t mean it’s going to happen, and just because someone says something, that’s not the

only way to look at things.” The lesson that government can work, and that there are positive figures in government, is invaluable for these students. As Mario elaborates, “They’re growing up in a very interesting time. Seeing that people try to do good every day was a really important message.” What comes next for Mario? Under his leadership so far, the Grady High School debate team has won seven state championships; he has been recognized as Coach of the Year by the Atlanta Urban Debate League and Georgia Forensics Coaches Association; and local and national news stations seek him out for features because his school and team are so well known. It seems that he is at the top as far as accomplishments go. Now, his focus is on how speech and debate can become even more inclusive and diverse. As a part of the NSDA’s Inclusion Committee, Mario is working with other speech and debate professionals to identify and mitigate barriers to joining the activity. Mario believes that speech and debate can offer opportunities for students who struggle in the classroom and who do not always see the application for skills and knowledge they are learn—much like himself in high school.

Katie Hines serves as the NSDA’s Grants Administrator for Big Questions Debates.

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Dr. Mike Edmonds:

Aware, Awake, and Thinking

Dr. Mike Edmonds, the Dean of Students and Vice-President of Student Life at Colorado College, participated in Interpretation events, Extemp, and Congressional Debate at Northwest HIgh School in Tennessee as a student member of NSDA.

by Amy Seidelman


hen you get to know Dr. Mike Edmonds, Dean of Students and Vice-President of Student Life at Colorado College, it’s very clear why he devotes so much time, energy, and thought to speech and debate. It’s not because he seeks excellence, although he does. It’s not because it’s what he’s good at, although he is. And it’s not because he thinks speech and debate is fun, although if you’ve seen him speak, he clearly enjoys it. His vision is a little bigger than that. He sees speech and debate as the means to an end. A way to further a cause—any cause. This is evident in the people he admires. Two of Dr. Edmonds’ role models in the forensics community are Paul Slappey, at the University of Iowa, and Melissa Maxcy Wade, who recently retired from Emory University, both of whom Dr. Edmonds taught with at high school institutes. He appreciates Paul and Melissa’s ongoing devotion to bettering their art but, most of all, he appreciates their “fight.” As he relates: “Both Paul and Melissa are model examples of forensic leaders who are totally committed to access and inclusion issues. Their belief is that forensics is life-changing and so powerful that we need to make sure all students have access to the activity. They should be role models


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for all leaders in the speech and debate community.” Paul and Melissa are the namesakes for awards given out by Emory University to recognize the promotion of diversity and social justice work, respectively. Dr. Edmonds is a member of another notable honorary associated with Emory, the Gold Key Society, which is presented each year at the Barkley Forum for High Schools. Despite having garnered numerous prestigious awards, it’s one of his greatest honors because it places him among orators and performers whom he expresses “elation” at meeting and joining. Another cherished honor isn’t speech and debate related, it’s more about that “end”—it is the St. George Award from the American Cancer Society, which honors efforts to find a cure for cancer. In his years helping people use speech and debate to advocate, Dr. Edmonds has worked with students in high school and college. When asked how the activity could do an even better job of preparing students for college, Dr. Edmonds demonstrates concern that some of the people in our country who would be best served by participating, and who have a wealth of experience to offer, are often excluded. “Speech and debate requires coaches, support networks, tournament fees, transportation fees, and family sacrifices. It isn’t always easy for everyone to

Here’s what people who “ wanna be like Mike” say he teaches them: • Always leave a little room for spontaneity in a speech. • You are funnier and more meaningful if you speak slowly. • Cut the euphemisms and say what you mean. • Never forget to thank your audience.

participate.” He believes that the program must be thought about as a system, one that offers holistic support in an attempt to reduce marginalization. Dr. Edmonds would also like to see speech and debate operate more as education on truth. “What is a trusted source? How do you properly cite your sources? Are you wary of bias in reporting and writing? This is of vital importance in society and in our work. We should lead the way in addressing it. In the information economy, knowing how to discern truth is a vital skill.” Given his status as an alum and sponsor, and his involvement in the NSDA Summer Leadership Conference and Inclusion Committee, Dr. Edmonds is actively engaged with the national organization. When asked to lend his thoughts on priorities for the next five years, he suggested the following: 1. Inclusion and access to speech and debate: Who is given the opportunity to participate, what is highlighted, and a promotion of

I treat a speech like I would a single person in the audience: with curiosity and respect.” — Dr. Mike Edmonds, Colorado College

forensics for students who otherwise may have never considered it. 2. Relevance: How speech and debate stays current with trends in technology, in politics, and in changing social dynamics. Keeping forensics applicable to the causes and people of our time is critical to our mission. 3. Affordability: How does the NSDA maintain a healthy financial outlook while doing all it can to help those

who do not participate because of financial barriers. Dr. Edmonds is well-positioned to speak of relevance. He has seen the organization through many changes and trends. As a student, he participated in Interpretation events, Extemp, and Congressional Debate at Northwest HIgh School in Tennessee. His most powerful memories from that time involve being able to travel with the team and making friends—“wonderful friends, people with whom I am still friends.” How has the activity changed since then? Dr. Edmonds feels that there are aspects of speech and debate that are dramatically different, and some that have remained constant. “Students today are so much more informed and more global than we were in high school. They have instantaneous access to information, and their ability to synthesize that information in a speech is incredible. Still,” he says, “the core skills in debate, of being able to present coherently and prioritize one’s time, remain the same.”

President Don Crabtree, Donus Roberts, and Dr. Mike Edmonds presenting coach Ron Underwood with his 10th diamond award at the 2014 National Tournament.

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Dr. Mike Edmonds presenting coach Sarah Rosenberg her third diamond award at the 2015 National Speech & Debate Tournament in Dallas, Texas.

