Page 1



VOLUME 94 ISSUE 1 S E P T. / O C T. 2 0 1 9


Your Voice, Our Mission INSIDE



DR . THOMAS F. FREEMAN Head Coach Emeritus of the Texas Southern University Debate Team Recipient of the 2019 NSDA Lifetime Achievement Award Teacher of Martin Luther King Jr., advisor to Denzel Washington, and coach of Congresswoman Barbara Jordan

W E A R E S P E E C H & D E B AT E www.speechanddebate.org

UUTT NNaatti ioonnaal l I Innsst ti ti tuut tee U T N a t i o n ianl FI nosr teint u te i n F o r e n ssi ci css in Forensics

University Texas University Universityofofof Texas Texas

National Institute National NationalInstitute Institute in Forensics in inForensics Forensics Thank you to all of the students and coaches Thank you to allthis ofof the and coaches Thank you to all thestudents students and coaches who joined us summer for the 26th Annual UT who joined us this summer for the 26th Annual who joined us this summer for the 26th AnnualUT UT National Institute in Forensics. The UTNIF National Institute in Forensics. The UTNIF National Institute in Forensics. The UTNIF continues to be one of the largest and most continues oneofofthe thelargest largest andmost most continues toto bebe one and accomplished summer forensic programs in the accomplished summer forensic programs inthe the accomplished summer forensic programs in country. Just a few reasons why our students country. Just a few reasons why our students country. Just aback few year reasons ourincomparable students keep coming afterwhy year: keep coming back yearafter afteryear: year:incomparable incomparable keep coming back year education, superior resources, unmatched faculty, education, superiorresources, resources,unmatched unmatchedfaculty, faculty, education, superior reasonable rates, tremendous alumni, and best reasonable rates, tremendousalumni, alumni,and andbest bestofof of reasonable rates, tremendous all—summer in Austin, Texas! all—summer Austin,Texas! Texas! all—summer inin Austin,

www.utspeech.net www.utspeech.net www.utspeech.net www.utdebatecamp.com www.utdebatecamp.com www.utdebatecamp.com

IsIsititIsthe camp? it the camp? the camp? Only partially. Success isis aaisproduct of excellent and immensely talented students, incredibly hard working Only partially. Success a product excellent and immensely talented students, incrediblyhard hardworking working Only partially. Success product of of excellent and immensely talented students, incredibly coaches, supportive parents and schools, and exceptional amounts of time that include investment coaches, supportive parents and schools, and exceptional amounts of time that include investment in coaches, supportive parents and schools, and exceptional amounts of time that include investment inin summer opportunities. It is that understanding that makes UTNIF one of the largest comprehensive summer opportunities. It is that understanding that makes UTNIF one of the largest comprehensive summer opportunities. It is that understanding that makes UTNIF one of the largest comprehensive institutes in the country year after year, and why have assembled some the brightestforensic forensicminds minds institutes ininthe country year after year, and why we have assembled some ofof the brightest forensic minds institutes the country year after year, and why wewe have assembled some of the brightest in the nation for our program. It is also that educational philosophy that has enabled alumni of our summer ininthe nation for our program. It is also that educational philosophy that has enabled alumni of our summer the nation for our program. It is also that educational philosophy that has enabled alumni of our summer programs to succeed at every level, from high school and well into collegiate forensic competition. programs totosucceed at level, from high school and well into collegiate forensic competition. programs succeed at every every level, from high school and well into collegiate forensic competition.

Passion…Elegance… Elegance…Excellence Excellence Passion… Excellence We offer our most sincere congratulationstotoallallof thestudents studentswho whoattended attendedthe the We offer our most sincere congratulations ofofthe the students who attended the We offer our most sincere congratulations 2019 NSDA National Speech & Debate Tournament. And to all of the students who 2019 Tournament. And And to to all all of of the thestudents studentswho who 2019NSDA NSDANational National Speech Speech & Debate Tournament. were recognized with awards, congratulationsononaa atask taskwell welldone. done.To Toall allof ofour our were recognized with awards, were recognized with awards, congratulations task well done. To all of our alumni and our incoming Longhorns,Hook Hook‘Em! ‘Em! alumni and to to our incoming alumni and to our incoming Longhorns, ‘Em! UTNIF UTNIF UTNIF Dept. of Communication Studies Dept. ofCommunication CommunicationStudies Studies Dept.1 of University Station UniversityStation Station 11University Mail Code A1105 MailCode Code A1105 Mail Austin,A1105 Texas 78712-1105 Austin, Texas 78712-1105 78712-1105 Austin, Texas

Eric Lanning, Program Coordinator Eric Lanning, Lanning, Program Coordinator Eric Coordinator Eric.Lanning@austin.utexas.edu Eric.Lanning@austin.utexas.edu Eric.Lanning@austin.utexas.edu Phone: 512-471-5518 Phone: 512-471-5518 512-471-5518 Phone: Fax: 512-232-1481 Fax: 512-232-1481 512-232-1481 Fax:

Letter from the Executive Director

Board of Directors

For me, the highlight of last year was our community’s recognition of Dr. Thomas Freeman, Head Coach Emeritus of the Texas Southern University Debate Team. Over the course of his life, Dr. Freeman has inspired generations of leaders. At the National Tournament, he was awarded honorary NSDA membership and received the 2019 NSDA Lifetime Achievement Award.

ELECTED MEMBERS Pam Cady Wycoff President Minnesota

Dr. Freeman has been an educator for nearly 70 years. He taught theology to legendary civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and organized an interscholastic league among Black colleges during the height of racial segregation to provide speech and debate activities for his students. Their success gained national attention and helped desegregate our activity. In 1954, Dr. Freeman took Barbara Jordan to a tournament at Baylor University, where she was the first Black participant in a regular southern forensic competition. This was just one first for Jordan, who would go on to be the first southern Black woman elected to the United States House of Representatives. As we enter a new school year, I am inspired by Dr. Freeman’s leadership, strength of conviction, and belief in the power of young people to use their skills to strive for change. My friend and NSDA board member Byron Arthur put it best in his introduction of Dr. Freeman when he said, “We say thank you, Dr. Thomas Freeman, for being a giant with broad enough shoulders to support our work to make this world better for the marginalized. We say thank you, Dr. Freeman, for showing us that personal and intentional mentoring creates students who will make a difference. And we say one more time, thank you, Dr. Freeman, for reminding us that as educators, we must continue to dream of a world of equity and use speech and debate to make those dreams come true.” I can think of no truer embodiment of our organization’s mission to connect, support, and inspire a diverse community committed to empowering students through competitive speech and debate than Dr. Thomas Freeman. We take a closer look at that mission at work in the lives of our members in this issue. I hope you’ll find inspiration for the YO U ARE THE MA STE R OF YO UR OW N year ahead and your personal or professional mission within these pages. DESTIN Y.

Dr. Tommie Lindsey, Jr. Vice President California Byron R. Arthur Louisiana David Huston Texas Adam J. Jacobi Wisconsin Jennifer M. Jerome Nebraska Renee C. Motter Colorado Timothy E. Sheaff Iowa



APPOINTED MEMBERS J. Scott Wunn Executive Director


See the inside front cover of this issue for a poster featuring Dr. Freeman.


Head Coach Emeritus of Texas Southern University Debate the Team 2019

Recipient of the

Teacher of Martin

NSDA Lifetime


nt Award Luther King Jr., advisor to Denzel Washington and coach of Congresswo man Barbara Jordan,

www.spee chanddeb




401 Railroad Place, West Des Moines, IA 50265-4730 | Phone (920) 748-6206 J. Scott Wunn, Publisher Amy Seidelman, Editor Vicki Pape, Managing Editor Emily Bratton, Graphic Design Assistant Emily Kriegel, Advertising Coordinator

Newsstand Price $9.99 per issue Member Subscription Price $24.99 for one year (5 issues) Non-Member Subscription Price $34.99 for one year (5 issues)

Rostrum (ISSN 1073-5526), Copyright © 2019 by the National Speech & Debate Association (NSDA), is published five times per year (Sept., Nov., Feb., Apr., and Aug.) by the NSDA, 401 Railroad Pl., West Des Moines, IA 50265-4730. Business and Editorial Offices: NSDA, 401 Railroad Pl., West Des Moines, IA, 50265-4730. Accounting and Circulation Offices: NSDA, 401 Railroad Pl., West Des Moines, IA 50265-4730. Call (920) 748-6206 to subscribe. Periodicals postage is paid at Des Moines, IA 50318, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to Rostrum, c/o NSDA, 401 Railroad Pl., 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.



Robert Runcie Admin Rep Florida Dr. Mike Edmonds Colorado Wendy Orthman Tennessee Tom Rollins Virginia Monica Silverstein New York

To learn more about the Board, visit www.speechanddebate.org/ meet-the-team. You may also contact the Board by emailing board@speechanddebate.org.

In this Issue : VOLUME 94 : ISSUE 1 : SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2019

From the Cover




Letter from the Executive Director


2019-2020 Topics


News + Notes


Resource Roundup


Membership Minute


Tabroom.com Tip


Advocacy Letter

Your Voice, Our Mission: Membership Assessment Highlights

Governance and Leadership 8

From Your Board President


Board of Directors Minutes


NSDA Board of Directors Term Limit Restructuring


by James Shapiro


2018-2019 Inclusion Commitments Update


Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month

34 2019 National Speech & Debate Conference Highlights 44

USA Debate: Tips and Teamwork in Thailand by Anh Cao and Danny DeBois


Words from the Hall by Pauline Carochi


EdCo: The Early Bird Always Catches the Worm by Amy Zucchi


Statement Wins: Trinity Debate Breaks Onto National Scene


Like us on Facebook www.facebook.com/ speechanddebate Share with us on Instagram @speechanddebate Follow us on Twitter @speechanddebate


Q&A with District Leaders


Coach Profile: Sharon Volpe


Alumni Angles: Lindsay Harrison


Student Spotlight: Joanna Bai

Follow us on LinkedIn www.linkedin.com/company/nationalspeech-and-debate-association

OUR MISSION Rostrum shares best practices, resources, and opportunities that connect, support, and inspire a diverse community of educators committed to empowering students through competitive speech and debate.



The American Legion’s National Oratorical Contest

LOOKING FOR COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIPS?  LOOK NO FURTHER. The first place finisher of The American Legion’s National Oratorical Contest is awarded an $18,000 scholarship, second-place $16,000, and third-place $14,000. As part of the National Speech & Debate Association’s ongoing alliance with The American Legion, those top three finishers may also earn the right to compete in Original Oratory or United States Extemp at the National Speech & Debate Tournament!

Want to get involved? Follow these simple steps! • Visit www.legion.org/oratorical to learn more. • Click on “State Contests” to contact The American Legion Department Headquarters located in your state to learn when the first contest in your area 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.

Patrick Junker of Iowa placed first at the 2019 American Legion National Oratorical Contest

Watch examples of past winning orations online at www.legion.org/oratorical/videos.



Current topics, voting links, and resources available at:

www.speechanddebate.org/topics Member students and one chapter advisor per school are eligible to vote!

Topic Release Information Public Forum Topic Release Dates At its summer meeting, the PF Wording Committee chooses a number of debate topic areas, each with two starter resolutions, to be used throughout the school year. The starter resolutions are tentative proposals, which may be revised and/or replaced based on community responses, expert feedback, breaking news, and/or literature on the subject. Approximately six weeks before the topic release date, the NSDA will release the topic area to be used for the next topic. For two weeks, the community can submit suggested changes to the starter resolutions under this topic area, or submit a new resolution under this topic area, through the NSDA website, together with an explanation and research links/citations demonstrating a robust debatable issue. For the next three weeks, the PF Wording Committee, using community input, will discuss, narrow, and produce two final resolutions for that topic. The NSDA will release the resolutions on the 23rd, or one week before the topic release date, so that the community will have an opportunity to vote. The NSDA will release the resolution on the 1st of the month preceding the date for debates on that topic.

October 1 December 1 January 1 February 1 March 1 May 1 June 19 June 19 Aug. 1 - Aug. 7 August 8

November/December PF Topic Announced January PF Topic Announced February PF Topic Announced March PF Topic Announced April PF Topic Announced National Tournament PF Topic Announced List of Potential PF Topic Areas Announced for 2020-2021 2020 September/October PF Ballot Announced Voting for the 2020 September/October PF Topic Occurs 2020 September/October PF Topic Announced


Public Forum Debate

Resolved: The European Union should join the Belt and Road Initiative.


Lincoln-Douglas Debate

Resolved: In the United States, colleges and universities ought not consider standardized tests in undergraduate admissions decisions.

The NSDA also offers a “Civil Disobedience” 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.

Lincoln-Douglas Topic Release Dates From July 25 through August 7, chapter advisors and member students vote online for a new slate of LD topics chosen by the LD Wording Committee at its summer meeting.

October 1 December 1 February 1 May 1 June 19 July 25 - Aug. 7 August 8

November/December LD Topic Announced January/February LD Topic Announced March/April LD Topic Announced National Tournament LD Topic Announced List of Potential LD Topics Announced for 2020-2021 Voting for the 2020-2021 LD Topics Occurs 2020 September/October LD Topic Announced

2020–2021 Policy Debate Topic Voting The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) handles selection of the annual Policy Debate topic where each state organization, the National Speech & Debate Association, the National Catholic Forensic League, and the National Debate Coaches Association all have voting privileges.

• • • •


Topic synopsis released at www.speechanddebate.org/topics Preliminary voting on five topics occurs online in September and October Final voting on two topics occurs online in November and December Topic for 2020-2021 released by the NFHS in January 2020



Policy Debate

Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially reduce Direct Commercial Sales and/ or Foreign Military Sales of arms from the United States.


Big Questions Debate

Resolved: Objective morality exists.


From Your Board President Welcome to the 2019-2020 school year! This time of year, I always take a moment to look back on the past year and look forward to the plans for the coming year. This summer, I listened to Margo Batha, our 2019 NSDA National Educator of the Year, address the teachers and coaches gathered at our National Conference, and Margo helped me to jumpstart this process. In her message, Margo spoke of the One Word Movement, inspired by John Gordon’s book, One Word that will Change Your Life. By choosing a single word, an individual can not only gain clarity about their goals, but also achieve life changing results. She challenged us to choose a focal word for the coming year and commit to it by the end of her speech. I felt a bit like an impromptu speaker, who, instead of expanding on a topic, had to narrow it down to a single word. That’s easier said than done. As I sorted through my mental rolodex of values, traits, and actions flashing through my mind, one eventually rose to the top of the list. My “one word” was engage. I liked the idea of the focal word being a verb because it underscored action. It was meaningful, but it also had utility. It could intersect with other “word priorities” in my mental list and address them, too. I also liked that it connotated a human element, because when we engage, we connect people. I share my word choice with you now, because one year ago, the Board of Directors encouraged me, as President, to begin a dialogue with you, the membership, on behalf of the Board. My “one word” is not only a personal choice; it has organizational implications. To engage means 1) to attract interest,



such as engage in a conversation or discussion; and 2) to participate, such as engage in a variety of activities or events. In our very first conversation, I began a dialogue with you about our Board’s commitment to membership engagement. This requires not only inviting interest and providing tangible ways to increase participation, but also increasing the flow of information between the Board and membership to enhance the quality of our conversations. So, before looking forward to the new year, let’s take a moment to look back at the past year. To engage the interest of our membership, we took the following actions: • Published annotated meeting agendas. • Expedited the publication of minutes. • Offered a District Leadership Brief, Coach Newsletters, and Rostrum features to increase access to information. • Formulated a three-phase timeline for major rule changes, including the Collaborative Feedback and Decision-making phase to invite membership feedback. • Encouraged participation via the CONNECT platform to solicit our member’s views. (See page 19 for an update on our transition from CONNECT to NSDA Learn.) • Invited membership correspondence and included it as a feature in our agendas. To engage participation in a variety of activities and events, we offered the following opportunities: • Established a Board email (board@speechanddebate.org).