Why Colorado College Supports Speech and Debate Why we sponsor the National Speech & Debate Tournament. Rhetoric is part of the liberal arts and fine forensics skills are always needed at our college. Speech and debate teaches students to think independently, to approach situations from new perspectives and empathize with those who disagree, and to fight for a cause. We chose to sponsor activities because they are part of what we believe is the finest education a student can undertake, Dr. Edmonds is a striking example of a positive person who understands when and how to be critical. Often, that’s to make something better—to further a cause. He’s always happy to be in the presence of fellow coaches and educators who do the same. “The Summer Leadership Conference is one of my favorite parts of being in the NSDA—it offers attendees the opportunity to interact with some of the brightest and most dedicated educators in the forensics world.” He sees even more opportunity when it comes to the first ever national education conference this fall. “In Denver, I look forward to the opportunity to be around educators who are using speech and debate as a platform to discuss some of the most pressing issues our society faces— inclusion, discrimination, a divided society, and other pressing global concerns. These conferences are always worth the investment because they are opportunities for learning and growth, with people similarly thoughtful and articulate about the subject.” Most of the year, the people with whom he gets to discuss those pressing issues are college students. Dr. Edmonds takes his responsibility to help steward young lives as Dean of Students and Vice-President of Student Life at Colorado College very seriously. In fact, he considers his task to greet incoming students each year one of his most


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important speaking engagements. He must use the time to set the tone for an entire incoming class, seated together in a large auditorium, who may not all be together again until graduation. Even this welcome he uses as a time to further the cause of inclusion: “This year, I talked about the need to value truth and to respect the differences of others. Difference is a characteristic to be fostered and valued, not something to fear or suppress.” Despite the importance that he get the speech right, Dr. Edmonds does not follow a strict script. But he is very prepared. “For speeches like this, I revise heavily, knowing what I draft will not be my final speech. I run through my speech a few times with myself or other debaters.” Even with his message planned and fortified through practice, he always leaves a little room to improvise to keep the remarks genuine. “I want the audience to know I am aware, awake, and thinking about my work and them. I treat a speech like I would a single person in the audience: with curiosity and respect.” Having been in several rooms with Dr. Edmonds, there is no question he is aware, awake, and thinking. If you’ve met him, too, consider paying his attentiveness forward to your audiences, whether they number one or hundreds. Amy Seidelman serves as the Association’s Director of Operations

and excellent preparation for a liberal arts school.

Why we believe in recognition, especially in the Diamond Ceremony. Recognition in my mind is both an encouragement and a thank you. We must encourage each other to always learn and be better, and unite to show gratitude. It is an important part of sportsmanship. The sacrifice that teachers, students, parents, and families give to keep this activity alive and relevant is tremendous and worthy of our praise.

Why we want speech and debate students at Colorado College. In my experience, there are few activities that better prepare students for college. Speech and debate, as I mentioned before, forces students to break out of preconceived notions, to empathize with and argue the other side, and to deal with the discomfort of uncertainty. It requires preparation, rehearsal, foresight, planning, and careful understanding of current events and contemporary issues. Every one of these attributes is a key part of success in a university environment and being an educated citizen. We want students to think critically, to be able to articulate themselves with economy and grace, and have the verve to defend a position.

The Victory Briefs Institute

Visit Or call 330-3-DEBATE Why VBI? 1. Excellence: VBI alumni have won over 45 national championships across the TOC, NSDA, NCFL, and NDCA, in addition to hundreds of national invitationals, round robins, and state tournaments and even a world championship. 2. Trust: With over five thousand alumni and students from 35+ states and 250+ schools each year, VBI is the most widely trusted camp in the country. 3. Curriculum: Our 4:1 student-instructor ratio allows us to prioritize one-on-one mentorship and active learning, rather than large lectures.

2017 Sessions: • VBI Philadelphia (Swarthmore

College): July 1 to 14 ($2795)

• VBI Los Angeles Session I

(Flagship Three-Week Institute at Loyola Marymount University): July 16 to August 5 ($3995)

• VBI Los Angeles Session II

(Topic Prep Workshop at UCLA): August 6 to 19 ($2995)

All sessions will feature both Lincoln-Douglas & Public Forum debate. Your students save $100 with discount code ROSTRUM. Need-based financial aid is also available.


Deep South District:

A Blend of Passion, Experience, and Southern Hospitality in the Deep South

by Shelby Young


lues. Barbeque. Sweet Tea. History. The state of Alabama is well-known for many reasons, including hosting the National Speech & Debate Tournament. This summer, the Deep South District will host Nationals for the fourth time since 1980. While the District Committee is busier than ever, there is a lot more to the Deep South District than hosting Nationals. The district prides itself on fostering new programs and cultivating a supportive environment for 94

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coaches and teachers to ensure all students have access to speech and debate. “We have the attitude here that if we don’t support each other, who will?” says District Committee Chair and Board Member Jay Rye. “We’ve always taken that approach because a coach may not receive that support from their school system.” This approach is one thing that hasn’t changed since Jay become a member of the District Committee in 1993. Over the past 23 years, the district has changed in many ways, including size and demographics. When Jay was first elected to the committee, there were about 15

schools within the Deep South District, all located in the city of Birmingham. Now, the Deep South District has more than doubled in size and expands throughout the entire state of Alabama. “It could be challenging to have the district cover the whole state, but we have such a good network of coaches that we make everything work,” says District Committee Member Dr. Ian Turnipseed.

Overcoming Challenges Travel and expenses are two challenges for any large, geographically diverse district. The Deep South District tackles those challenges by scheduling


We have the attitude here that if we don’t support each other, who will?”

— Jay Rye,

District Chair, Deep South (AL)

tournaments throughout the district about every month. “We always try to make sure that state and district tournaments are held in a different city,” says District Committee Member Nate Conoly. “This allows more schools to travel and compete.” What makes all of this possible is the camaraderie among coaches in the Deep South. While remaining competitive, the coaches have a support system within their district. They constantly work together to create the best speech and debate community for all their students across the state. “Every summer, we have a meeting for all of the coaches in our district,” says Conoly. “We work together to lay out schedules, answer questions, share

information, and meet anyone new to the coaching team.” The district also has an open-door policy during the tournament season. All coaches are allowed to be in the tab room, put judges in, and read ballots. At the District Tournament, one head coach is on every panel during a Nationals qualifying round. It’s said that the fun being had in the district tab room rivals anything else. “It’s really about our district as a whole,” says Rye. “We want to put together the best team that represents all of us. To do that, we have to work together throughout the year.” This mentality is why District Committee Member Christopher Colvin has been coaching speech and debate in the Deep South District for 23 years. The district doesn’t let competition be the primary reason they participate in the activity. Coaches are there to help kids and provide an opportunity for them to become better. “The goal isn’t to win; it’s to learn,” Colvin says. “I know when a coach goes into the room to judge my student, they will give our kids the best advice they can. The better each student is, the better our district is.” Three years ago as a new speech and debate coach, this culture helped Conoly’s team blossom. He was a math teacher with no experience with the activity when he was asked to teach speech and debate. Conoly jumped in head first and hasn’t looked back. He was elected to take on a leadership role

in the District Committee for the first time this school year. “So many coaches in our district played a really important role in helping me,” says Conoly. “When a new program comes along, all of our teams are really quick to help out and pitch with whatever they need. I saw it first-hand and I’m happy to be part of that now.”

Meet the Committee James W. Rye, Chair The Montgomery Academy Montgomery, AL

Christopher Colvin Lamp High School Montgomery, AL

Dr. Thomas Robert Ian Turnipseed Saint James School Montgomery, AL

Elizabeth Wood Weas Mountain Brook High School Mountain Brook, AL

Nate Conoly Vestavia Hills High School Vestavia Hills, AL

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Case Study: SpeakFirst

SPEAKFirst $173,640 Amount of college scholarships earned

by 3 SpeakFirst graduates in 2016: UA, UAB, and UAHuntsville provide full-tuition scholarships to our seniors, and our students earn many more scholarships to nationally-ranked schools.

103 Number of debate practices in ‘15-’16:


Our students practice three hours per day, three days per week to prepare for debate tournaments. Academic debate is widely accepted as the most valuable extracurricular activity to prepare kids for success in college.

50% % of rounds won by our juniors AND

seniors in 2015-16: Our students compete and hold their own against the best schools in the state.

A lot of the inequalities that exist in our education system come not from the fact that students don’t take advantage of opportunities, but that they aren’t offered in the first place. You can’t expect a child to perform if she is given no opportunity to do so.” — Jennifer Moore, 2014 Vanderbilt University Graduate and SpeakFirst Alumna

Want to learn more about Impact America and the SpeakFirst Program? Visit 96

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The Deep South District will do whatever it takes to ensure students have access to compete in speech and debate. When the Birmingham based non-profit, Impact America, reached out to the Deep South District, the district came together to provide all the support they could. From free vision screenings for children in urban and rural communities to a college mentorship program, the mission of Impact America is to provide opportunity through four distinct initiatives to promote change while cultivating leadership. Impact America’s SpeakFirst initiative uses academic debate as a platform to challenge Birmingham’s high school and middle school students and guide them on a path toward excellence in college and beyond. The Deep South District made it their mission to help these students succeed. “SpeakFirst has found what we all know to be true—speech and debate is the best tool for developing students’ critical thinking skills,” says Rye. SpeakFirst identifies high achieving students in inner city schools that don’t have speech and debate programs. Throughout the year, the students practice together and compete at area speech and debate tournaments. If the students participate in the activity for four years, they can earn a scholarship from Impact America to a state university. The Deep South District played a role in this program by working with students, SpeakFirst coaches, and their schools to make sure each student has access to competition, a requirement in the program. For the first several years, the district waived fees for all in-state tournaments. Now, there are many new SpeakFirst chapters across the state, and they all pay their own fees to attend tournaments. A number of students in the SpeakFirst Program have qualified to the National Tournament. “This is a great example of what our district did to foster speech and debate,” says Rye. “There was no push back about fees because we all saw the impact of this was going to be tremendous. It’s changed their lives.”

Tightly-Knit Community SpeakFirst is just one shining star on the map of the Deep South District. The district goes above and beyond to make speech and debate accessible to all. The committee has been known to waive fees for new programs or create alternative after school competitions. “This activity can be cost prohibitive, so we do all we can to help,” says Colvin. “We don’t want anything to stand in the way of a student learning.” The inclusive nature of the district has made it very easy to discuss and implement new ideas to ensure all programs in Alabama can grow and succeed. “We support the activity at large,” says Turnipseed. “We don’t worry about our own programs; we worry about providing the activity to more students.” It’s not uncommon to find coaches from different schools shadowing each other, sharing tips and tricks, and mentoring each other.

Beyond the district lines of the Deep South District, teams, coaches, and students involved in the activity are part of a tightly-knit community. They are connected through their love for speech and debate. “We love our students,” says Wood Weas. “We love our coaches. We love what we are doing, and we love what this activity affords our students.” In a few short months, the District Committee will have the opportunity to show all of us the many reasons why the deep south is well-known. The National Speech & Debate Tournament showcases the best of the best. The Deep South District has the passion, experience, support, encouragement, and southern hospitality to make this year’s National Tournament one for the history books.

“I’ve had an entire day where coaches, especially those from new programs, shadow me at school and when I coach,” says District Committee Member Elizabeth Wood Weas. We talk about ways to structure their program, how to create grading structures, team policies, travel requirements, parent expectations, fundraising ideas—everything in my coaching handbook.” This collaborative environment among competing schools bonds veteran coaches in the state and new coaches just getting started in the activity. Everyone has access to the same tools, resources, and opportunities, which has helped retain schools and build a stronger, more competitive district. “Watching a program go from nothing to something is so much fun to watch,” says Rye. “That is what I did 26 years ago, and it’s really great to watch that growth with other coaches and programs.”