• Created a Rule Change Submission form. • Utilized coach driven ad hoc committees and focus groups on special topics. • Conducted the 2019 Membership Assessment Survey and surveys on pilot programs, Nationals, and the future of Tabroom.com. • Created space at Nationals for five Coaches’ Caucuses to meet and have important conversations about the speech and debate community. • Organized our eighth summer conference in 13 years to gather coaches from across the country to share ideas and learn from one another. • Offered our organization’s first Inclusion Workshop, facilitated by a renowned expert in the field, and attended by a diverse group of coaches and leaders from our community. There is always more we can do, but if you engaged in any of these opportunities to share your voice, we thank you. Your involvement is essential to this organization. As we look forward to the plans for the coming year, the vital nature of dialogue was underscored at our summer Inclusion Workshop. With the expertise of Glenn Singleton, we held many “courageous conversations.” These conversations set the stage for us, as an organization, to better address equity within our speech and debate community. The power of these conversations has prompted us to extend our Fall Board Meeting by one day to formulate our next steps. On behalf of the Board, I want to assure you, we are committed to working with and for you. So, as we look ahead to 2019-2020, I invite you to select your “one word,” but for this conversation, I leave you with this word: Engage! To be continued!

Pam Cady Wycoff NSDA Board President pam.wycoff@speechanddebate.org


Leadership Board of Directors Spring Minutes


he NSDA Board of Directors held its Spring Board Meeting on May 3-5, 2019. In attendance were President Pam Cady Wycoff, Vice President Dr. Tommie Lindsey, Jr., Byron Arthur, David Huston, Adam J. Jacobi, Jennifer Jerome, Renee Motter, Wendy Orthman, Tom Rollins, Bob Runcie, Timothy Sheaff, and Monica Silverstein.

President Wycoff called the meeting to order at 9:00 a.m.

MISSION MOMENT To set the tone for the meeting, the Board viewed a “mission moment” video prepared by the staff. It consisted of testimonials from student members reflecting on their experiences in the activity and the impact the NSDA has had on their lives. The Board then discussed their greatest takeaways from the messages as they related to the organization’s core mission and vision.

BOARD PRIORITIES UPDATE President Wycoff presented the progress report on the Board priorities that have been established. Among these are the maintenance of open dialogue with the membership, effectiveness and efficiency of Board and committee meetings, regular tracking of progress toward meeting the organization’s strategic plan goals, continued financial oversight to ensure the annual budget reflects the Association’s priorities, and continued measurement of the impact of critical programs and initiatives of the organization. The ongoing strategies to accomplish these goals were reviewed and assessed.

May 3-5, 2019 West Des Moines, Iowa

DEVELOPMENT REPORTING/PLANS FOR FUNDRAISING ASSISTANCE The Director of Development and Development Committee Chair provided an update on their efforts to create individualized plans for each Board member to assist with efforts to financially contribute to and/ or fundraise on behalf of the organization. The Board members then discussed additional strategies that could be considered on behalf of the organization’s fundraising efforts including corporate sponsorships, national level foundations, and outreach to high profile alumni avenues to expand the Tate Fund, which serves under resourced teams attending the National Tournament.

NEXT YEAR’S CALENDAR PLANNING The President presented the members of the Board with a rationale for adjusting the timing of standing committee and Board meetings to better facilitate quarterly reporting. A draft meeting calendar for the 2019-2020 school year was then offered for initial approval.

SUMMER CONFERENCE AND INCLUSION WORKSHOP UPDATE The Executive Director provided a progress report on the upcoming summer conference to be held at the Antler Hotel and Colorado College in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on August 4-6, 2019, and the Inclusion Workshop to be held at Colorado College on August 7-8, 2019. Conference registration is still open and a limited number of seats for the Inclusion Workshop remain. Please visit www.speechanddebate.org /conferences for more information.


APPOINTED BOARD SEAT E Moved by Jacobi, seconded by Arthur: “Adjourn into executive session to discuss and review appointed Board member recommendations.” Passed: 12-0 (Wycoff, Lindsey, Arthur, Huston, Jacobi, Jerome, Motter, Orthman, Rollins, Runcie, Sheaff, Silverstein) Moved by Jacobi, seconded by Jerome: “Reconvene into general session.” Passed: 12-0 (Wycoff, Lindsey, Arthur, Huston, Jacobi, Jerome, Motter, Orthman, Rollins, Runcie, Sheaff, Silverstein) During executive session, the Board agreed to offer Dr. Mike Edmonds of Colorado College appointment to Board Seat E. Dr. Edmonds has accepted this appointment. This appointment completes the original plan to add five appointed Board members to the original eight elected Board seats. Dr. Edmonds will serve a two-year term beginning August 1, 2019. Dr. Edmonds is currently the Dean of Students and Vice President for Student Life at Colorado College. He has been involved in and supportive of competitive speech for most of his life. He has served on several local and national boards throughout his career in education and will provide important expertise in several key areas, including development, inclusion, alumni relations, and postsecondary administration. In addition to his selection into the NSDA’s Hall of Fame class of 2019, Dr. Edmonds recently was selected for induction into the University of Mississippi’s School of Education Alumni Hall of Fame.

DISCUSSION OF TERM LIMITS PROPOSAL Moved by Lindsey, seconded by Huston: “Accept the [amended] term limits proposal for elected Board members as recommended by the Governance Committee.” Passed: 11-0-1 Aye: Wycoff, Lindsey, Arthur, Huston, Jacobi, Jerome, Motter, Orthman, Runcie, Sheaff, Silverstein Abstain: Rollins The Board has changed the term limit policy for elected members of the Board of Directors from one based on an age limit to a traditional term limit system, which allows elected members to serve a total of three fouryear terms. The new policy allows elected members to serve two consecutive four-year terms. If a Board member is interested in running for a third term, they may do so after a minimum of one full-term hiatus. The new system includes a grandfathering system for past and current members who have already served more than three terms. Eligibility for Board candidacy requires being a member coach of record with an active member



school and a minimum of five years as a member coach. Additionally, eligibility for leadership roles requires two years of service on the Board. The plan allows for the option of emeritus status for retiring Board members to provide institutional knowledge, as needed. By the 2024 election, the entire new system will be fully implemented. The plan was designed to eliminate the “70-rule” and gradually phase in Board member turnover in a manner that will effectively put into place a long term system of term limits for both membership and leadership roles that encourages inclusive participation. The development of this proposal was based on extensive non-profit organizational research, Board feedback on the initial proposal presented at the March Board meeting, and membership correspondence resulting from the publication of Board agendas. Additional explanation of the new system appears on page 15 of this issue of Rostrum.

FUTURE CONFERENCE PLANNING The Board discussed the future of both the National Educational Conference and National Leadership Conference concepts. Since 2006, the organization has held five leadership conferences and three educational conferences. After reviewing the benefits and costs of yearly conferences, it was determined that the organization will not hold a conference in 2020. This will allow for further assessment of both types of events, the value and demand for these conferences, financial considerations, and the best options to serve the needs of the organization in the future.

DISTRICT APPOINTMENT Moved by Jacbi, seconded by Sheaff: “District Committees have the option of appointing a sixth member to their committee for the purpose of inclusively representing the current and future community that the district should serve.” Passed: 9-1-1 Aye: Wycoff, Lindsey, Jacobi, Huston, Motter, Rollins, Runcie, Sheaff, Silverstein No: Arthur Abstain: Jerome Beginning in the fall of 2019, District Committees will have the option of appointing a sixth member to the district leadership. This autonomy allows individual districts to include additional leaders who will improve the overall representation of its current and future membership. The details for this option will be provided to district committees by August 1, 2019.

STRATEGIC PLAN Moved by Arthur, seconded by Rollins: “Accept the 2019-2020 Strategic Operating Plan as recommended by the Governance Committee.” Passed: 11-0 (Wycoff, Lindsey, Arthur, Huston, Jacobi, Jerome, Motter, Orthman, Rollins, Sheaff, Silverstein) The Assistant Executive Director presented the 20192020 Strategic Operating Plan. Details of the plan will appear online at www.speechanddebate.org. The Board complemented the work of the Assistant Executive Director and staff on their excellent proposal.

BUDGET Moved by Rollins, seconded by Lindsey: “Approve the 2019-2020 pre-budget proposal, with the option to revise via online affirmation, if necessary, prior to the start of the 2019-2020 fiscal year as recommended by the Finance Committee.” Passed: 11-0 (Wycoff, Lindsey, Arthur, Huston, Jacobi, Jerome, Motter, Orthman, Rollins, Sheaff, Silverstein) In 2018, the Executive Director began presenting a prebudget for the upcoming year for Board review and approval to allow for better planning and continuity with the Strategic Operating Plan as of the start of the fiscal year on August 1. This practice will now be the norm. The final budget will be formally approved at the 2019 Fall Board meeting. The Board complemented the outstanding work of the Executive Director and Director of Finance on the pre-budget plan.

PROPOSAL ON LIFETIME MEMBERSHIP CYCLE Moved by Arthur, seconded by Huston: “Accept the recommendations of the Executive Director and Assistant Executive Director for changes to the organizational membership structure as outlined.” Passed: 11-1 Aye: Wycoff, Lindsey, Arthur, Huston, Jacobi, Jerome, Motter, Orthman, Rollins, Runcie, Silverstein No: Sheaff The Board has agreed to a restructuring plan that will streamline student and coach membership and the Honor Society recognition structure to increase clarity and continuity of the process. It will also allow coaches to be recognized for middle school and high school coaching under the same honor system. A full description of the changes will appear in the September/October 2019 issue of Rostrum.

FUTURE NATIONALS The Executive Director presented several current and “placeholder” bids for future National Tournaments. The

Board directed the Executive Director to gather additional information on bids before making a final determination. Nationals will be held in the following cities in the following years: 2020 – Albuquerque, New Mexico 2021 – Des Moines, Iowa 2022 – To Be Determined 2023 – Phoenix, Arizona The Board also discussed the concept of repeating the location of the National Tournament in back-to-back years or repeating a location every other year to create higher level of cost savings, ease of preparation for the event, and increased security precautions. The Board has asked the Executive Director to continue his investigation and study into these concepts for additional discussion at future meetings.

ADDITIONAL DISCUSSION ON TERM LIMITS PROPOSAL Moved by Jerome, seconded by Motter: “Reconsider the term limits motion.” Passed: 6-5 Aye: Jacobi, Jerome, Motter, Orthman, Rollins, Runcie No: Wycoff, Lindsey, Arthur, Huston, Sheaff Moved by Lindsey, seconded by Huston: “Accept the [amended] term limits proposal for elected Board members as recommended by the Governance Committee.” Passed: 8-1-2 Aye: Wycoff, Lindsey, Arthur, Huston, Orthman, Rollins, Runcie, Sheaff No: Jerome Abstain: Jacobi, Motter The Board participated in an additional discussion to further clarify and review the specific details of the plan passed the previous day. After reconsidering the motion, the original motion was reaffirmed.

2019 GENERAL TOURNAMENT UPDATE The Executive Director provided an update on the ongoing preparations for the 2019 National Tournament. In general, plans are on track for a successful event.

MEMBERSHIP CORRESPONDENCE The Board received a variety of feedback from members with questions and comments related to the upcoming Board agenda. These were shared with the Board and this feedback was considered during deliberations on various issues and/or noted for future consideration. At this point in the meeting, the appointed Board members were excused and the elected Board members began discussions on competition rules. ROSTRUM | SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2019 11

PILOT QUALIFICATION RULES RECOMMENDATIONS Moved by Jerome, seconded by Lindsey: “Continue the pilot district qualification option (as revised) for the 2019-2020 NSDA District Tournament Series, as recommended by the Rules Revision and Evaluation (RRE) Committee.” Passed: 8-0 (Wycoff, Lindsey, Arthur, Huston, Jacobi, Jerome, Motter, Sheaff) After a successful year of the district qualification pilot program, the Board has agreed to extend the pilot for next year with revisions based on the feedback of members. A full description of the revised pilot rules can be found online at www.speechanddebate.org beginning August 1, 2019.

The Board has agreed to pilot the following changes to the Public Forum rules for the 2019-2020 competition season: • One additional minute will be added to each summary speech for a total of three minutes per speech. • One additional minute of preparation time will be given to each team for a total of three minutes of preparation time per team throughout the debate.


In addition, the following recommendations have been accepted.

Moved by Huston, seconded by Jerome: “Use ordinal balloting to determine the LD resolutions that will be used for the school year.” Passed: 8-0 (Wycoff, Lindsey, Arthur, Huston, Jacobi, Jerome, Motter, Sheaff)

• The NSDA will continue to offer two-month topics for September/October and November/December and then one-month topics in January, February, March, April, and for the National Tournament.

To create better understanding of the LD voting system, further utilization of topic areas for resolutions, and better align it with other topic voting systems, the Board agreed to move to an ordinal voting system for LD topic choice among the membership. Based on the annual July/August vote, the results will determine the following for the upcoming year: September/October: 5th ranked topic November/December: 4th ranked topic January/February: 3rd ranked topic March/April: 2nd ranked topic National Tournament: 1st ranked topic

UPDATE ON NFHS COPYRIGHT PROJECT The Executive Director discussed the ongoing efforts between the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), the Educational Theater Association (EdTA), and the National Speech & Debate Association (NSDA) to produce a course for its members on the issue of copyright compliance. In partnership, these organizations have completed a copyright course through the NFHS Learn system that will better inform members on the laws and regulations surrounding copyright. The Executive Director and Board will continue to discuss this issue and its potential impact on rules and procedures in upcoming meetings.