Shelby Young serves as Communications Specialist for the NSDA.

Nationals Tips from the Committee With the National Tournament just around the corner, we wanted to share some “inside tips” for exploring Birmingham while you’re in town for competition.




Red Mountain Park

Pizitz Food Hall

Enjoy some fresh air at this 1,500-acre park with 15 miles of scenic trails, historic mines, zip lines, tree house, and a dog park. Don’t forget your sunscreen!

The Food Hall is located in downtown Birmingham’s historic Pizitz Building. With 13 food stalls and a number of restaurants, diners can have their pick of everything from banh mi to biscuits.

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (BCRI) BCRI is a cultural and educational research center that promotes a comprehensive understanding and appreciation for the significance of civil rights developments in Birmingham. (Admission is FREE on Sundays.)



Dreamland Bar-B-Que

Vulcan Park & Museum

Dreamland’s motto is, “Ain’t nothin’ like ‘em nowhere!” This casual, down-home restaurant is known for bib ribs. This popular restaurant has been serving ribs since 1958!

Vulcan is the world’s largest cast iron statue at 56 feet tall boasting 100,000 pounds of iron! He stands on top of Red Mountain overlooking the city of Birmingham. Visit the park and museum for spectacular views of the city and an interactive museum.

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Mount Jordan Middle School:

Debate Never Sounded So Good

by Shelby Young


t’s no surprise to see band and orchestra teacher Benjamin Simmons leading the middle school band at a concert, school event, or special performance at Mount Jordan Middle School in Salt Lake City, Utah. But it might surprise you to find Ben leading his middle school debate team with the same artistic direction, conducting skills, and performance techniques. “The benefit of having a band teacher as a debate coach is that I’m used to prepping for a performance or concert. We have one shot to perform our music, and debate is the same way,” Ben says. “My students hear that debate class is important, but they see their end goal at the competition or performance. That is where kids learn the most.”


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“I provide a direction and path [for my students] to follow. . . Then I set them loose, and they soar.” — Benjamin Simmons, Coach

Over the last three years, this musical maven has become a debate devotee. When he was asked to teach debate in 2013, Ben knew little about the activity. He had never competed in speech or debate, but was eager to take on a new challenge. Since then, he has completely fallen in love with the activity. “Many teachers who come to be involved in debate without having experience struggle, but Ben was a star debate teacher from day one,”

says Leslie Robinett, Instructional Support Specialist at Canyons Schools District. “As a band teacher, Ben understands how to work with a room full of students who all have varying abilities, commitment, and who are working toward different goals.” Along with teaching band and orchestra, Ben teaches two classes of middle school debate. He’s seen firsthand the positive impacts the activity has had on his young students.

“Every day I see the kids excel,” Ben explains. “Their goal is to always keep getting better. I can’t teach that. It’s simply the culture of the team.” Parker McKay is one of those students. Ben teaches McKay in three middle school band classes and one debate class. He has seen how this activity has transformed McKay. “[Mr. Simmons] has influenced the way I act in school,” says eighth grader McKay. “As an orator, I’ve become a better speaker. I’ve become a better person overall, with more friends and newfound confidence.” Whether the subject is band or debate, Ben is a big advocate that all students, no matter what their age, are more capable than they get credit for. “As a teacher, I provide a direction and path to follow,” he says. “Then I set them loose, and they soar.” Dallin Rima is a perfect example of that. Once afraid of standing in front of the class, he is now a leader in the classroom. “Before debate, I didn’t like public speaking,” says seventh grader Rima. “Now, I take every opportunity I get. I’ve had drastic improvements in my speaking.” Ben’s middle school team debates relevant, real world topics, just as high school students do. They are learning about the constitution and amendments, reading in-depth articles on topics, and understanding the implications of the political system. “I’ve learned so much about the real world through debate,” says eighth grader Ashton Pelley. “I’ve learned that working hard pays off. When I work hard, I’ve had very


My favorite part of being in debate is that I learn more, and it improves my writing and education in general.” — Owen Geiger, Student, Mount Jordan Middle School

rewarding results that I will never forget.” “My favorite part of being in debate is that I learn more, and it improves my writing and education in general,” says 13-year-old Owen Geiger. “I learned how to collect evidence, prepare evidence, write arguments, how to set up arguments, and flow. Mr. Simmons has impacted my life by making me a smarter person.” The team competes both inside and outside of the classroom. As a middle school team, they are limited to traveling throughout the school district, but last year, they got to compete at the National Tournament in Salt Lake City, since it was hosted in their backyard. Ben’s middle school students competed in Original Oratory, Lincoln-Douglas, and Policy Debate. The educational value of the tournament was inspiring. “It was a great learning experience for all of us,” said Ben. “[The students] learned they are just as competitive as any of the other schools. I would love to compete in the future again.” When Nationals isn’t hosted in their area, the team typically competes in five local tournaments every year. With every tournament,

Ben witnesses the quality of competition increase. “The quality of rhetoric is astounding,” Ben says. “It’s fun to empower students and give them their own voice.” Ben teaches his students that they can do anything they put their mind to. He shows them that through hard work, they can achieve more than they even imagined for themselves. He isn’t shy about recognizing his students’ accomplishments, either. “Ben celebrates every success,” says Robinett, “whether it’s a student’s first win, and he celebrates with a huge smile and a high five, or a big celebration, like the day the [middle school] certificates come in and he holds an awards ceremony complete with music, lights, and lots of applause.” Ben’s support, guidance, optimism, and positivity have shaped the lives of many students at Mount Jordan Middle School. “Mr. Simmons and debate has pushed me and made me better than I ever thought I could be,” says Rima. This is a lesson Ben Simmons knows all too well himself. Most band teachers don’t end up leading the debate team. In nearly four years, Ben has become a knowledgeable, well respected coach in the speech and debate community, but most importantly, he has changed the lives of his students. With his support and guidance, students in band and on the debate team are making their talents heard far beyond Mount Jordan Middle School.