PUBLIC FORUM AD HOC COMMITTEE FINAL RECOMMENDATIONS Moved by Motter, seconded by Lindsey: “Accept the Public Forum Debate Ad Hoc Committee recommendations for rules revisions as presented by the


RRE Committee for piloting during the 2019-2020 NSDA District and National Tournament Series.” Passed: 6-2 Aye: Wycoff, Lindsey, Huston, Jacobi, Jerome, Motter No: Arthur, Sheaff


• Grand Crossfire will remain. However, proposed language will be added by August 1, 201,9 to the NSDA rules manual to encourage alteration of questions by both teams to minimize dominance by one team. The language will read as follows: “At the conclusion of the summary speeches, all four debaters will remain seated and participate in a three-minute ‘Grand Crossfire’ in which all four debaters are allowed to cross-examine one another. The speaker who gave the first summary speech must ask the first question. The speakers from each team will continue to ask and answer questions. Teams should alternate asking and answering questions rather than allowing one team to dominate so that a balance between teams is achieved. All speakers are encouraged to participate in the Grand Crossfire. Speakers should listen respectfully to opponents’ questions and answers.” • Paraphrasing will continue to be allowed. However, proposed language will be added to the evidence rules by August 1, 2019, to further delineate the use of paraphrasing versus summary of evidence in accordance with academic research standards. The evidence language will read as follows: “Paraphrasing, authoritative source versus general understanding. If paraphrasing is used in a debate, the debater will be held to the same standard of citation and accuracy as if the entire text of the evidence were read. Paraphrasing may be used to shorten or clarify one specific portion of an original source. It should not be confused with general summary of an entire book, chapter, study, etc., which may only be used for information that is widely considered to be common

knowledge. Paraphrasing focuses on a single idea, while summary focuses on a general concept. For example, if a debater references a specific theory by a specific author, the debater must also be able to provide an original source as well as the specific text from the original source which is being paraphrased. If a debater were to reference social contract theory in general, that would not be an authoritative source that would require citation. However, if the debater references ‘John Locke’s Social Contract,’ evidence would need to be available.” • The Coin Flip will remain. • The order of speeches will remain intact.

OMBUDSPERSON AND RULES ADJUDICATION PANELIST PROTOCOL/TRAINING The new National Tournament ombudsperson and rules adjudication panelist protocols to be implemented at the 2019 National Tournament were reviewed with the Board members. The Board also participated in some training and simulation exercises to better prepare for the upcoming tournament.

CONGRESSIONAL DEBATE AD HOC COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS Moved by Jacobi, seconded by Jerome: “Charge the Executive Director with pursuing options to facilitate a student vote by Congressional Debate district qualifiers to determine prelim and elim round legislation for review at the Fall Board meeting.” Passed: 8-0 (Wycoff, Lindsey, Arthur, Huston, Jacobi, Jerome, Motter, Sheaff) Based on a recommendation from the Congressional Debate Ad Hoc Committee, the Board has asked the Executive Director to design options to allow for a pre-tournament vote among district qualified students to determine the order and selection of preliminary and elimination round legislation. Moved by Jacobi, seconded by Lindsey: “Allow district autonomy to pilot the Congressional Debate Committee’s recommendation to limit time for debate per legislation to no more than one-third of a session’s floor time in 2019-2020, as recommended by the RRE Committee.” Passed: 8-0 (Wycoff, Lindsey, Arthur, Huston, Jacobi, Jerome, Motter, Sheaff) In some regions, an expectation has arisen that every student must speak on each bill/resolution, which often leads to rehashed arguments and one-sided debate. With precedence and recency, which also locks students into the same speaking position on each bill, judges for a particular round will only see constructive or refutation speeches from

a particular student. Limiting debate on each legislation brings dynamism to a session. The committee’s rationale was that limiting the time of debate will keep the debate fresh for students and also encourage new and experienced judges to adjudicate. Districts will have the autonomy to limit debate on legislation. For those districts choosing to implement the pilot policy, language will read as follows: “Debate shall not extend beyond one-third of a session’s floor time, inclusive of any speeches, recesses, motions, or other business which shall occur once an author/ sponsor speech has been called upon. A student may move Previous Question any time prior to the time limit. When debate ends on legislation, the chamber is presumed to be ready for the question, which will lead to a vote without the need to move Previous Question. If the student is in the middle of a speech when time for debate elapses, they may conclude their speech/ questioning time without penalty.”

PILOT INTERNET USAGE RULE RECOMMENDATIONS Moved by Jerome, seconded by Arthur: “Allow for the use of internet in Congressional, Policy, Lincoln-Douglas, Public Forum Debate events, and Extemporaneous Speaking at NSDA District Tournaments as prescribed in the NSDA Unified Manual, if approved by a majority of the District Committee.” Passed: 8-0 (Wycoff, Lindsey, Arthur, Huston, Jacobi, Jerome, Motter, Sheaff) District Committees will once again have the autonomy to determine whether or not the use of internet will be allowed, as prescribed by NSDA rules, in debate events and Extemporaneous Speaking at the District Tournament. Moved by Huston, seconded by Jerome: “Allow for the use of internet in Congressional, Policy, Lincoln-Douglas, Public Forum Debate events, and Extemporaneous Speaking at the 2021 National Tournament as prescribed in the NSDA Unified Manual.” Passed: 8-0 (Wycoff, Lindsey, Arthur, Huston, Jacobi, Jerome, Motter, Sheaff) Beginning with the 2021 National Tournament, the use of internet will be allowed in debate events and Extemporaneous Speaking. As was the case with the phase-in of computers in debate events and Extemporaneous Speaking, the membership is being alerted in advance to plan accordingly for the 2021 Nationals. The option to use at Nationals does not interfere with a district’s autonomy to allow or not allow use of the internet in these events at their district qualifying events.


SPEECH FORFEIT RULE PROPOSAL Moved by Huston, seconded by Sheaff: “Judges should notify the District Committee of a student who arrives to their round more than 15 minutes after the posted start time of the round. If there are multiple judges in the round, all must agree that the student was more than 15 minutes late. The District Committee may choose to drop each judge score in the round by two ranks. The judge(s) should not adjust the student’s ranks themselves. The District Committee may also waive the penalty.” Passed: 5-3 Aye: Lindsey, Arthur, Huston, Jacobi, Motter No: Wycoff, Jerome, Sheaff To ensure continuity with debate, District Committees will have the autonomy to penalize a contestant two round ranks for arriving more than 15 minutes late to a competitive round. This rule aligns with the forfeiture rule in debate events.

DISTRICT CUMULATIVE SWEEPSTAKES PROPOSAL The Board discussed the District Cumulative Sweepstakes award and the challenges associated with the timing and complexities in calculating the award across multiple weekends and often multiple pieces of computer software. The Executive Director is going to develop options for Board consideration that would allow for the award to continue while decreasing the probability for errors and timing challenges.

INTERP AD HOC COMMITTEE PROPOSAL Moved by Jacobi, seconded by Motter: “Form an Ad Hoc Interp Committee for 2019-2020 to review current rules in the areas of publication and script adaptation.” Passed: 8-0 (Wycoff, Lindsey, Arthur, Huston, Jacobi, Jerome, Motter, Sheaff) During the 2019-2020 school year, an Ad Hoc Committee of member coaches selected by the Board President will review the current rules in interpretation events on publication and script adaptation in light of evolving publication practices and copyright standards. The committee will create a set of recommendations that will be made public for community feedback and review by the RRE Committee of the Board.

DISCUSSION OF PROPOSED CHANGES TO DISTRICT LEVELING Moved by Jacobi, seconded by Jerome: “Approve the changes to the district leveling system as proposed by the Executive Director.” Passed: 8-0 (Wycoff, Lindsey, Arthur, Huston, Jacobi, Jerome, Motter, Sheaff) The Executive Director proposed a series of changes to the district leveling system that will streamline the system for District Committees and member coaches to more easily comprehend their district’s qualification levels for the upcoming year. The changes also put into place more purposeful strategies for working with smaller districts who struggle to meet the district size standards. The new system will be available for review online by August 1, 2019, and district leaders will be notified of their districts level for the upcoming year.

CLASSIFICATION Moved by Sheaff, seconded by Huston: “Charge the Executive Director with the exploration and development of a plan for presentation at the 2019 Fall Board meeting to offer a school classification based National Tournament.” Passed: 8-0 (Wycoff, Lindsey, Arthur, Huston, Jacobi, Jerome, Motter, Sheaff) The Board wants to examine the merits of increasing access to National Tournament level competition through classification based on school size. Recent membership surveys and focus groups have indicated a growing desire by the membership for the organization to consider increasing competitive opportunities for small and rural school programs as well as addressing competitive equity issues. This initial examination of logistical considerations will provide both a philosophical and pragmatic context for this ongoing discussion. Moved by Lindsey, seconded by Arthur: “Adjourn.” Passed: 8-0 (Wycoff, Lindsey, Arthur, Huston, Jacobi, Jerome, Motter, Sheaff)

QUESTIONS? CONCERNS? IDEAS? We want to hear from you! Send your feedback to board@speechanddebate.org. 14



NSDA Board of Directors Term Limit Restructuring


n 2015, the Board, with professional consultation and independent research, began reviewing non-profit board best practices. This resulted in the development of our first Best Practices document to formally outline Board duties, responsibilities, and procedures. This also resulted in modeling our Board after other non-profits, including the appointment of our five non-elected Board members. In the fall of 2018, as part of its ongoing effort to continually examine best practices and procedures, the NSDA Board of Directors began to formally review the remaining topics: a term limit system for Board membership and for leadership positions. For more than 40 years, the NSDA had exercised an age-based term limit protocol that denied Board candidacy for anyone 70 years of age, or for anyone who would turn 70 years of age during the time of the term in which they would be elected. There became growing concern that this particular system of determining Board member eligibility and tenure did not meet the standards of the NSDA core values of integrity, inclusion, leadership, and service. In terms of leadership

roles in our organization, traditionally, there have been no parameters for these roles or limits on the length of leadership positions. The Board charged its Governance Committee with examination of the concept of non-profit board membership and leadership role options for our organization. In its research, the Governance Committee examined many nonprofit and membership organizations to determine if there were any commonalities among like-minded organizations that could help guide an appropriate concept and vision for the organization in this area. It found that, although few organizations parallel the NSDA membership-based election system, two things were almost universally true. First, each organization examined had term limits in place of some sort and none of them based these limits on age. Second, term limits based on length of tenure are common in a non-profit organization. After its research was complete, the Governance Committee recommended to the Board of Directors that its age-based term limits be replaced with a more traditional approach to limiting terms based on

length of tenure. In March of 2019, the Governance Committee placed the issue of term limits on the official Board agenda for discussion at its upcoming meeting, allowing members of the community to submit questions and/or comments. This initial review of term limit options was designed to receive feedback that could be used to create the best proposal for consideration and approval. During this time, the Governance Committee considered questions, comments, and suggestions from both members of the current Board and from the community. In light of this feedback, at its Spring meeting in May of 2019, the Governance Committee again placed term limits on the agenda and offered a revised proposal to the Board, which addressed the ideas that had been expressed. After discussion and consideration, a majority of the Board agreed to the new, revised proposal presented.

Proposal Overview The new Board membership term limit proposal demonstrates five components. 1) It eliminates the agebased 70-rule and establishes minimum standards for candidates running for the Board. 2) It puts into place a longterm system of term limits that encourages inclusive participation.

3) In the new rotation system, after two four-year terms, a Board member has the opportunity to seek reelection to a third term, after a hiatus period of four years from the Board, for a total of 12 years. This suggestion, offered via Board correspondence from the membership, provides opportunities for turnover on the Board, yet allows former Board members to return with their perspectives. 4) The new system recognizes the institutional knowledge gap that may occur with Board member turnover. The system incorporates a timeline window for rotation of experienced members off the Board and creates the opportunity for a formal emeritus status, which allows for proactive use of former Board members’ advice and expertise in the year following their service. 5) The leadership role limits establish a minimum experience requirement before seeking election for Vice President or President. No additional limits were proposed because the membership term limits place a natural cap of up to six continuous years of leadership during two consecutive four-year terms. The complete proposal with detailed explanation is provided on the next page.


Requirements for Board Candidacy Terms for Elected Board Members • A “term” is defined as an individual serving at least two years and no more than four years in a Board seat. A partial tenure of less than two years does not count as a term. Rationale: This accommodates for those Board members who may have served partial terms as an alternate when a vacancy needed to be filled.

Beginning with the 2020 Election • Any member coach of any age with five years of Association coaching experience, who is listed as a member coach of record at an active member school, may become a candidate for the Board of Directors by so advising the Executive Director in writing before January 19 via certified mail. Rationale: These requirements eliminate the original 70-rule age barrier as an ageist standard and establishes minimum standards for candidacy that previously did not exist. The requirements selected parallel the requirements outlined for election to district leadership roles. Rather than categorically eliminating candidates, the open window of the 2020 and 2022 elections allows former members of the Board who were affected by the 70-rule, regardless of

their years of experience, and/or those with 12 or more years of experience, to have one final opportunity to run for office. This open window sets the cycle of change in motion for 2024.

Beginning with the 2024 Election • Any individual who has served 12 or more years on the Board is ineligible to run for the Board. • Any individual who has served only one term is eligible to run for a second term immediately following the first term. • Any individual who has served two consecutive terms must step off the Board for a minimum of four years before being eligible to run for a third and final term. • Any individual who did not serve their first and second terms consecutively, is eligible to run for a third and final term immediately following the second term. Rationale: This accommodates for both members who are currently serving on the Board as well as Board members who may have previous service as a Board member but are not currently on the Board.

Emeritus Status Any Board member who serves at least one full four-year term as a member of the Board of Directors will be invited to serve the following year as an advisor to the Board’s standing

committees (Governance, Finance, Development, and Rules Revision and Evaluation) as an emeritus member. When appropriate, these advisors will be called upon by the chairs of these committees for advice and counsel. The Board President may also appoint emeritus members to serve on ad hoc committees, working committees, or focus groups. Rationale: This provision encourages and allows for the use of former Board members’ institutional knowledge and/or experience regarding special topics or projects to assist with the transition of roles and responsibilities, as needed.

Requirements for Leadership Roles Eligibility Requirements for Board Leadership • Only elected Board members, currently serving on the Board, who have served a minimum of two full years on the Board, are eligible for appointment to a Board leadership position. All leadership positions are elected for two-year terms in even numbered years at the Fall Board meeting by the Board members present at the meeting. • There is no stipulated maximum amount of time that someone may serve as a member of the Board leadership. Rationale: This requirement values two years of

experience on the Board before running for a leadership role of Vice President or President. Additionally, no limits for leadership roles were stipulated because the Board membership term limits provide natural caps on the length of office, and every two years, the office is up for re-election.

Protocol for Transitioning Board Leadership Roles • If the term of office of the current Board President ends on August 1 of the leadership election year, the current Vice President will assume the role until the Fall Board meeting election. • If the term of office of the current Board Vice President ends on August 1 of the leadership election year, the seat will remain vacant until the Fall Board meeting election. • If the terms of office of the current Board President and Vice President end on August 1 of a leadership election year, an interim President will be appointed by the current Board President, before their term ends, to serve from August 1 to the Fall Board meeting election in September. Rationale: This protocol formally establishes a procedure and timing for the election of officers and the role responsibilities for an interim officer during a turnover of leadership.

Questions or feedback about the new requirements? Please contact director@speechanddebate.org. 16


West Coast Publishing Jump Start Preparation for the Year Topic specific, quality arguments Provide excellent models of argument and presentation

The high quality Policy-CX evidence your

Excellent topic specific LD evidence and topic analysis for your LD debaters. Aff and neg cases, definitions, topic arguments. We cover ALL NSDA and UIL LD topics for the year.

Public Forum debate: high quality evidence,

Clear, step by step instruction for LD, Policy-CX, Parli, Pub Forum debate, and Individual Events. Prepbooks are great handouts to help students prepare and Teacher Materials make instruction easier.

debaters need to jump start their research. Affirmatives, disadvantages, counterplans, kritiks, topicality arguments. Aff, Neg, Sept, Oct-March and May supplements.

topic analyses, and definitions for ALL NSDA Public

Forum Topics. Extemp: pro and con essays on current issues with multiple citations twice a month.

Go to www.wcdebate.com View Samples of Our Products Print and Online Order Forms `

Grow Speech and Debate! Check out: www.climbthemountain.us


NEWS + NOTES 2020-2021 Policy Topic Synopsis The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) handles selection of the annual Policy Debate topic where each state organization, the National Speech & Debate Association, the National Catholic Forensic League, and the National Debate Coaches Association all have voting privileges. Preliminary voting on five topics occurs online in September and October. Final voting on two topics occurs online in November and December. The final topic for 2020-2021 is released by the NFHS in January 2020. To download the complete topic synopsis, visit www.speechanddebate.org/topics.

Free Judge Training Course

Senate Champion Coach Correction In the August 2019 Nationals Chronicle commemorative edition of Rostrum magazine, we inadvertently recognized the wrong coach of the 2019 Senate champion. Quest Sandel coached Rohit Jhawar from John F. Kennedy High School in Sacramento, California. The NSDA deeply regrets the error.

Public Forum Pilot Rule Changes In 2019-2020, all district tournaments and the 2020 National Tournament will use the new pilot PF event rules that add one minute to each summary speech and one minute to each team’s preparation time. View the full changes on page 24 of the Unified Manual. Read an explanation of the changes online at www.speechanddebate.org/pf-pilot-rules.

The NSDA has produced introductory cultural competency guidelines through a brief, voluntary course created in partnership with the NFHS. The introductory cultural competency guidelines are presented in a short 20-minute course relevant to judges in all events at the National Tournament, currently available as part of a longer 90-minute judge training course created with the NFHS. The cultural competency portion takes about seven minutes and is followed by a 10-minute Dramatic Interpretation performance. Judges are asked to fill out a sample ballot about the performance and compare it to the productive, appropriate comments curated by our staff. Share the cultural competency guidelines course with your judges and encourage them to take the full judge training course to learn judging best practices and review sample performances. Please visit www.speechanddebate.org/judge-training for links to both courses.



Speech and Debate Day Poster Contest National Speech and Debate Education Day is March 6, 2020. Invite current students to submit up to two designs in our 2020 Poster Contest to help teams promote and celebrate the day! The contest is open to all NSDA member students. Entries must be submitted to the NSDA using our online form by December 4, 2019. Please visit www.SpeechAndDebateDay.org for complete details.

2018-2019 Postage Report The NSDA submits an annual postage report for Rostrum as required by the United States Postal Service. To review this report online, visit www.speechanddebate.org/2019-postagereport.

Resource Roundup PROTIP ACCESS TEACHER IN A BOX LESSON PLANS Teacher in a Box is a collection of lesson plans designed to help introduce students to debate. You can choose from three units, Public Forum, Policy, and Lincoln-Douglas, which each begin with an essential question and a set of objectives. Each overview includes links to webinars, handouts, and extended materials.


n an effort to improve user experience and increase value for members, the National Speech & Debate Association is transitioning its professional development offerings from an outside system to one integrated into our own website. With a new system comes a new name— NSDA Learn. This new platform uses a low cost and highly customizable lesson management system that will be accessed through a coach’s NSDA profile page. Members will no longer need to visit and log in to an additional website! The courses that formerly were found in CONNECT will be transitioned to NSDA Learn during the fall of 2019. Any materials and accounts that were stored by users will continue to be accessible and part of the system hosted on Participate.com. CONNECT’s most popular course, Intro to NSDA Coaching, will be the first to make the transition and will be followed by a new course for district leaders. In the months to come, an introductory course that provides strategies and best practices for coaching each main event will also be added. These courses will be written by coaches from across the country. If you’re interested in being a collaborating author, please email Lauren McCool, Education and Recognition Coordinator, at lauren.mccool@ speechanddebate.org. The NSDA welcomes your patience and feedback as we develop NSDA Learn into a system that serves all of our members!

Get started online today!

Visit our website to learn more about our professional development portal!


www.speechanddebate.org/learn ROSTRUM | SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2019 19











thus eliminating the need to convert their membership or transfer a fraction of points as their role evolves within the Association. In order to make this change work, we’ve had to make some fairly significant changes to the way our Honor Society functions. Starting in August, all middle school coaches and students automatically became a division of the National Forensic League (NFL) Honor Society instead of the NJFL.

Changes for Middle School Students • The middle school points structure has changed. Currently, middle school points are worth ⅔ of high school events. The new structure values them at approximately ⅓ of high school events BUT they will maintain 100% of those points into high school, rather than transferring just 10% of those points. (See revised formula at right.)




he NSDA maintains relationships with members throughout all stages of a speech and debate career—middle school student, high school student, alumnus, judge, and coach. In the past, each of those stages required a member to become, in essence, a new member in the NSDA virtual membership system, instead of being able to maintain their merit number or virtual identity and just move on to the next stage. To change that, we created a unified database of members that allows a person to maintain a single account (or digital identity) for the full duration of their membership. A middle school competitor who goes on to compete in high school, judge or coach while in college, and/or become a program advisor after that will maintain the same merit number throughout their career. Members will maintain all their points in perpetuity,



An internal merger brings changes to your online accounts, the middle school honor society, and coaching points.



Middle School Points Formula DEBATE:




Loss / No Decision




Rank 1


Rank 2


Rank 3


Rank 4


Rank 5



POINTS 1-5 points, up to 10 per day

SERVICE: Classroom Presentation Community Speaking Theater Elementary Coaching

POINTS 1 point per presentation, up to 1 per day 1 point per speech, up to 1 per day 2 points per performance 1 point per hour




• Current middle school students have been issued new certificates and seals (Merit, Honor, Excellence, etc.) that reflect this switch. The seals earned to date were based on a lump sum of half of all points earned by the student in the existing middle school point structure, but count toward high school degrees. Middle school students are now earning points in the National Forensic League under the new structure at the new values.

Changes for Coaches • Moving forward, coaches will earn all points earned by students, not 1/10 of the points. As such, all point values for coaching degrees have been inflated by 10 (for example: a first Diamond Award is now earned at 5 years and 15,000 points, rather than 1,500). Current points earned by coaches were also increased by the power of 10. • Middle and high school points both contribute jointly to coach Diamond Awards (previously, they were on separate tracks). A year of service is based on actually years spent coaching at any level, but points will count from both levels within those years.

• Middle school coaches have been given a lump sum of all middle school points earned up to this point in the existing structure.

Unified Degree Path DEGREE LEVELS:

Middle school is a wonderful time to step into the world of speech and debate. It provides a friendly environment where students can gain comfort with speaking and presenting skills. During this stage of membership, students earn points that will, in entirety, remain with them as they climb into new stages.


Please contact info@ speechanddebate.org. Amy Seidelman is the Assistant Executive Director of the NSDA.










Special Distinction


Superior Distinction


Outstanding Distinction


Premier Distinction


Donus D. Roberts Coaching Excellence Award



First Diamond



Second Diamond



Third Diamond



Fourth Diamond



Fifth Diamond

120,000 Effective 2019-2020 School Year

How to Merge NSDA Accounts Coaches, do you currently have more than one account with us? If so, here are instructions to merge your high school and middle school coaching logins so that you can manage all of your schools from a single NSDA account. 1. Log in to the account you want to KEEP. 2. Click “Merge Accounts” on the left. 3. Follow the instructions to provide your username/password for the account you want to MERGE/ELIMINATE. 4. Click the button.




Competitor Signups Feature Log in to your account at www.tabroom.com to get started.


ake it easier to register your team for tournaments on Tabroom by trying the Student Signups feature! The Student Signups system allows coaches to do away with the sheet of paper in the corner of the squad room where students illegibly sign up for tournaments. When you enable Student Signups, your competitors can log in to Tabroom.com and sign up for a tournament on your school’s schedule. Students can manage their own event preferences, partners, and contact information on the site. The feature also enables easy email communication for logistics updates for tournament attendees and their parents/guardians! As a coach, all you have to do is approve the signups. To enable this feature for your team, click “Register” next to the tournament in question, and then click the “Signups” tab. Set a signup deadline and add any specific details you need attendees to know, such as the chaperone contacts, transportation details, and hotel information.



Student Signups Features

Setting Up Student Signups

Add your team’s

logistics info that will be automatically sent to everyone attending, including their parents/guardians. Students sign up to attend tournaments via Tabroom.com. Students provide their own contact info, accessibility requests, and event preferences. Link parent/guardian contact info to a student in Tabroom.com. Partners and parents/guardians are notified when a competitor signs up. Accept or reject student signups with the click of a button. Send emails to all attendees and their parents/guardians with any updates to a specific tournament.

Questions? Email us at help@tabroom.com for assistance! Find further instructions for using Student Signups and other Tabroom.com features online at http://docs.tabroom.com.

Confirming Student Signups


The Global Debate Symposium has the most experienced staff of any workshop in the United States with some of the best active teachers and coaches in the activity. The senior staff utilizes this expertise to construct a rigorous curriculum that respects the diverse learning styles of teenagers as they mentor younger staff to transition from outstanding debaters to instructors.

SUMMER 2019 SESSIONS Lincoln-Douglas Debate Kritik Lab Congressional Debate Wishing all the best for our students and teachers in the upcoming school year!

AT GDS WE PRACTICE: XX Superior Curriculum and Instruction XX Argument Engagement, Not Evasion XX Diversity, Inclusion, and Cultural Competence

Visit our website for more information:


World Schools Debate


2018-2019 Inclusion Commitments Update by Amy Seidelman


he National Speech & Debate Association’s Coaches’ Caucuses, held at the National Speech & Debate Tournament, continue to offer ideas for the organization’s inclusion efforts. This is an update on progress made during the 2018-2019 competitive season based on recommendations formed at the 2018 National Tournament. Goal: The NSDA will highlight best practices for diversity and inclusion within the speech and debate community. Approach: • Revised the NSDA Harassment

and Discrimination Policy to include additional examples and promoted as a best practice for speech and debate tournaments. • Established a monthly email sharing safe tournament resources to tournament hosts with upcoming events registered on Tabroom.com, and promoted the NSDA best practice guides for safe tournaments on social media and in newsletters. • Provided cultural competency training for members serving Latinx student populations in the form of a webinar, and featured various coach/ student identities in Rostrum.



• Promoted a Plus One program

for coaches or district leaders, encouraging them to invite the coach or administrator of a prospective school to the district tournament and help them network with coaches from existing programs. Encouraged similar invitations to the National Tournament as exposure to the activity.

Goal: The NSDA will strive for leadership that represents the diversity of our speech and debate community. Approach: • Continued to collect and analyze

demographic information of NSDA staff, tab staff, district leadership, National Tournament finalists, and topic wording committees to ensure our programs are providing equitable access and representation to all. • Continued to ensure that all award winners accurately represent the NSDA’s core value of Inclusion. Encouraged districts to use the Code of Honor in the selection process for district-level awards. • Extended Tabroom.com training invitations to all district leaders new to hosting their tournaments on Tabroom. Created a guide to registering for districts and provided inperson Tabroom.com support to a number of tournaments.

Goal: The NSDA will celebrate diversity and inclusion within the speech and debate community. Approach: • Added National Hispanic

Heritage Month and Pride Month to our monthly celebration series featuring posters and resources. • On social media, celebrated Women’s History Month, Celebrate Diversity Month, and Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. • Offered free posters online and via membership certificate mailings, and made a portion of each collection available via the NSDA Store.

Goal: The NSDA will continue to provide and promote safe spaces for underrepresented or marginalized groups to meet. Approach: Continued to offer and promote the Coaches’ Caucuses during the 2019 National Tournament.

Goal: The NSDA will continue to strive for a diverse, inclusive, and representative judging pool at the National Tournament. In these efforts, the NSDA will promote best practices for judge training. Approach: • Continued to recruit and offer

the opportunity for judges to self-identify as diversity enhancing. Promotion of this option began earlier in 2019 and therefore yielded higher participation. • Continued to provide and promote a free judge training that includes a cultural competency component for all speech and debate judges. Our judge training with cultural competency created in partnership with the NFHS has been shared with coaches in newsletters, on social media, and in advertisements on Tabroom.com. We encouraged coaches to share the course with judges they bring to the National Tournament.

Get Involved To learn more about our ongoing inclusion efforts and access related resources, visit www.speechanddebate.org/ inclusion.

Goal: The NSDA will assist teachers and students in finding diverse literature that may inspire more students. Approach:

Continued to curate a web page that includes potentially useful books or compilations of pieces about or written by members of traditionally marginalized and disenfranchised communities, in partnership with NSDA members and partners. We’ve created Amazon collections for Black History Month, Hispanic Heritage Month, and Pride Month.

Goal: The NSDA will provide training opportunities for members to become more culturally competent. Approach: The NSDA hired facilitator Glenn Singleton of the Pacific Education Group to execute a diversity and inclusion workshop for members of the community to strengthen their own ability to talk about race and deepen their own racial narrative. Forty community members and 20 members of the NSDA staff and Board participated. Testimonials by member participants included:

• “This was an eye-opening,

heart-wrenching, cathartic, transformative experience.” • “This experience was one of the most powerful, meaningful, necessary, and long overdue professional development sessions this organization has ever offered. Simply put—it was a game-changer.” • “It was a great exercise to enable discussions around race. How to move forward becomes the challenge. How do we encourage coaches of color, how do we encourage women coaches, how do we encourage women coaches of color? How do we encourage students across the spectrum as well?” In their feedback, participants also encouraged us to expand this opportunity for training to other audiences and to define what is actionable for the organization moving forward. The workshop provided not only great insight, but protocols for talking about and examining race and its impact on people and communities. It served to kickstart the organization’s effort to write a diversity and inclusion statement in 2019-2020. We look forward to sharing our 2019-2020 inclusion goals in the November/December Rostrum.