Shelby Young serves as Communications Specialist for the NSDA.

Rostrum | WINTER 2017 99


As a National Speech & Debate Association member, you know about making smart choices. Here’s another one you can make: get a free quote from GEICO. We’ve been helping people save money on car insurance for more than 75 years, and we would love to do the same for you. Do the smart thing; visit or call 1-800-368-2734 for your free quote today. | 1-800-368-2734 GEICO contracts with various membership entities and other organizations, but these entities do not underwrite the offered insurance products. Some discounts, coverages, payment plans and features are not available in all states or all GEICO companies. Discount amount varies in some states. One group discount applicable per policy. Coverage is individual. In New York a premium reduction may be available. GEICO may not be involved in a formal relationship with each organization; however, you still may qualify for a special discount based on your membership, employment or affiliation with those organizations. GEICO is a registered service mark of Government Employees Insurance Company, Washington, D.C. 20076; a Berkshire Hathaway Inc. subsidiary. © 2016 GEICO

Simpson College is proud to host


DEBATE CAMP June 25-26, 2017 Indianola, Iowa

$440 includes: Five day camp All meals except breakfast $540 includes: Five day camp w/lodging All meals

• Open to students entering grades 9-12 in the fall of 2017. Ideal for novice debaters or with one year of experience • The camp will include five days of direct instruction, practice rounds and a camp tournament • Students and coaches will be taught by some of the top debate instructors in the country • First-timers and experienced debaters welcome • Air-conditioned lodging • Evening activities and supervision provided For more information, please email or visit the web.



u Third DIAMOND u Jeri Connors Willard Notre Dame De Sion HS, MO November 4, 2016 • 7,239 Points

u Second DIAMOND u Harry W. Strong The Potomac School, VA October 20, 2016 • 4,832 Points

u Second DIAMOND u Jennifer Kwasman St. Thomas Aquinas HS, FL October 20, 2016 • 12,664 Points

u Second DIAMOND u Bill Franck Wooster HS, OH November 13, 2016 • 3,715 Points

u First DIAMOND u Susan Moore La Canada HS, CA October 6, 2016 • 1,500 Points

u First DIAMOND u Molly K. Beck Ladue Horton Watkins HS, MO October 20, 2016 • 4,198 Points

u First DIAMOND u Lisa Stapleton Melanson Cape Elizabeth HS, ME November 7, 2016 • 1,501 Points

u First DIAMOND u Stacey Billingsley Diamond HS, MO November 12, 2016 • 1,501 Points

u First DIAMOND u Donald Broussard, Jr. East Ascension HS, LA December 3, 2016 • 1,500 Points

Rostrum | WINTER 2017

Donus D. Roberts Quad Ruby Coach Recognition The Association is proud to honor coaches who have earned their first 1,000 points.

Kevin Steinberg

John Paul II High School, TX

Chris Smith


(October 15, 2016 through December 15, 2016)

Chad Chenowith

Bishop Dwenger High School, IN


Northwest Career & Technical Academy, NV 1,250

Carrie Alexander Spina

Tuscarwaras Valley High School, OH


Dermot Meehan

Chaminade High School, NY


Susan Foley

Campbell Hall High School, CA


Val McIntosh

Niles West High School, IL


Daniel Bordwell

Coon Rapids High School, MN


Ashley Murphy

Unionville High School, PA


Angela Ford-Robinson

Eisenhower High School, TX


Brian Darby

Clear Creek High School, TX


Angela Smith

Resurrection Christian School, CO


David Mendoza

Riverside STEM Academy, CA


Sarah Cleveland

Dulles High School, TX


Timothy Leffert

Piper High School, KS


Randal W. Horobik

Kamehameha Schools, HI


Tucker B. Bates

Columbia High School, ID


Camila Vasquez

Palo Alto High School, CA


Conor Cameron

Solorio Academy High School, IL


Elissa Bowen

Lawrence Free State High School, KS


Cody Goodchild

Maple Grove Senior High School, MN


Jimmy Espada

Louis D. Brandeis High School, TX


Roberta James

Wheaton Warrenville South High School, IL 1,144

Ben Tully

Presentation High School, CA


Eric Gamble

Dardanelle High School, AR


Rob Case

Mars Area High School, PA


Brian Davis

Valor Christian High School, CO


Tania Kelley

Sandra Day O’Connor High School, TX


Mark Stowitts

Cajon High School, CA


Brittany Stanchik

Desert Vista High School, AZ


Andrew George Barrett

J. Frank Dobie High School, TX


Laura Herrera

Eastwood High School, TX


Jared White

I. H. Kempner High School, TX


Lisa Marie Cillessen

Holy Family High School, CO


Ashley McCulloch

Eaglecrest High School, CO


James Payne

Miramar High School, FL


Jerica L. Hardy

Idaho Falls High School, ID


Karen Feldhaus

Daviess County High School, KY


Kyra Mauney

Renaissance Magnet High School, ID


Bobbi Nidz

Valley Regional High School, CT


Amanda Sloan

Coral Academy Of Science Las Vegas , NV


Nicholas Smith

Hopkins High School, MN


Kristi Moore

Jefferson City High School, MO


Tagan Trahoon

The Pembroke Hill School, MO


Walker Perkins

W. B. Ray High School, TX


Kristin Andreatos

Chaparral High School, AZ


Gina DiFelice

Rocky Mountain High School, CO


Doug Lasken

William Howard Taft High School, CA


Sara Baker

Juan Diego Catholic High School, UT


Bilal Butt

Ardrey Kell High School, NC


Advertise your speech and debate openings with us!

As a service to member schools, the National Speech & Debate Association offers complimentary employment listings on our website, For $100, you may reserve a custom, third-page print ad in Rostrum magazine. We’ll even help you design your ad! Contact or call us at (920) 748-6206 to reserve your ad today. Our next issue will be published in mid-April!


Rostrum | WINTER 2017 103

Triple Ruby Coach Recognition

(October 15, 2016 through December 15, 2016)

Celebrating speech and debate coaches who have earned their first 750 points.

Eileen Lee

Gabrielino High School, CA


Lajuan Foust

Delbarton School, NJ


Quentin Unsworth

Logan High School, UT


Tara A. Harris

Hinkley High School, CO


Frank Torres

Freehold Township High School, NJ


Mark Gideon

Hillcrest High School, MO


Chelsea King

Mount Si High School, WA


Evelyn Conley

Marshall County High School, KY


Steve C. Rowe

Interlake High School - Bellevue, WA


Andrew McLean

Everglades High School, FL


Amanda Hurd

Kearns High School, UT


Michael Jacobsen

Watertown High School, SD


Shannon R. Vance

Mountain Vista High School, CO


Alex Gray

Blaine High School, MN


Sarah E. Petroff

Republic High School, MO


Holly Reineking

Westfield High School, IN


Jennifer Raymond

Pattonville High School, MO


Ashley Felton

Lebanon High School, MO


Brian M. Rohman

University High School, IL


Phyllis Minor

Powers Catholic High School, MI


Jessica Skoglund

Olathe Northwest High School, KS


Linda Hora

Miramonte High School, CA


Cristina Cuevas

Deerfield Beach High School, FL


Monica A. Whitt

Hancock Central School, NY


Christina Manukyan

Crescenta Valley High School, CA


Marissa Pena

A & M Consolidated High School, TX


Amanda L. Dolinger

North Kansas City High School, MO


Julie Krause

Unionville High School, PA


Sharon Ellsworth-Nelson

Park City High School, UT


Deborah Garoui

Keller High School, TX


Shea McLaughlin

Pittsburg High School, KS


Forrest Sayrs

Kent Denver School, CO


Keith Eddins

Oak Hill School, OR


Matthew Moore

Ruston High School, LA


Trent Sutton

Round Rock Christian Academy, TX


Shastyn Wright

Robert E. Lee High School - Midland, TX


Dominic Henderson

McNeil High School, TX


Erin Long

Thunderbird High School, AZ


Amber McLeod

Crescenta Valley High School, CA


Devin Emily Sarno

George Washington High School, CO


Morgan McNally

San Marino High School, CA


Amanda Shoumaker

The Classical Academy, CO


Tiffany Dacheux

Dallastown Area High School, PA


James Grace

Rocklin High School, CA


Lisa R. Weber

Interlake High School - Bellevue, WA


Amy McCormick

Tahoma Senior High School, WA


Don Johnson

Liberty Sr. High School, MO


Heather Byars

Frenship High School, TX


Courtney B. Chipman

Nova High School, FL


James Wszolek

La Porte High School, IN




The National Speech & Debate Association believes communication skills are essential for empowering youth to become engaged citizens, skilled professionals, and honorable leaders in our global society. We connect, support, and inspire a diverse community of honor society members committed to fostering excellence in young people through competitive speech and debate activities.

We envision a world in which every student has access to competitive speech and debate activities. We are the leading voice in the development of resources, competitive and ethical standards, curricular and co-curricular opportunities, and recognition systems for our vast network of student, coach, and alumni members.

To learn more, visit Questions? Email or call (920) 748-6206. 104

Rostrum | WINTER 2017


1925 Society The National Speech & Debate Association is grateful to acknowledge the following 1925 Society members for pledging a generous planned gift contribution. Phyllis Flory Barton James Copeland Don and Ann Crabtree

Dr. Polly and Bruce Reikowski Donus and Lovila Roberts

A. C. Eley

James Rye, III

Vickie and Joe Fellers

Steve and Anna Schappaugh

David and Judy Huston

David Seikel

Jennifer Jerome

Sandra Silvers

Harold Keller

Richard Sodikow

Kandi King

William Woods Tate, Jr.

Cherian and Betsy Koshy Dr. Tommie Lindsey, Jr.

Nicole and Darrel Wanzer-Serrano

Pam and Ray McComas

Cheryl Watkins

H. B. Mitchell

J. Scott and Megan Wunn

Lanny and B. J. Naegelin

Joe and Pam Wycoff

To join the 1925 Society, or to learn more about making a planned gift to the National Speech & Debate Association, please contact Nicole Wanzer-Serrano at

Student Service Citations The following students have received Student Service Citations from the National Speech & Debate Association in recognition of outstanding service to speech and debate education. Students receive a citation for every 100 service points earned through activities such as community speaking or outreach. A single act of service usually garners between two and five service points. These citations were earned between October 15, 2016 and December 15, 2016.