Amy Seidelman is the Assistant Executive Director for the NSDA.







eptember 15 through October 15

is National Hispanic Heritage Month. Inspired by recommendations from the Hispanic/Latinx Coaches’ Caucus and in partnership with the Sam Donaldson Center for Communication Studies, we have created a series of classroom and tournament resources to celebrate.

Literature Collection: As the school year begins, we know many students are looking for new literature for speech events. Check out our collection featuring stories impacting Hispanic/ Latinx communities and recommended texts for historical context.

poster series featuring speech and debate coaches and alumni, or make your own featuring members of your team with our free template! Posters are available in both English and Spanish if the featured person speaks both languages.

l, NM - Class of 2018

2018 NSDA National Student

www.sp eechand debate.



of the Year Finalist



Resources: Incorporate the month into your classroom or tournament with themed Congress legislation, Extemp questions, and Impromptu prompts.

Lesson Plan: Use our Posters: Download our


East Mountain High Schoo

lesson plan with ideas for hosting an after-school event to recruit new students for your team and celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month through the promotion of speech and debate activities.

ETHAN MORELION Big Spring High School, TX - Class of 2016

Public Interest Law Intern, Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund

WE ARE SPEECH & DEBATE www.speechanddebate.org


Belen Jesuit Prep School,

ABC News Anchor, Chief www.spee chanddeb ate.org


FL - Class of 1997

National Affairs Correspon




TOM LLAM AS Belen Jesuit Prep School,

FL - Clase de 1997

Presentador de ABC News, nacionales Jefe corresponsal de asuntos


ETHAN MORELION Big Spring High School, TX - Clase de 2016

www.spee chanddeb ate.org

Interno de la interesta publica, defense legal y educación Mexicano-Americana



Download our poster series, available in both English and Spanish if the featured person speaks both languagues.

View the collection at www.speechanddebate.org/national-hispanic-heritage-month.



Stop Talking. Start Speaking.

4 Week Policy Camp - June 21 - July 19 1 & 2 Week Sessions - July 5 - 19 A Different Kind of Camp

Sessions and Pricing

At Southwest Speech and Debate, we believe that community is the thing that makes this activity better. We believe that Speech and Debate can be a home for everybody, and enable people to raise their voice, and speak their truth. We pride ourselves in providing a low-cost, high-quality camp experience.

Policy Debate: 4 Week Session (June 21 - July 19) Policy Debate: 2 Week Session (July 5-19) Lincoln-Douglas: 2 Week Session (July 5-19) Public Forum: 1 Week Session (July 5-12) Platform Speaking (OO/Info): 1 Week Session (July 5-12) Interp Events: 1 Week Session (July 12-19) Extemp Speaking: 1 Week Session (July 12-19) Congressional Debate: 1 Week Session (July 12-19) Choose a Week 1 and a Week 2 Session (July 5-19)

Come join us, and find out how you can stop talking, and start speaking!

*Prices listed are for campers who choose to stay in the dorms.

Learn More at swsdi.org

Presented in collaboration with:

$2800 $1400 $1295 $930 $930 $930 $930 $930 $1295




Membership Assessment Highlights




by Amy Seidelman


REGION 16.4%

13.0% 10.3%





3.6% 7.7%



6A – 2,100+ Students 5A – 1,060 - 2,099 Students 4A – 465 - 1,059 Students 3A – 220 - 464 Students 2A – 105 - 219 Students 1A – 0 - 104 Students 28



ast May, the National Speech & Debate Association conducted a coach membership assessment, the results of which will inform membership offerings for the following three years. This survey, last conducted in May 2015, gives members a meaningful opportunity to express their preferences and satisfaction as well as influence the direction of our organization.

The survey used is designed, based on metrics common to membership associations, to help the NSDA staff and Board of Directors understand which benefits and programs NSDA members value and how well they believe the NSDA is doing in delivering those experiences. The survey was emailed to 6,270 eligible coach members and received 1,785 total respondents representing 1,473 unique schools. The results were analyzed and presented

to the NSDA by an independent third party. The graphics at left show how demographic participation was spread across regions. Members in the Mountain West, South, and Southwest reported overall higher ratings than the organization’s average. A little more than half of the respondents were from schools with more than 1,060 students, with a quarter being from schools with fewer than 464 students. The 2019 survey shows very little correlation between school size and a member’s likelihood to renew or recommend the NSDA. Almost a quarter of the respondents had received grants for participating in Big Questions Debate in the last three years. The primary objectives of the survey are to: • understand why major segments of members belong and how loyal they feel; • determine which member benefits are being underutilized; and • measure the performance of the NSDA’s services and programs.

WHY YOU JOIN The top three reasons members belong to the organization, which mirror the top three reasons from the 2015 analysis, are as follows: • To participate in districts and/or Nationals (90.2% of advisors said this is part of the reason they belong, attributing 30.6% of all points to this item, down 2.2% from the points attributed in 2015). • Student, coach, and school recognition (87.7% of advisors said this is part of the reason they belong, attributing 23.3% of all points to this item, up 4.2% from the points attributed in 2015). • Utilizing competition and coaching resources (76.3% of advisors said this is part of the reason they belong, attributing 13.7% of all points to this item, up 2.2% from 2015). “Community access to Tabroom.com” and “advancing coaching skills and career” round out the top five reasons, with 6.7% and 5.5% of all points attributed to belonging respectively. Altogether, these five reasons help explain why the NSDA exists and what its purpose is. Interestingly, although district and national tournament participation

seems highly tied to membership, only 59.1% of respondents report being very likely to attend their next district tournament while 94.4% are very likely to renew, demonstrating that other sources of value are keeping them as members. The survey also inquired about other national speech and debate tournaments member coaches attend, with the results being: • 58.9% None • 21.8% NCFL • 15.1% Tournament of Champions • 11.5% NIETOC • 9.4% Other • 2.4% NDCA


puts the NSDA within the typical association benchmark of 85% to 95%. The full breakdown: • 57.4% extremely likely • 28.6% Very likely • 12.0% Somewhat likely • 1.7% Not very likely • 0.3% Not at all likely

MEMBERSHIP VALUE There are two components of membership value: performance and



HONOR SOCIETY MEMBERSHIP (points and recognition)


The survey asked respondents how likely they were to renew. 94.4% of respondents were extremely or very likely to renew, which is also within the benchmark for associations. The full breakdown: • 83.0% extremely likely • 11.4% very likely • 4.7% somewhat likely • 0.8% not very likely • 0.1% not at all likely The survey also asked respondents how likely they were to recommend the NSDA. 86% of respondents report being extremely or very likely to recommend, which

impact or importance. Performance is how satisfactorily an item is meeting the needs and desires of a member. Impact is how significant or relevant current performance is on the overall value a member places on membership See the graphic below. Although knowing which benefits rate highest is useful information on its own, this survey also compares the performance rating


3 4 5

COMMUNITY INFORMATION (e.g., member publications, social media, etc.)



of each of the benefits against the overall rating of value each respondent provided finding in NSDA membership. In essence, this tells us whether knowing a respondent’s view on any one attribute is predictive of

knowing the performance of the Association overall. So, while Honor Society membership (points and recognition) and access to districts and nationals are the highest performing benefits, this survey also demonstrates that any improvement to





5 ELIGIBILITY FOR HONOR CORDS, PINS, AND PENDANTS Icons by the Noun Project. Credit: Arthur Shlein, Blair Adams, Graphic Tigers, Hartadi Project, icon 54, Iconstock, Line Icons Pro, Mark Aventura, Pause08, Saifurrijal, ST, Turkkub, and Vectors Point.



Tabroom.com, community information (including publications), and instructional resources could directly improve the NSDA’s overall membership value for these respondents, as the ratings members provided on those items correlate most closely with their overall rating of membership value. When asked to share the most valuable current resource available, final round videos were the most popular, followed by debate and topical resources, lesson plans, and Big Questions resources. The survey also asked members to rate the importance of benefits within the Honor Society aspect of membership specifically. The graphic at left shows the top five aspects of student, coach, and school recognition.

STAFF, BOARD, AND CORE VALUES Like the 2015 survey, this assessment asked respondents to provide feedback on the NSDA staff and Board. Overall staff ratings were: • 45.3% excellent • 30.3% very good • 12.1% good • 1.7% marginal • 0.7% poor • 9.8% do not know or haven’t interacted with staff

While staff are hitting the mark consistently in understanding your needs, knowledge, patience, professionalism, ease of reach, and time waiting for reply, the survey indicates that an improvement in expressing care and following up would move the needle on staff ratings even higher. Likewise, the NSDA Board of Directors is hitting the mark on being responsive to questions, effectively communicating, being socially responsible, professionalism, and knowledge. The survey indicates that a perceived improvement in transparency, accessibility to members, understanding the needs of members, and being fiscally responsible would drive even more satisfaction with the Board. When asked to evaluate how well the organization lives up to its core values, the following percent of respondents rated the organization as excellent or very good: • Inclusion: 72.9% • Integrity: 76.6% • Leadership: 79.1% • Service: 73.2%

STRATEGIC DIRECTION Finally, respondents were asked to rank strategic priorities for the organization. The graphic at right shows the highest ranking priorities, with speech and debate coaching and resource development being the clear overall winner. Several areas of the survey asked for additional comments, which the NSDA has synthesized and is mining for more details to help increase the value of membership benefits and priorities. We thank all participants for taking valuable time in May to share thoughts with us, both to reiterate what current aspects of the NSDA are most important to sustain and which differences or changes might help the organization support coaches and students better in the years ahead.

Amy Seidelman is the Assistant Executive Director for the NSDA.



The National Speech & Debate Association connects, supports, and inspires a diverse community committed to empowering students through competitive speech and debate.




VISION We envision a world in which every student has access to membership in the National Speech & Debate Association, providing the educational resources, competitive opportunities, and expertise necessary to foster their communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creative skills.





This survey, last conducted in May 2015, gives members a meaningful opportunity to express their preferences and satisfaction as well as influence the direction of our organization.


“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 www.speechanddebate.org/trophyshop


AUGUST 4-6, 2019 Colorado Springs, Colorado



hile many coaches and teachers prepared to head back to their schools and classrooms, nearly 180 educators also made their way to Colorado Springs, Colorado, for the 2019 National Speech & Debate Conference. This year’s conference, presented by Colorado College and sponsored by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), offered a variety of professional development sessions, round table conversations, and Q&A discussions. Many presenters have graciously shared their session materials and other relevant resources by uploading them to a shared Google folder, which anyone may access by going

to https://tinyurl.com/ NSDAConference. The 2019 NSDA Conference Materials folder will remain open for one calendar year until August 1, 2020. Any materials uploaded remain the property of their author.

Quick Takeaways Each session offered its own unique takeaways and actionable items, but as we head into the new school year and competition season, certain presenters provided key insights that may help coaches and educators start off on the right path. Trey Smith led a sesson on Leveraging Community Support for Speech and Debate. He suggested that it pays to work smarter not harder

In partnership with 34


when you’re looking to secure community support and funding. “State and local governments often have programs and grants available that go untapped because they are not well-advertised. Non-profits like United Way serve as a clearinghouse for donors looking to connect with important causes in the community. Often the largest employers in your area will be a great resource for finding judges and matching grants.” In their session titled Project Management for Your Sanity and Their Empowerment, Kevin Berlat and Kimberly Berlat discussed ways to use project management tools to organize your team. Kimberly shared, “Agile project management tools like Scrum and Kanban are my favorites, as the concepts lend themselves so well

Sponsored by

to education. Because the focus is on delivering results in stages and keeping progress visual, coaches can help lay out a path and students can determine how quickly they travel down that path. There’s plenty of information about project management tools online for free. YouTube and learning communities like Skillshare have great overviews of project management tools and methods that don’t take much time. Don’t stress about having to use everything in a concept— start by taking the pieces that will work for you and your situation.” Angelique Ronald and Rich Kawolics, who facilitated a session on Gender Inequity in Speech and Debate: A SolutionsFocused Discussion,

provided this challenge to the coaches and educators in our community: “It is time that we recognize that gender disparity in speech and debate is real, but leaders of national, state, district, and tournament organizations can take meaningful steps to mitigate its impacts. Whether through something as simple as language on ballots about implicit bias, or more detailed solutions, like the codification of formal harassment and discrimination policies, there are myriad ways we can tackle this very real success gap. The beautiful reality is that through small, deliberate, and intentional changes in policy and procedure, we have the power to make the speech and debate space what it ought to be for all students and coaches: an inclusive, equitable, and educational incubator for the world’s future leaders.” Middle school students involved in speech and debate need to be “kids first.” In their session, Diving Further into Middle School Speech and Debate: Tools and Techniques for Coaching Younger Voices, Debbie Simon and Lis Venetiou conveyed their guiding principles for creating excellent public speakers for life. Get to know your middle school student. Provide an atmosphere of exploration. Give them specific techniques to help them progress in their event(s). And offer bucket-loads of positive feedback.

Hot Topics Q&A Attendees had the opportunity to submit “hot topics” questions throughout the conference that were answered in a general session before lunch on the final day. Two questions in particular piqued a lot of interest. Q: “What does a team’s budget look like for the year, including travel to tournaments? And how many tournaments do most schools participate in?” A: Overall, according to a program survey conducted by the NSDA and Stax Consulting as part of our Edco partnership in 2018, speech and debate teams expect to need $16,800 a year on average to cover costs related to tournaments (travel, registration fees, hosting and supplies), coaching expenses, and purchase of training materials. Of the funds raised, 26% (about $4,500) are generated through fundraising activities, and in general most schools which have overall budgets smaller than $10,000 are more dependent on these activities. On average, participating speech and debate teams attended 11 local, three regional, and one to two national events per year. Q: Is there a way for schools that are economically disadvantaged to receive resources from the NSDA without the additional expense to our yearly dues?



A: The NSDA’s two primary funding sources (other than the Tate Fund that assists with travel expenses to the National Tournament) are both described under the Resources » Grants and Funding page found at www.speechanddebate.org. For the next three years, the best potential fundraising tool is the Big Questions debate program, which allows eligible schools to host a Big Questions event and earn membership and other funds depending on their level of participation. Another tool is program grants, also available on the above Grants and Funding page, which allow schools in need to apply for discounts or waivers. This program is especially geared toward new schools but open to all. Don’t forget to consider the use of EdCo, the NSDA’s online fundraising platform partner, and the free fundraising guide available online in the same section of the website. In early fall, as a response to requests from District Committee members nationwide, the NSDA will begin offering a District Leader Onboarding Course as part of our initial NSDA Learn course offerings. This free, self-paced, online course will provide both new and returning district leaders a space to assess their own district structure/ operations, learn more about district-level finances and sustainability, and learn best practices for running a fair and efficient district tournament.

Looking Ahead As reported in recent issues of Rostrum, no National Conference will be held in 2020. The Board of Directors has asked the Executive Director to create a focus group to further explore and provide feedback on the best ways to meet our goals for professional development and collaboration among educators. In the past, a Leadership Conference was held every two years. Exploration into a potential rotation between the National Conference and the Leadership Conference will be part of the discussion. If you would like to provide your own feedback about the National Conference, the Leadership Conference, or a rotation between the two, please email Lauren McCool, Education and Recognition Coordinator, at lauren.mccool@ speechanddebate.org.