Student Service Citation, 6th Degree 600+ points) Erick Beltran

Rio Grande High School



Morgan Leanor Tracy

Rio Grande High School



Student Service Citation, 5th Degree (500+ points) Kate Farwell

ILEAD North Hollywood



Connor Rothschild

Kickapoo High School



Student Service Citation, 4th Degree (400+ points) Lilly E. Plotkin

Golden High School



Chloe Haroldson

Bixby High School



Marilyn S. Collins

Golden High School



Hannah Bryant

Home Educator’s Outsourcing Solutions



Kennedy Blankenship

Bixby High School



Caleb DeWitt

North Kansas City High School



Desmond Williamson

Mulvane High School



Sydney V. McDonald

Bangor High School



Seth Latiolais

Cecilia High School



Jack Valentino

Chaminade High School



Student Service Citation, 3rd Degree (300+ points)


Ryan Paredes

Clear Falls High School



Victoria Jansen

Mulvane High School



Mohammad Alam

North Hollywood High School



Holly Carter

Mulvane High School



Carson Kroenke

Willard High School



Mia L. Gilbertson

Centennial High School



Emily Turkel

North Hollywood High School



Ethan Bond

Home Educator’s Outsourcing Solutions



Lindsey McNamara

William T. Dwyer High School



Chase Penka

Mulvane High School



Zachary Grove

North Hollywood High School



Rostrum | WINTER 2017

Student Service Citation, 3rd Degree (300+ points) Kayla F. Smith Collierville High School Bixby High School Noelle Trahan Brenna Crow Bixby High School Bixby High School Tiernan Hughes Conor Lynch Chaminade High School Madison Leigh Geer Hebron High School Golden High School Emily Mae Jimenez Ben Schall North Hollywood High School Westlake High School Samantha Togno Cheyenne Rose Martin Bishop McGuinness High School Kurtis Asante Democracy Prep Bronx Preparatory Charter School Yucaipa High School Nicole Campbell Alyssa Marshall Willard High School Kickapoo High School Kadie Thomas Garrett Wheeler Bixby High School Wheaton Warrenville South High School Jack Wooton Brett W. Hund Centennial High School Madison Hart Bishop McGuinness High School Victoria A. Reaves Central High School - Springfield


328 326 323 321 320 315 315 315 315 313 310 309 306 306 306 306 305 303 300

Student Service Citation, 2nd Degree (200+ points) Emma Capitanelli Collierville High School E.N. Hackerott Mulvane High School Josh Harpell Bentonville High School Valerie Jean Quintana Sandra Day O’Connor High School Ryan Kinville Madison High School Aidyn Travis Mulvane High School John F. Kennedy High School Logan Pratt Bethany Nicole Reeder Sunrise Christian Academy North Hollywood High School Jennifer Choi-Nakama Destiny Council Hereford High School Wheaton Warrenville South High School Natalie Anderson Paige Valente Wheaton Warrenville South High School Yucaipa High School Kailee Burkart Michaela G. Morreale Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School Calder Meis Victoria East High School Alexa DeCarlo John Paul II High School Victoria Bevard Thomas Jefferson High School Science & Tech Shaunt Avakian Bridges Academy Hope Smothers McMinnville High School Amber Crossman Needham High School Christian Willig Mulvane High School Jared Bardar Wadsworth City School Raegan English Dardanelle High School Joseph Amundson Willard High School Lilly Hackworth Notre Dame High School Isabel Cholbi Cajon High School Tara Douglas Noblesville High School Victor Qin North Hollywood High School Laura Scrimenti Blanchet Catholic School Kendall Sewell Collierville High School


299 290 281 280 264 256 254 251 250 248 246 246 245 244 243 240 238 237 235 230 230 228 228 226 226 225 225 225 225 225

Rostrum | WINTER 2017 107

Student Service Citation, 2nd Degree (200+ points) Ravi Upadhya Montville High School ILEAD North Hollywood CJ Babcock Tyrese Avery Democracy Prep Endurance High School Bixby High School Claudia Brown Carly Goldsmith Montville High School Diana Beltran Rio Grande High School Beaver High School Benjamin Carter Hunter Martin Bixby High School Norman High School Annemarie Cuccia Jake Anderson Eden Prairie High School Zander Hodge John F. Kennedy High School Mulvane High School Anna Merchant Quintin Walker East Ridge High School Wooster High School Matthew Lorentz William Frederick Herbst Cherry Creek High School Milton Academy Marshall M. Sloane Riley Wilson Hoover High School McKenna Lewis Hereford High School Bryana Acosta Rio Grande High School Nash Hemrajani Thomas Jefferson High School Science & Tech Henry Lininger South Eugene High School Rio Grande High School Timothy A. Mosco David Murphy American Falls High School Lincoln High School Maia Abbruzzese Rebecca Lynn Geren Bentonville High School Wellington High School Amaris Fairchild Nathan Rikard Mars Hill Bible School Savanna Benn Haskell High School Kaylee R. Coffman Golden High School Lebanon High School Genevieve Patterson Bethany Antuna Wheaton Warrenville South High School Harrisonville High School Wyatt Maxwell Ann Plat John Paul II High School John F. Kennedy High School Brayden Remerowski Lexi Snoddy Wooster High School Sarah Skees John Paul II High School Mathias Carder Harrisonville High School Yara El-Khatib North Allegheny Sr. High School Samara Fraker Judson High School Dany Rios Princeton High School Isani Singh Cherry Creek High School Wyatt Lawson Skala South Anchorage High School Griffin Ansel Miramonte High School Devlyn Brill Mulvane High School Jayce Burney Willard High School Brie Dona Sylvania Southview High School Erin Foy East Ridge High School Rachel Johnson Eden Prairie High School Bailey Meyer Miramonte High School Amelia R. Peck StoneWall Academy Benjamin Pope McClintock High School Jake Youngman Hinsdale Central High School


Rostrum | WINTER 2017


225 223 220 220 219 218 218 217 216 215 215 215 215 214 213 213 213 212 210 210 210 210 210 208 208 207 207 206 206 206 205 205 205 205 205 204 203 203 202 202 201 201 200 200 200 200 200 200 200 200 200 200


The Academic All American award recognizes students who have earned the degree of Superior Distinction (750 points); completed at least 5 semesters of high school; demonstrated outstanding character and leadership; and earned a GPA of 3.7 on a 4.0 scale (or its equivalent). NOTE: If the GPA is between 3.5 and 3.7 on a 4.0 scale (or its equivalent), students also must have received an ACT score of 27 or higher, or a New SAT score of 1300 or higher.

CALIFORNIA Joey Hejna Tiffany Kuo Alejandra Larriva-Latt Jimmy Ma Calvin Nguyen Nicholas Passantino Sarah Preston Mary Talamantez Sonia A. Tripathy Ji Woo Yi

Los Altos High School Gabrielino High School San Marino High School Gabrielino High School Gabrielino High School Servite High School Gabrielino High School Bonita Vista High School Milpitas High School Oxford Academy

FLORIDA Tomas Korn Jack Jeremy Shea

Michael Krop High School Boca Raton Community High School

GEORGIA Duvall Adair Connor Fraundorf Thomas Vance

Marist School Marist School Marist School

IDAHO Caden Gee Ali Prue

Madison High School Madison High School

INDIANA Garrett Garver David W. Toth

Plymouth High School La Porte High School

MINNESOTA Moti Begna Claire Hoffa

Apple Valley High School Apple Valley High School

(October 15, 2016 through December 15, 2016)

MINNESOTA (continued) Frank Kelly Rachel Krall Julie Manning Sarah Wheaton

Apple Valley High School Apple Valley High School Apple Valley High School St. Paul Academy & Summit School

MISSOURI Elizabeth Gorny William Park

The Pembroke Hill School The Pembroke Hill School

MONTANA Ella Currier

Helena High School

NEBRASKA Joel Meyer Justin Xiong

Millard West High School Millard North High School

NEVADA Lance Ledet

Northwest Career And Technical Academy

NEW JERSEY Tierney Egan

Freehold Township High School

NORTH CAROLINA Ethan Bryant Lynk Emma Smits Paul Snyder

East Carteret High School Pinecrest High School Pinecrest High School

OREGON Conrad Sproul

Oak Hill School


Strath Haven High School

TEXAS Kay Edwards Carol Metzger Steele Musgrove Jordan Walters

North Lamar High School Geneva School Of Boerne North Lamar High School North Lamar High School

UTAH Lydia Duan

Skyline High School

Rostrum | WINTER 2017 109

Welcome New Schools Hutchison High School Shades Valley High School Aspire Golden State College Prep Academy Heritage Oak School Valley Torah High School Amity Regional High School StoneWall Academy Wilmington Charter School Hernando Christian Academy Cedar Shoals High School College Preparatory School Of America Mascoutah High School Saint James School Oxford High School Northern Marianas International School Rocky Mount Prep Grafton High School Louisville High School Abraham Joshua Heschel High School Academy For Careers In Television And Film Arts & Media Preparatory Academy Birch Wathen Lenox School Bronx Envision Academy Brooklyn High School For Law And Technology Brooklyn Preparatory High School Central Park East High School Dr. Susan McKinney Secondary School For The Arts Eagle Academy For Young Men Harlem EPIC High School South Frederick Douglass Academy II


(October 15, 2016 through December 15, 2016)

Hudson High School Of Learning Technologies Humanities Preparatory Academy In Tech Academy Kurt Hahn Expeditionary Learning School Linden Academy ALC Martin Luther School Martin Van Buren High School NYC Museum School Park East High School Pelham Lab High School Queens Collegiate: A College Board School Rachel Carson High School For Coastal Studies Robert Goddard High School Secondary School For Journalism Stella K. Abraham High School Young Women’s Leadership School Of Astoria Young Women’s Leadership School Of Queens All Saints Episcopal School College Station High School Forsan High School Grand Saline High School Hudson High School Morton High School The Science Academy Of South Texas Smithfield High School Temple Christian Nikola Tesla STEM High School Cross Lanes Christian School Elkins High School


Apple Valley High School Seeks Director of Speech and Debate Apple Valley High School, a public high school in Apple Valley, Minnesota, is seeking candidates who are experienced and passionate about speech and debate. A well-established state and nationally recognized program, AVHS competes in Speech, Lincoln-Douglas, Public Forum, and Congressional Debate. We are interested in hiring a Director of Speech and Debate or may consider dividing the role into two positions (a Director of Debate and a Director of Speech). If you prefer to have fewer administrative responsibilities but want to coach, we are always interested in hiring new members to our staff. The program is financially stable, offers a collaborative team of dedicated coaches, and has strong support from the school, school district, and community. Coaching is extra-curricular and is not done during the school day. Financial compensation for various roles will be based on the extent of responsibility. We anticipate a teaching position in Language Arts and/or Speech Communication will be available. Other core disciplines may also be available. All applicants for the teaching position must have or obtain a Minnesota state teaching license. Direct all questions, including application procedures, to Pam Cady Wycoff, Apple Valley High School. Email address is The school phone number is (952) 431-8200. Ask for Pam Cady Wycoff’s extension.


Rostrum | WINTER 2017

Zoe Lovelace, 2016 Coolidge Cup Winner

2017 COOLIDGE CUP The Coolidge Foundation is setting out to find the top debaters in America! The Coolidge Cup National Debate Tournament begins in winter 2017 with regional qualifying tournaments. Top placers from these qualifying events will earn the right to compete in the Coolidge Cup Championship Tournament taking place July 3-4, 2017, in President Coolidge’s historic village, the picturesque town of Plymouth Notch, Vermont. Qualifiers earn a free trip to Vermont to compete. More than $10,000 in scholarships and prizes will be awarded to the winners of the 2017 Coolidge Cup!


Need help prepping for your upcoming tournament? Save time, energy, and stress by ordering low cost Extemp Questions, Impromptu Prompts, and World Schools Motions from the National Speech & Debate Association!

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“When EF Hutton Talks, People Listen�

EF Hutton is a proud sponsor of the National Speech & Debate Association. Together with the NSDA, we promote communication arts and raise the skill level in the field of debate and speech.

One Main Street | Springfield Ohio 45502 |

2017 Winter Rostrum  

Volume 91 Issue 3

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