Visit our website to learn more about our professional development portal:

www.speechanddebate.org/learn Lauren McCool serves as Education and Recognition Coordinator for the NSDA.

https://tinyurl.com/NSDAConference ROSTRUM | SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2019 35


Q&A WITH DISTRICT LEADERS We asked five recently elected district leaders the following three questions: 1. What makes the time and energy you’ll put into volunteer district leadership this year worthwhile? f fW HY VOLUNTEER

2. Do you have a favorite or go-to NSDA resource or program and why would you recommend it? f fFAVORITE RESOURC E

3. What’s one important quality of any leader in the nation’s speech and debate honorary? f fL E AD ERSHIP QUALIT Y


Compiled by Amy Seidelman, Assistant Executive Director for the NSDA.




WHY VOLUN T E E R Seeing the excitement and the cooperation from all of our district qualifiers and all of our district coaches when we are at Nationals! FAVORIT E RESOURCE We stress initiation into the Honor Society as one of the highest honors a high school student can achieve, and urge all to earn that membership. LE A D E RSHIP QUA LIT Y Openness—to new ideas, to new people, to different ways of doing things.


WHY VOLU NTEER Student success makes it ALL worthwhile. FAVORIT E R ESO U RCE Judge training materials from the website are, without doubt, my favorite. LE A D E RSHIP Q U ALI T Y A willingness to pause long enough to watch and note what works, what doesn’t work, and why.



W H Y VO L U N T E E R Working with fellow coaches to ensure our students have a fair and smoothly run district tournament makes volunteering worthwhile. FAVOR IT E R ESOU RC E The certificates and seals for the Honor Society are wonderful. I display them and students enjoy tracking their accomplishments. L E ADER S H IP Q U A L IT Y Integrity—this activity isn’t only about winning.


W H Y VO L UNT EER I've been coaching for 19 years, so I think I have a lot of experience I can share with new coaches to make their job easier. FAVO R I TE R ESO URC E I enjoy the videos of the national champions competing. I show them to my students every year because they get to see a diverse style of speech and debate. L E A D ER S H I P Q UA L I T Y Every leader should be a great listener. They should also be compassionate because being a debate coach is hard work, but totally worth it, if there's a great support system.


WHY VOLUN T E E R I enjoy having the opportunity to work with some of my district’s top instructors and learn as much as I can from them.

Each district leader is invited to grow in their understanding of their role as a District Committee member or chair by taking our District Leader Onboarding Course. Offered for free through our new online professional development portal, NSDA Learn, this course is self-paced and can be taken at one's leisure. Topics covered include information about running a district tournament, how national qualification levels work, and how districts can earn recognition/recognize their members. Even the most experienced district leader will benefit from taking this short course so they have the most up-to-date information as they prepare for the 2019-2020 season.

FAVORIT E RESOURCE All of the NSDA final round videos are a huge resource for my students and I enjoy it very much. LE A D E RSHIP QUA LIT Y Longevity. I'm not a fan of the limited commitment. Anyone who has been at this for a long time is very important to me.

Visit our website to learn more about our professional development portal:

www.speechanddebate.org/learn ROSTRUM | SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2019 37



A Focus on Mentorship and Motivation by Emily McKenzie

“Speech and debate is the best activity we can offer to kids.” – Sharon Volpe


s an AP Calculus teacher and speech and debate coach, Sharon Volpe has seen the way the activity has shaped her school’s environment. “Just by having a team at our school, the level of discussions in the classrooms across the curriculum helps impact all students in the school. There is something for every personality,” Sharon says. “Speech and debate is the best activity we can offer to kids. The program teaches students skills they won’t get elsewhere.” Sharon has been actively involved in speech and debate for more than four decades, starting with her introduction to the activity as a student at Mercer High School in Pennsylvania. After



graduating in 1984, she started judging for her high school. At a tournament in 1987, Sharon told a coach, “If you need help, I will do whatever it takes.” This began her years as an assistant coach for Upper St. Clair High School in Pennsylvania. After coaching for a city school for a year, Sharon found her way to North Allegheny High School.

THE RINGMASTER Sharon’s team is large, often with more than 180 students, most of whom are involved in multiple activities. Practices have an open door and students come when they can. As a result, Sharon has learned to play to her strengths and get creative. “I call

myself the ringmaster because I don’t have time to do everything,” she explains. Sharon and her assistant coaches Janice Kuntz, Annie Sippel, and Nathan Lawver use the NSDA Resource Package to give students the videos and tools they need to learn at their own pace. And, as a strong believer in the value of student mentorship, older students on Sharon’s team work with younger students. “Our program is unique because it does an incredible job of including students of all ages, incomes, and backgrounds,” says team president Katherine Gao. “Much of our program is student-run, giving students a chance to mentor one another and create a unique, personable learning environment, where one person’s success is the whole team’s success.”

Sharon’s belief in mentorship extends beyond the classroom. As the former mentorship chair for her district, she still works with new coaches to guide them through the ins and outs of team management. She advises the coaches she works with to “take it slow. It’s a process, and the learning curve is huge. Even veteran coaches sometimes feel like new coaches. It is important to always ask for help and know that no one is alone in this organization.”

STRIVING FOR RECOGNITION With such a large team, keeping each individual student engaged could pose a challenge. Sharon believes recognition is key to encouraging students. “The membership

certificates and seals students earn are a strong recruiting tool,” Sharon says. “Students need recognition for motivation to stay on track. It’s nice to see them work for something and be excited when they succeed.” One recognition opportunity Sharon’s program focuses on is the Academic All American award, which recognizes students who excel in both academics and forensics. “I believe as a coach it’s important to recognize students for their exceptional work in the classroom, not just in competition.” In recent years, North Allegheny High School has received more Academic All American awards than any other program in the country, and the recognition is highly valued by Sharon and her students alike. “They strive for it,” Sharon says. “The moment they are eligible for it, they let me know. They’ll be in the room or emailing me.” Sanjit Beriwal is a senior at North Allegheny High School and one of many students inspired by the Academic All American award. “For me personally, the Academic All American award has incentivized me to go to more tournaments and

work harder to improve my skills. Not only does it serve as a gratifying reward for hard work but doubles as a goal for students to strive to achieve throughout their time in speech and debate.” Recognition serves as a motivator for Sharon, too. “The way the NSDA recognizes coaches and allows our schools to see what we have done has been a highlight of my career thus far. It puts the good things we do in the spotlight for a few minutes.” But the most valuable recognition comes from a little closer to home. “My relationship with my students means a lot,” Sharon says. “I remember being at a volleyball game and parents of a former student were there. I hadn’t seen them in years. The mother came up to me and expressed how speech and debate changed her daughter’s life.” It’s a thousand moments like that that keep Sharon going.


About the Academic All American Award This prestigious award celebrates the academic excellence and competitive success of high school students. To be eligible, students must have earned the degree of Superior Distinction (750 points); completed at least five semesters of high school; demonstrated outstanding character and leadership; and earned a GPA of 3.7 on a 4.0 scale (or its equivalent). If a student is eligible, coaches will see a yellow box with “AAA?” under the “Awards” column on their Student Roster. If students meet the other academic criteria outlined on the nomination form, advisors can submit an application online on their behalf. The entire process is done online! Nominate a student today at www.speechanddebate.org/aaa.

Emily McKenzie serves as a summer intern for the NSDA.

“I believe the Academic All American award is important because it is a measure of the hard work and effort that a student puts into the activity. This recognition has shown me the progress I have made as a result of my commitment to the speech and debate program.” — Katherine Gao ROSTRUM | SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2019 39



Speak Your Truth and Love What You Do by Victor Torres III

A Policy debater in front of the Supreme Court


n January 21, 2009, Lindsay Harrison stood at the podium in the Supreme Court for the first time and delivered her oral argument in a case that could mean life or death for her client. She was not nervous, despite the fact that this Supreme Court appearance was her first argument of any kind in a court, because she had been preparing for this day over many nights and weekends. She won the case in a 7-2 decision. Lindsay represented Jean Marc Nken in his efforts to obtain asylum in the United States on a pro bono basis. Nken, a citizen of Cameroon, fled the country following government detainment interrogation and beating over his advocacy for free elections. This case set a precedent in


immigration law that asylum seekers have rights and can seek to remain in this country while they have a case on appeal. If the government were to deport an asylum seeker while their case is pending and then they were to win their appeal, it could be very difficult or even impossible for them to return, particularly if their claim was valid because they were at real risk in their home country. When asked what it was like to argue in front of the Supreme Court, Lindsay responds, “It was a ton of fun. You are very physically close to the Justices, and you feel like you are having a conversation with nine really smart people who are interested in hearing from you and getting the answer right.”


PRO BONO BEGINNINGS As an openly gay student at Harvard Law school, Lindsay sought employment with a firm with a commitment to pro bono work and an environment with other openly gay attorneys. Jenner & Block checked both these boxes. She was fortunate enough to work on a big Supreme Court case (Lawrence v. Texas) as a summer associate in which Texas state law criminalizing specific sexual conduct between two consenting adults of the same sex was deemed unconstitutional. This case had a massive impact on LGBTQ+ civil rights and Lindsay’s career. It combined progressive work and pro bono work on impactful Supreme Court litigation. Lindsay explains, “This is kind of how I ended up

where I am­—and now, I get to do pro bono work on all sorts of things I am passionate about including criminal justice cases and immigration work, which so frequently impact brown and black people disproportionately and where the system has so many flaws that usually arise because someone does not have adequate representation at some point in the process.” She has taken on challenges such as death penalty work and work in favor of scientists and government integrity. “I am just really blessed to be able to do pro bono work that’s both personally incredibly fulfilling, especially helping disadvantaged people and minorities,” she says. “At the same time, I get to do a whole bunch of interesting work for companies and other clients who pay for services.”

Lindsay has a large pro bono practice that not only allows her to give back to communities, but also gives those who cannot afford or access it good legal representation. “Doing some of the immigration work I do pro bono definitely makes it feel like a connection to my family, to my history, in ways that make it more personal than it otherwise would be.” Lindsey was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. Her mother was born in the United States and her father emigrated to the U.S. in the 1970’s from the Soviet Union. Her grandfather had been a lawyer in the Soviet Union; however, when they moved to the U.S., he had to start over, and he ended up becoming a manager of a grocery store in Dallas. When she decided to be a lawyer, she frequently thought about the fact that her grandfather had been a lawyer and he had given it up. She felt a connection to him and as a result the pro bono work she does today.

SKILL BUILDING Lindsay initially competed in Policy Debate because of a school requirement. At the time she had to take a fine arts class and she felt she was terrible at (and terrified of) art and music. Debate happened to be within the fine arts category and was an equivalent credit. She took it and really loved the activity.

Lindsay says, “I stuck with it, partly because I had success, and partly because of Aaron Timmons who was and still is an amazing coach. That’s kind of why that was a factor here, it was the default alternative.” She thought it sounded like a good way to become better at arguing, whether it was in the debate room or arguing with friends or other people. She learned many transferable skills from the activity but none as valuable as the importance of preparation—the idea that you might be giving a speech and you have eight minutes to deliver it, but you are going to have to do hours and hours of work to maximize those eight minutes. Lindsay explains, “All the work you put in outside of that is what makes that speech good. It’s not just sparkling talent, it’s all the hard work that goes into it beforehand.” Speech and debate helped her find her voice and think about what is truly persuasive. It also introduced her to a rather large community of people who are smart, thoughtful, and who she now encounters in her career all the time. Her guidance and support through debate can be attributed to her role model, Sherry Hall, who was the coach at Harvard and

her lab leader when she was in high school. “Sherry has been one who works harder than anybody else and also does her best to make everybody else good—whether that’s someone on her team or just someone in the debate community. She’s all about hard work and service to others. If I can emulate even a little bit of that it’d be like I had a successful life and career.”

ADVICE FOR LAW STUDENTS To the students participating in speech and debate with an eye to a future career in the legal field, Lindsay recommends starting with the building blocks. “To me, reading prolifically and writing clearly and efficiently are the two best things you can do to become a really skilled lawyer,” Lindsay says. “When I mean reading, it’s about every topic. Learn about the world. Learn about any topic that interests you. Curiosity. That’s a big part of becoming a successful lawyer. Still working on not just your oral persuasive skills but your writing as well.” She continues, “It’s not enough to just want to be a lawyer; you need to think about what would make you a happy lawyer. Think about your career in terms of what part would make you feel fulfilled and happy.

That’s got to be part of your planning. It can’t just be I want to be a lawyer. It’s got to be what about being a lawyer would make me feel good about my life, good about my career, so I am very fulfilled.” Lindsay concludes, “Being thoughtful and purposeful from the start will help you get to a happy place and love what you do.”

Victor Torres III currently serves as a Colorado College Fellow at the NSDA.

Event Spotlight: POLICY DEBATE Policy Debate is a two-on-two debate where an affirmative team proposes a plan and the negative team argues why that plan should not be adopted.

What’s unique about Policy Debate? Policy is the oldest debate event and one of the longest, with the typical round running between 90 and 120 minutes, including feedback from judges. It is generally known as the most research-intensive event, as students debate the same topic all year. Unlike traditional writing where the author may briefly quote or even paraphrase evidence, Policy Debate relies on the use of cards, or pieces of evidence directly quoted word-for-word from the source. Depending on local styles, Policy can be a fast-talking event! With strict time limits and the need to present arguments supported by research, students will speak as efficiently as possible.

Learn more about Policy Debate at www.speechanddebate.org/competition-events/#policy ROSTRUM | SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2019 41

ECONOMICS & GOVERNMENT HOST A 1-DAY SEMINAR Invite engaging and humorous lecturers to your school— completely free of charge—to open students' minds to the ideas and principles that form the basis of good societies. Professors James R. Harrigan, Antony Davies, Thomas Krannawitter, and Phil Magness lead four 1-hour lectures and experiments that explore the role politics, philosophy, and economics play in American public life.

Economic Mindset

Property Rights

Strong Character

Any U.S. high school or homeschool group with 75+ expected program participants qualifies as a host, and we can accommodate up to 150+ students per program.

Request more information: FEE.org/EG


Justin Davis Director of Programs seminars@FEE.org





– Most PORTABLE stand on the market – Extremely LIGHTWEIGHT (< 4 lbs) and easy to transport – COMPACT - fits in most backpacks and PC carrying cases and easily fits in desk drawers or under the bed – EXPANDABLE WORK SURFACE - bottom becomes an extension of top, increasing workspace from 15” to 22” – ADJUSTABLE TELESCOPING HEIGHT - from 12” to 29” – 2 MODELS - Original and Plus (comes with Smartphone and Cup holders) – NO TOOLS REQUIRED and sets up in less than a minute – Manufactured by PC Tables Inc, a trusted company that’s been in business for 18 years – The PREFERRED STAND for professional and student debaters

Over 200,000 sold worldwide! Tabletote is available at

(keyword: Tabletote)

For more information, visit the company website at pctabletote.com OR call (314) 265-7071.

Big Questions is presented by the NSDA through a generous grant provided by the John Templeton Foundation. Visit our website for funding opportunities, topic primers, and more.

NSDABigQuestions.org 2019–2020 TOPIC

Resolved: Objective morality exists.

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 authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the John Templeton Foundation.



USA DEBATE: Tips and Teamwork in Thailand by Anh Cao

(left to right) Co-Head Coach Aaron Timmons, Emily Grantham, Elyse Dewbre, Luke Tillitski, Ishan Bhatt, Leila Saklou, Anh Cao, Assistant Coach Danny DeBois, and Co-Head Coach and Team Manager Cindi Timmons.


his July, more than 60 countries sent delegations to Bangkok, Thailand, for the WSDC World Championship. The United States was represented by six members of the USA Debate Team, each of whom dedicated their summer to two weeks of high-pressure competition at the World Schools Debating Championship, in addition to intense training beforehand in Colorado. In Colorado, Team USA was given invaluable insights through countless impromptu rounds, hours of prepared motion work, and groupbased content discussions. Under instruction of USA Debate alumni Jasper Primack and Aditya Dhar, the team grew and flourished.


Once the team arrived in Bangkok, they got straight to work, attempting to balance prep with 12-hour jet lag. After spar rounds against the national teams of Singapore, Pakistan, England, Slovenia, Mexico, the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic, Team USA was fired up. In the preliminary rounds, the team went 7-1 with 18 ballots. After defeating teams from Scotland, Indonesia, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Malaysia, Korea, and Mexico, the USA Debate Team was the second seed heading into the elimination rounds, our best performance to date. In elims the team defeated a skilled team from New Zealand before losing to Canada on a 3-2 decision in quarterfinals.


Motions ranged from prepared topics on gentrification, payroll loans, breaking up Amazon, and NSA use of zero-day vulnerabilities to impromptu rounds on parliamentary systems, the practice of â&#x20AC;&#x153;importing brides,â&#x20AC;? whether or not elderly parents should live with their adult children, and minority representation in films. In quarterfinals, Team USA lost to Team Canada in a debate about the rise of China. This is the third year in a row that the USA team has made the top six. Three members won individual speaker awards: Luke Tillitski (senior) placed 11th after debating in every round; Anh Cao (junior) was the highest ranking female debater of the tournament, placing 9th; and Ishan Bhatt (senior) won 5th

place speaker, making him the highest placing American debater in recent history. None of these results would have been possible without the training and support of the coaches that accompanied Team USA in Thailand. Cindi Timmons, Aaron Timmons, and Danny DeBois each put in countless hours to challenge and improve the team on an individual and collective level. With a successful tournament to end the competitive season, another class of the USA Debate Team returned home with fond memories and lasting friendships.

Anh Cao is a senior at Bentonville High School in Arkansas. She currently serves as a publications intern for the NSDA.


CONGRATULATIONS! 2019-2020 USA Debate Team

Read, read, read, and then read some more. Since debate motions change every round and can cover virtually any topic, successful World Schools debaters MUST be wellread. This means reading about a variety of topics, both domestic and international, from diverse sources. The best articles are often feature-oriented as opposed to straight news stories. These articles offer narratives that help put “a face on the motion.”

Anh Cao – Bentonville High School, AR

Once read, the material should be synthesized so that it can be shared with other team members and stored for rereading. Team members can create “matter files”—similar to an Extemp article filing system, but focusing on broader categories of motion topics.

Roopa Irakam – Watchung Hills Regional High School, NJ

For practice, debaters can create motions from the articles they read and then do the following drill: • Spend 15 minutes writing a prop outline for the motion (akin to an Impromptu prep—no research or anything).

Liana Schmitter-Emerson – Campbell Hall High School, CA Rohit Jhawar – Kennedy High School, CA James Hu – Mira Loma High School, CA Arham Habib – Monte Vista High School, CA Miles Wang – A. W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts, FL Jack Johnson – The Blake School, MN Abbey Xu – St. Paul’s School, NH Cassandra Berlin – Hawken School, OH Elyse Dewbre – Northland Christian School, TX Genevieve Cox – W. B. Ray High School, TX

2019-2020 USA Debate Development Team Tanya Richards – Mira Loma High School, CA Max Perin – Sage Hill School, CA

• Do not spend any more than 15 minutes— practice time allocation/efficiency here.

Jonathan May – Palisade High School, CO

• It should only be an outline, but go into enough detail to provide a general sense of what the warrants are.

Grace Kim – Pine View School, FL

• Spend 15 minutes writing an opp outline for the motion.

Victor Tong – Phillips Academy-Andover, MA

• Spend 30 minutes researching examples and write them down (timeboxed, stop after 30 regardless of how much you accomplish).

Madeline Murray – Phillips Exeter Academy, NH

• Share the material with other team members.

Katy Lin – Carroll High School, TX

Stephanie Chen – Choate Rosemary Hall, CT Vinayak Menon – Lambert High School, GA Edward Adams – The Blake School, MN Hannah Heeger – Millennium High School, NY Hannah Snyder – The Harley School, NY Cameron Kettles – Greenhill School, TX Claire Schulter – Northland Christian School, TX

Compiled by Danny DeBois (’14), Harvard graduate and Assistant Coach for the USA Debate Team.

Kaitlyn Maher – The Potomac School, VA




More than Words: Building Connections with Music


oanna Bai joined the speech and debate team at Millard West High School in Nebraska as a freshman, primarily competing in Original Oratory and Dramatic Interpretation. Her favorite part of the activity has been watching the people around her share their stories. “Speech and debate taught me how to listen and connect with people,” Joanna says. “I learned how to show up for others and give them a chance to be vulnerable in a safe space. I think speech and debate teaches us a lesson that we aren’t taught other places at such a young age—that despite having so much to learn in life, what we’ve learned so far is valuable and meaningful to the world. We’re not just kids who talk on the weekends.


Speech and debate gives us a place where we’re encouraged to use our voices to do more, to find our heartbeat in the world and chase after it.”

FINDING HER HEARTBEAT Joanna has always loved music and its ability to unify people. “I definitely think music transcends language and barriers. In times where we feel our lowest and most alone, music has no boundaries in helping us feel understood. You can take what you need from it,” Joanna says. “As a personal outlet, it can give you the space to process emotions, whether that’s getting hyped up for a tournament and dancing around in the hallways or having a good cry.”


Joanna began piano lessons as a child and later branched out to choir, clarinet, and violin. At 16, she began to wonder if music could do for others what it did for her. “I was always involved in Special Olympics, so I knew the athletes personally and had seen that they loved music. I’d take them out to lunch or dinner, and we’d blare music in the car and sing at the top of our lungs.” Alongside her friend Carly Renken, she began planning a program where youth with disabilities can express themselves through music. In summer 2017, Special Musicians was born. Joanna was exploring the business world for the first time as co-CEO and co-founder of a 501(c)(3) non-profit. Special Musicians’ first session welcomed four

youths with disabilities to join them as musicians for one hour. With outreach and a website, word spread and participation grew. Two years later, there are 60 to 70 musicians on the roster and 50 to 60 volunteer instructors committed to providing the experience every Sunday. Depending on time in the program, ability, and comfort level, participants play instruments, learn music theory and terminology, write their own measures, or just feed off the music and energy filling the space. Joey Drwal, an incoming senior at Millard West High School who has been participating in Special Musicians for two years, loves the experience. “I do drums and piano and dance and sing,” Joey says. “We do games and play drums and do rhythms.”

Joey and Joanna both look forward to the dance party at the end of each session where friends meet on the floor to dance and sing to music. Aside from the many friendships made, Joey’s favorite part of being one of the musicians in Special Musicians is “having a great time, having fun, and dancing a lot and singing to music.” Joanna’s favorite part is seeing the joy the program brings to everyone, volunteers and musicians alike. “The benefits of music therapy are endless, and music is powerful—but more than anything, I love the model of inclusion that the program provides,” Joanna says. “It’s a space where it doesn’t matter if you mess up, just that you’re doing it. Being able to see how empowering it is for our musicians to perform on stage and how much their faces light up when the audience claps has been probably the most rewarding part.”

STRIVING FOR INCLUSION Joanna is a first-generation American, her family having moved to the U.S. from China before she was born. “Growing up, it was like living split lives,” Joanna says. “My life at home and

my life at school were so separate it felt like being two people.” Everything was different: the food, the culture, the language, and her responsibilities. “I remember being eight years old sitting in doctors’ offices, filling out my own forms because my parents didn’t really know the language or the culture,” she continues. “I think growing up watching my parents adjust to a new culture taught me that we’re more alike than we are different. I learned to see past the differences that we all have, to really get to know people, and to be open minded.” At the 2019 National Speech & Debate Tournament, Joanna was named the 2019 NSDA National Student of the Year, in part for her work with Special Musicians and her efforts to make her community more inclusive. “Joanna is a perfect example of how speech and debate can change lives,” says selection committee chair Dario Camara. “She has a passion for speech and debate, a heart that knows no bounds, and places service and community first with class, dedication, and poise.” This fall, Joanna will study special education and theater science at Harvard. “I want to focus on closing

Joanna Bai and Joey Drwal from Millard West High School in Nebraska

the huge equity gap for kids with special needs in schools to make sure they can have an education that’s suitable to them.” In ten years, Joanna hopes to be an entrepreneur. But more than anything else, she wants to continue the push for inclusion until programs like Special Musicians aren’t needed anymore. “True inclusion is when we don’t need a separate platform for people with disabilities,” Joanna says. “I hope that in ten years I made the world more inclusive. As long as I continue to do that, I’d say my life was successful.”

Annie Reisener serves as Operations Specialist at the NSDA.

About the National Student of the Year Award The District Student of the Year award is presented to a graduating senior in each district who best represents the tenets of the Association’s Code of Honor: integrity, respect, humility, leadership, and service. Nominees must also demonstrate strong academic credentials and a commitment to the speech and debate community. Each year, six students who win the district award are selected as finalists for the William Woods Tate, Jr., National Student of the Year award and interview with an esteemed panel during the National Speech & Debate Tournament. Nominate a deserving student for your district award this year at www.speechanddebate. org/student-of-the-yearnomination-form.

To learn more about Special Musicians or to get involved, visit sites.google.com/view/specialmusicians/home ROSTRUM | SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2019 47


Words from the Hall

If the Mentoring Hat Fits, Wear It! by Pauline Carochi


ur views of life are always a matter of perspective. Most people believe that each year begins on January 1, but teachers and students know that a new year commences when school starts. Maybe that is why I never made New Year’s resolutions but instead in August set goals complete with action plans. I suspect that many of you, at least informally, also set goals as hope for a great school year fills your heart. This autumn, the first goal on my list is to redouble my efforts to be an effective mentor. Even though I know that you already wear too many hats, I ask you to join me in being the best mentor you can be. Why? Because as Dr. Seuss said, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” Even after coaching at the same Colorado high school for 40 years, my


passion for our activity has never waned. As speech and debate coaches, we teach students the life skills that are essential for personal and professional success. We imbue in our kids the desire to become lifelong learners and empower them to become action oriented. We make them part of the team/family we create and give them a safe place to belong while they learn to spread their wings. In return, our kids become woven into the fabric of our lives, never to be forgotten. None of this joy and growth is possible without a program headed by a passionate coach. Notice, I did not say experienced coach. This is where mentoring matters. Every year coaches quit for myriad reasons. Some coaches are replaced. Other schools allow their programs to be relegated to the graveyard. The NSDA understands and is


focusing on the problem of coach recruitment and retention. However, as communication educators, we know that the best message is the one that is delivered in person. Thus, as our next exciting year of competition begins, let’s reach out to mentor not just the brand new coach but every coach. To demonstrate how and why mentoring makes a difference, I am going to employ the story paradigm. Many of us are better able to see ourselves in the mentoring process when we are presented with the context of characters and storyline. In fact, many of us teach our competitors to employ this technique.

Mentoring does not have to be formal. In fact, some of the best mentoring occurs during the teachable moment. Sister Isabella Glen, a Hall of Fame member and a longtime coach

at a very small Colorado Catholic high school, wore a habit complete with the traditional headdress and was an imposing figure with the face of an angel. While she was serving as a parliamentarian at our national qualifying Congress tournament, the students were debating a bill to overturn Roe v. Wade. No one would raise a placard to speak on the affirmative side. Sister stood and walked regally to the front of the chamber to proclaim, “Children, I do so love a good debate. Behind this dress lies a very open-minded woman. Now, debate! Debate!” She taught everyone in the chamber a lesson. Do not allow your preconceived notions to hold you back.

Good mentors allow their actions to speak for them. Before James Copeland, a member of the first Hall of Fame class, took over the reins as Executive

Director of the NSDA, he had been a longtime Board member and the coach of one of the nation’s most successful teams. Mr. Copeland not only understood that the ranks of women coaches were growing but also desired that women be employed in roles that demonstrated how much our organization valued them. He opened opportunities for women to work in national tab rooms and to chair events like Policy Debate that only men had chaired previously. He reached out to district chairs to offer his assistance and every year attended several national qualifying district tournaments. While at those events, he worked as a servant leader. He did whatever was needed— including judging! He modeled how to lead by example and taught us that we were valued. I know how much this mattered because he attended my district tournament more than once and provided me with the honor of chairing both Policy and Lincoln-Douglas Debate.

Mentoring occurs in all kinds of places and is accomplished by young and old alike. It was early in the season. One of my students was at her first

tournament competing in Original Oratory. After completing her first round and forgetting half of her speech, she ran to the bathroom to cry, sure that her speech career was over and that she had embarrassed herself beyond redemption. Another competitor who noticed how upset she was followed her to the restroom and spent 30 minutes consoling and encouraging a stranger from another team. Then the kind, young woman came to the tab room to get me so I could also help. My student stayed in speech and blossomed into a good and kind competitor.

True mentors seek to grow skills in others rather than to show off their skills. I will never forget the year that I was a relatively new coach serving on our District Committee. Our district

chair unexpectedly resigned, leaving me with the mantle of leadership and the job of running our national qualifying tournament. At the time, our district was a contentious place where a previous committee member worked hard to make life miserable for the leadership team because he was bitter over not being re-elected. Knowing this individual would delight in making me look like a failure, I reached out to my mentor Frank Sferra and asked if he would attend our qualifying meet to be sure my inexperience did not cause me to make mistakes that could hurt any of our competitors. His reply, “I had already planned to be there for you.” Frank, Hall of Fame member and NSDA Board President, stayed completely in the background. When he thought I needed

direction, he discreetly whispered his helpful suggestions. He made me look competent and took none of the credit. I have tried hard to pay that gift forward. The lesson: know how to ask for help and how to provide help.

Confident mentors understand that helping other coaches grow their skills improves competition for everyone. Some coaches carefully hide their secrets for success while others joyfully share what they know. Cindi Timmons is an outstanding coach and Hall of Fame member who shares and teaches others. For example, she was working in my Policy Debate tab room at Nationals. The national circuit debaters were using a new strategy, kritiks. I knew what a kritik was but did not understand how it worked or how to employ it successfully,

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

­— Dr. Suess


much less how to teach it to my debaters. I asked Cindi, and over the course of that week, she spent a couple of hours teaching the strategy to me. She followed up by sending me sample kritiks that my debaters could use as templates to create their own. Mentors know that we can’t grow confident, good coaches if we don’t provide instruction. There is usually no one else in our schools who knows or understands what we do.

The best mentors grow a Speech Family. As we have been told by numerous people, who are outside of our activity looking in, no one in their right mind would spend weekends coaching speech. After all, the season and days are long, the pay is extremely low, and the responsibility is great. What they don’t know is that many of us were lucky enough to have a coach like Hall of Famer Lowell Sharp in our midst. He mastered the art of creating a speech family. His jokes were legendary, his hospitality unbelievable, and his open-armed inclusiveness made us all feel special. Be a mentor who builds relationships, who values colleagues as friends. That may be the greatest gift that you can construct— a genuine community.



Tips for Becoming a Successful Mentor I sincerely hope these stories show you why mentoring matters. However, to get the practice of mentoring off these pages and into our “muscle memory,” like our interpers do, I am offering a few practical items for your consideration. • No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care. Therefore, the key to mentoring is to build personal relationships. Be open and honest. Get to know your colleagues outside of the role they play when they wear their coaches’ hats. Share photos, tell stories, know about each other’s aspirations. • A mentor is NOT a teacher. A mentor may teach but is first a listener and a learner. Seek to learn from those you seek to assist. As most of us know, we learn as much from our kids as they learn from us. Let everyone see you as a learner. For example, with my extempers we do issue briefings once a week. Everyone, including me, is assigned a topic area on which to become an expert. We must each bring five

quality, highlighted articles about our issue to the briefing. The “expert” teaches that topic to everyone and fields the questions. • Never agree to mentor and to fulfill a request from someone unless you will actually follow through. It is better to say NO than to let someone who needs help flounder. A new coach, who later became a dear friend, asked two of us to help her get started. Laughingly, she later told us that she took turns calling us so that she wouldn’t burn either of us out. You might try that as a technique. • Pay attention! If you are watching for it, you will see when someone needs help. Remember what it felt like to be the new kid on the block. It is difficult to ask for help. • Coaching and mentoring are different. Coaching is to prepare someone for a performance, but mentoring is to develop the individual for the future. Anticipate what someone will need to know. Then do not tell them how to do it; SHOW them. Invite them into the tab room. Let them learn to run the computer program

you are using. Don’t send them to judge; take them to judge. Go over their ballots afterward and offer feedback. • Actually teach your team members how to mentor, what to look for, and how to help without coming across as arrogant. Students with those skills will lighten your load and be your best ally in building your team into a family. As a speech and debate coach or competitor, you are in a unique position to make a difference, to help us retain and grow coaches, and to create programs for an even greater number of deserving young people. I know that you are a person wearing many hats: family member, teacher, coach, and friend. You fulfill these roles while struggling to find even a few precious minutes for yourself. However, when and where you are able, I implore you to add the hat of mentor. After all, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

Pauline Carochi is a sixdiamond coach and member of the NSDA Hall of Fame.

READY TO TAKE ON THE WORLD? The Brewer Foundation and New York University proudly announce the 19th annual International Public Policy Forum (IPPF) - the only competition that gives high school students around the world the opportunity to engage in written and oral debates on issues of public policy. This international contest is open to all schools - public and private - for free. High school teams compete for awards and scholarships. The top eight teams earn all-expense-paid trips to the IPPF Finals in New York City, where the IPPF World Champion receives a $10,000 grand prize! The time is now. Register your team today at www.ippfdebate.com.




Register at www.ippfdebate.com by October 19. Prepare a 2,800-word qualifying round essay on the 2019-20 topic. Submit your essay by October 22 to ippf@brewerfoundation.com. The top 64 teams will be announced on November 6. Advancing teams continue their participation in a written debate tournament, competing against teams from around the world. The field is narrowed from 64 teams to 32, 16, then eight. The final eight teams earn an all-expenses-paid trip to the IPPF Finals in New York!


for more info visit ed.co/nsda

The Early Bird Always Catches the Worm


ummer vacation has come to a close and schools across the country are getting back into session. While students, teachers, coaches, mentors, and parents should feel refreshed and ready to take the new school year by storm, many are still reminiscing about the last couple of months. Now is the perfect time to find a creative outlet that will help you escape the doldrums while funding the year ahead for your speech and debate team. Set up your NSDA fundraising page TODAY and start collecting donations you can use for your team! Still not convinced? EdCo just released its new platform and NSDA teams are invited to be among the first to start using it. EdCo has helped NSDA teams like yours raise more than $410,000 and we are just scratching the surface. Being prepared is the key to a great fundraiser. Follow these quick and easy steps.

Getting Started • Set up a page on EdCo by visiting https://ed.co/nsda. • Tell your story. Get people invested in your cause. Write a description about what your goals are this year—donors love that. Use photos and videos to let potential donors know who you are and what you have done! Use the team feed area to keep everyone updated as new things happen! • Invite everyone on your team to help fundraise. EdCo encourages teams to raise together so no one person is responsible for the fundraiser. • NEW! Alert contacts about your fundraiser via SMS. • NEW! Knowledge is power: track your team’s marketing efforts within your dashboard. • NEW! Use the upload features to add team

members and donor lists multiple ways. They are easy to use and manage. • NEW! Manage your team’s user setting. Now you can have total control over who can edit and manage each component of your fundraiser. • NEW! Make sure your donors know that EdCo now has a corporate matching feature built into the donation process.

Why EdCo? “We spent a lot of time on the user experience, testing and talking to partners and users to make sure we had features that were most important to them. Our launch team included expert programmers, marketers and user experience professionals and they took our product to a whole new level ,” says Amy Zucchi, Head of Marketing for EdCo.

EdCo partners with the NSDA to offer teams the ability to raise more money than they have in the past. We want your team to get a piece of the action. Get started today!


Hundreds of raised more

Start a fundraise

In recent years, online fundraising has been gaining a lot of traction.

REgistrati Training m Membersh Bus HoteL + Food A LOT OF fundr

“With busy students engaged in all sorts of activities, carving out time to fundraise can be a challenge. EdCo provided a forum via which students could reach out to prospective donors even given a few minutes a day sandwiched around other activities.” — Paul Wexler, Coach (MA)

“The partnership between EdCo and the NSDA has been a huge win for our team’s fundraising the past four years. EdCo is a trustworthy platform that we can return to year after year, tools that are easy to use for increasing our outreach, and responsive staff who get things done. Having a consistent platform we can use every year when we start gearing up for Nationals has been huge.”



— Micah Everson, Coach (MS)



EDCOâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S NEW PLATFORM IN TIME FOR THE 2019-2020 SCHOOL YEAR. for more info visit ed.co/nsda


STATEMENT WINS: Trinity Debate Breaks Onto National Scene


hat makes life on Trinity’s

debate team special? Well, besides beating heavyweight teams from Harvard and Michigan, getting scholarship money, having the chance to travel to national tournaments, and receiving personal attention from dedicated faculty coaches, Ian Dill (’20) says it’s got to be the sense of community. single digits, has grown into

competitive scholarship

and hired coaches doing

a national powerhouse.

packages and gives first-

your research and prep for

In 2018-2019, Trinity

year debaters a chance

you, at Trinity we get to

the weekends, have team

debate placed in the Elite

to see action right away.

develop our own research

dinners, hang out even

8 in the American Debate

outside of debate, and that

Association National

paying dividends. At the

for law school and what I

makes us more cohesive.”

Championship Tournament.

March championships,

want to do in the future.”

The tournament

a team of Dill and Ansh

competitive success, Trinity

featured 80 individual

Khullar (’20) advanced

Trinity’s all first-year team

has pulled off more than

teams from 37 schools

to the quarterfinals.

of Sam Lair (’22) and Sam

enough upset wins to ditch

around the country.

“We get individual focus from the coaches,” Dill says. “We meet on

After years of

Compared to larger

its underdog status. The


This approach is already

“The scholarships they

skills. That’s going to be huge

At that same tournament,

Grimsley (’22) made it to

offer here made this a

the Sweet Sixteen: the

University’s relatively small

programs, Trinity runs

good choice,” Khullar says.

best overall performance

debate program, with a

debate differently.

“And while other debate

of any first-year team

roster of regulars just in the

The program offers

programs have professors

at the tournament.



“We get individual focus from the coaches. We meet on the weekends, have team dinners, hang out even outside of debate, and that makes us more cohesive.” — Ian Dill

This is the type of

These opportunities

And while the

early impact Grimsley

are shaped by professors

two teams are

dreamed of making when

William Mosley-Jensen

already scouting

he enrolled at Trinity. “I

and Collin Roark. And

out prospective

liked the idea of joining a

this personal attention

competition for next

smaller team, but also one

gives Trinity debaters

year, they’ll also be

that was this powerful.”

another edge: a chance to

looking to recruit

develop specific strategy

the next generation

for each competition.

of debaters. “That’s

Some of Grimsely’s high school teammates who went to other colleges

“You’re going to get

what matters most

with oversized rosters still

judges from across the

to me,” Grimsley

haven’t gotten to travel

political spectrum, so

says, “not just the

to national tournaments.

we’ll tailor different

competition, but the

“But at Trinity,” Grimsley

points (of argument)

sense of community

says, “you’re going to get

based on who’s evaluating

and family we all find

immediate opportunities.”

us,” Khullar says.

in the team.”

About Trinity University Trinity University, San Antonio’s premier liberal arts and sciences university, is proud to mark its 150th anniversary of academic excellence in 2019. As one of the nation’s top undergraduate institutions, the University is known for its challenging and supportive academic environment, personalized attention from outstanding faculty, large school resources, postgraduate preparation, and vibrant campus life. Trinity encourages students to discover, grow, and become global citizens engaged with the community and the world. Trinity’s 2,480 undergraduate and graduate students come from 47 states and 63 countries. Students choose from 49 majors, 61 minors, and five graduate programs that integrate conceptual and experiential learning, emphasize undergraduate research, and develop strong leadership skills to accelerate what’s next.



Dear Administrator, Making vivid the world of speech and debate is a challenge because every youngster is unique, but here is a distilled sketch of what this world is like. The boy who came to my classroom several times a week for four years was always intense. Half-articulate, eyes glowing with a fierce spirit—you felt his passion immediately even if what he wanted to say wasn’t always clear-cut. No one I ever coached loved Lincoln-Douglas Debate more, and no one lost more rounds. At the end of every tournament when handed his ballots, he would glance at them, ball them up angrily, and then with deft and casual scorn, jump shot them into any available wastebasket near or far. He loved philosophy and would sit at the back of the bus or the 12-passenger van (in those antique days when coaches still drove such) as we were voyaging through the night on our return from somewhere or other, making dark underlines under choice excerpts from Nietzsche, which later appeared tattooed onto his forearms. He blazed with idealism and generosity, and it was no surprise that he became an EMT tasked with using his strength and a counterbalancing passion to engage with the bodies of the needy, the broken, and the vulnerable in New York City. And there was the girl who chose to sleep in late tournament mornings although she had made ardent promises that this next time she would show up punctually for the Saturday morning bus. . . yet rarely did. My wife would ask mildly but pointedly—why do you wait for someone like that? I shrugged because we both knew the answer. I forgot her for a while because new leaves grow on the tree of a school each year and each flower, each fruit, needs your newest and fullest attention. So years after when a letter tumbled onto my desk because she had written to tell me that every day in her job assisting a city council member she remembered what Extemp had taught her, I couldn’t believe it for a moment. Until I did. Never generalize. Never assume. Never presume you know someone else’s heart and mind. When young people ask and are half-lost and half-listening, you have to remember they are actually in the midst of finding themselves and listening with all their might. I can acknowledge that competitive speech and debate is flawed and draws on questionable aspects of the human condition where we judge, rank, and quantify what is unjudgeable, unrankable, and unquantifiable. For all the pleasure outrounds and wins brought, those trophies have tarnished over time. And whatever I might have taught, I have learned more than I could have ever imagined. If speech and debate made me a more chastened human being, I hope that I have been able to pass on a few things to the vast and utterly distinct array of youngsters who have come through our program: Learn to listen as much as to speak; speak for those who cannot speak for themselves; and never forget the beauty and the urgency of the human story. Everyone deserves a voice, and the a priori respect that must precede that gift. If we can strive for this kind of world, then we can live in trust that our present precedes a better future. Sincerely,

James Shapiro James Shapiro Berkeley Carroll School, New York 2019 NSDA Educator of the Year Finalist

Find this and other letters of advocacy on our website:

www.speechanddebate.org/resources 56



1925 SOCIET Y The National Speech & Debate Association is grateful to acknowledge the following 1925 Society members for pledging a generous planned gift contribution. Byron Arthur

Albert Odom, Jr.

Phyllis Flory Barton

J. W. Patterson

James Copeland

Capt. Joseph L. and Jan Pizzo

Don and Ann Crabtree

Dr. Polly and Bruce Reikowski

Dr. Mike Edmonds A. C. Eley Vickie and Joe Fellers David and Judy Huston Jennifer Jerome

Donus and Lovila Roberts James Rye, III Steve and Anna Schappaugh David Seikel

Harold Keller

Sandra Silvers

Kandi King

Richard Sodikow

Cherian and Betsy Koshy

William Woods Tate, Jr.

Dr. Tommie Lindsey, Jr.

Nicole and Darrel Wanzer-Serrano

Pam and Ray McComas H. B. Mitchell

Cheryl Watkins

Steve Moss

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 nicole@speechanddebate.org.

www.speechanddebate.org Newsstand Price: $9.99 per issue Member Subscription: $24.99 for 5 issues Non-Member Subscription: $34.99 for 5 issues

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

Extemporaneous Questions GENERAL PUBLIC


SINGLE Division

$50 per Round

$35 per Round

$100 per Tournament

TWO Divisions

$80 per Round

$50 per Round

$150 per Tournament

* Save up to $30 per Round *



* Save up to $410 per Tournament! *

To guarantee your order can be fulfilled, please place it at least five (5) or more business days before your tournament begins. Orders placed with less lead time may not be guaranteed. NSDA members and Resource Package subscribers, be sure to log in to your Account page before completing the online form to receive discounted pricing.

Visit www.speechanddebate.org /extemp-questions-order-form today!

Profile for Speech & Debate

2019 September/October Rostrum  

Volume 94, Issue 1

2019 September/October Rostrum  

Volume 94, Issue 1

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded