2022 September/October Rostrum

Page 54

Speech and debate equipped me with the voice I needed to realize my purpose. It empowered me to fight against environmental racism and advocate for my community. Speech and debate is a gateway to service

. ARJUN BANERJEE Reservoir High School, MD 2022 NSDA National Student of the Year INSIDE Ready, Set, Speak! Preparing for a New Season Equity Commitments & DEI Resources 2022 Membership Survey Results Recruitment: A Work in Progress VOLUME 97 ISSUE 1 SEPT./OCT. 2022 A PUBLICATION OF THE NATIONAL SPEECH & DEBATE ASSOCIATION
SHOP THE NSDA STORE www.speechanddebate.org/store 1 inch TEAM SPIRIT SHOP TODAY!

UT National Institute in F o rensics

What does going to camp do for you?

University of Texas

National Institute in Forensics

Thank you to all of the students and coaches who joined us this past summer for the 29th Annual UT National Institute in Forensics. The UTNIF continues to be one of the largest and most accomplished summer forensic programs in the country. Just a few reasons why our students keep coming back year after year: incomparable education, superior resources, unmatched faculty, reasonable rates, tremendous alumni, and the background of the University of Texas at Austin.



Success in any academic activity is a product of excellent and immensely talented students, incredibly hard working coaches, supportive parents and schools, and an investment in time that may include summer opportunities. It is that understanding that makes UTNIF one of the largest comprehensive institutes in the country year after year, and why we have assembled some of the brightest forensic minds in 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.

Passion… Elegance… Excellence

We offer our most sincere congratulations to all of the students who qualified for and attended the 2022 NSDA National Speech & Debate Tournament. And to all of the students who were recognized with awards, congratulations on a task well done. To all of our alumni and to our incoming Longhorns, Hook ‘Em!

UTNIF Dept. of Communication Studies 1 University Station Mail Code A1105 Austin, Texas 78712-1105

Letter from the Publisher Board of Directors

Ready, set, speak! As you begin a new season of speech and debate, the entire process can seem like a race requiring physical and mental stamina. However, as the old adage gently reminds us, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. I hope our latest resources and stories offer practical guidance and meaningful inspiration as you set your goals and intentions for the year.

Inside, we affirm our equity commitments for the school year and beyond and offer a list of free DEI resources for tournaments. We also offer constructive takeaways from the 2022 NSDA coach membership assessment conducted in May, which will inform membership offerings and more.

This month’s Resource Roundup shares an excerpt on thesis construction from the newly updated INTERPRETATION OF LITERATURE textbook by Travis Kiger and Ganer Newman. The text now includes a unit on Program Oral Interpretation (POI) in addition to HI, DI, Duo, Prose, and Poetry. We also introduce a newly updated Tabroom.com feature that allows tournament administrators to invite judges with Tabroom.com accounts to sign up to be hired or volunteer as a judge for their tournament.

In our cover story feature, we speak with Arjun Banerjee, the 2022 NSDA National Student of the Year, whose boundless energy is focused on an important issue: environmental injustice. I also encourage you to check out the NSDA Alumni Community’s expanded offerings this fall, including our Alumni Webinar Series, quarterly newsletters, professional development opportunities, and more.

Embracing our theme even further, Hall of Fame member Karen Wilbanks recalls how her “accidental” foray into forensics became a precious gift. She shares her advice for setting team expectations while extending kindness and grace to oneself and others. Senior Sean Lee offers his experiences and tips for high school students who are interested in teaching and coaching debate at the middle school level. Erik Dominguez, former two-diamond coach and founder of Speak Up Stories, explains three mindsets to consider when recruiting new students to your program.

Remember, you are not alone—whether you’re building a team of five or 50, we are here to help!

P.S. Have you renewed your membership?


Pam Cady Wycoff President Minnesota

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

James W. Rye III Alabama

Be sure to visit www.speechanddebate.org/signup by the end of October to ensure you receive the next issue of Rostrum and all the resources and recognition NSDA membership provides!


Dr. Alan H. Coverstone District of Columbia

6600 Westown Parkway, Suite 270, West Des Moines, IA 50266 | Phone (920) 748-6206

J. Scott Wunn,

Amy Seidelman, Editor

Vicki Joss, Managing Editor

Annie Reisener, Associate Editor

Emily Bratton, Graphic Design Assistant

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 © 2022 by the National Speech & Debate Association (NSDA), is published five times per year (Sept., Nov., Feb., Apr., and Aug.) by the NSDA, 6600 Westown Parkway, Suite 270, West Des Moines, IA 50266. Business and Editorial Offices: NSDA, 6600 Westown Parkway, Suite 270, West Des Moines, IA 50266.

Accounting and Circulation Offices: 6600 Westown Parkway, Suite 270, West Des Moines, IA 50266. 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, 6600 Westown Parkway, Suite 270, West Des Moines, IA 50266.

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.

Dr. Mike Edmonds Colorado Sara Gibson District of Columbia

Anoop Mishra Alabama

Holly Williams Arizona

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


West Coast Publishing

Jump Start Preparation for the Year

Topic specific, quality arguments

Provide excellent models of argument & presentation

The high quality Policy-CX evidence your debaters need to jump start their research. Affirmatives, disadvantages, counterplans, kritiks, topicality arguments. Aff, Neg, Sept, Oct March and May supplements.

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

Public Forum debate: high quality evidence, topic analysis, and definitions for the NSDA Public Forum Topics. Includes multiple case contentions and rebuttals.

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.

Go to www.wcdebate.com View Samples of our Products Print and Online Order Forms Grow Speech and Debate! Check out: www.climbthemountain.us

Governance and Leadership

8 From


10 Equity Commitments for 2022-2023

13 Free DEI Resources for Tournaments

26 Recruitment: A Work in Progress by Erik Dominguez

32 2022 Membership Survey Results

40 Alumni Angles: NSDA Alumni Community

44 Team Profiles: NYC’s Middle School Quality Initiative Embraces Debate to Improve Literacy by Sean Lee

50 Great Communicator Debate Series: Will You Be Joining Us In 2023? by Christine Adams

54 USA Debate: Planning for Success in World Schools Debate by Vinayek Menon

56 Words from the Hall: Ready, Set, Speak! by Karen Wilbanks

Sean Lee

Leonidas Patterson



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and debate.

From the Cover 52 Student Spotlight: Arjun Banerjee
Your Board President
Recognition 60 Speaking and Service Award Winners 62 New Charter Chapters Inside 2 Letter from the Publisher 6 Topics 15 Membership Minute 16 News + Notes 18 Tabroom.com Tip 20 Resource Roundup 22 Middle School Focus by
64 Advocacy Letter by
: VOLUME 97 : ISSUE 1 : SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2022 In this Issue OUR MISSION Rostrum shares best practices, resources, and opportunities that connect, support, and inspire a diverse community of educators committed to
issue online!

The American Legion’s National Oratorical Contest

The first place finisher of The American Legion’s National Oratorical Contest is awarded a $25,000 scholarship, second place $22,500, and third place $20,000. 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 Extemporaneous Speaking at the National Speech & Debate Tournament!

• 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.

Emma Noble of Alabama placed first at the 2022 American Legion National Oratorical Contest
Watch examples of past winning orations online at www.legion.org/oratorical/videos.
LOOKING FOR COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIPS?  LOOK NO FURTHER.  Want to get involved? Follow these simple steps!


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

The PF Wording Committee creates a topic area with two resolutions for each topic cycle. All potential topics for the year are released in June. One week prior to the topic being released for that topic cycle, member students and one chapter adviser per active school will vote on which of the two topics they prefer. The topic that receives the most votes will be the topic for that cycle. The goal of this process is to increase transparency about topic selection and introduce new possibilities for coaches who teach debate in the classroom.

Aug. 1 - Aug. 7

Voting for the 2022 September/October PF Topic Occurs

August 8 2022 September/October PF Topic Announced

October 1 November/December PF Topic Announced

December 1 January PF Topic Announced

January 1 February PF Topic Announced

February 1 March PF Topic Announced

March 1 April PF Topic Announced

May 1 National Tournament PF Topic Announced

June 19 List of Potential PF Topic Areas Announced for 2023-2024

Lincoln-Douglas Topic Release Dates

The LD Wording Committee assigns a set of three topics to each bi-monthly topic cycle. All potential topics for the year are released in June. One week prior to the topic being released for that topic cycle, member students and one chapter adviser per active school will vote on which of the three topics they prefer. The topic that receives the most votes will be the topic for that cycle. The goal of this process is to increase transparency about topic selection and introduce new possibilities for coaches who teach debate in the classroom.

Aug. 1 - Aug. 7 Voting for the 2022 September/October LD Topic Occurs

August 8 2022 September/October LD Topic Announced

October 1 November/December LD Topic Announced

December 1 January/February LD Topic Announced

February 1 March/April LD Topic Announced

May 1 National Tournament LD Topic Announced

June 19 List of Potential LD Topics Announced for 2023-2024

2023–2024 Policy Debate Topic Voting

The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) handles selection of the annual topic. Each state organization, the National Speech & Debate Association (NSDA), the National Catholic Forensic League (NCFL), and the National Debate Coaches Association (NDCA) all have voting privileges.

• Topic synopsis released at www.speechanddebate.org/topics in September

• Preliminary voting on five topics occurs online in September and October

• Final voting on two topics occurs online in November and December

• Topic for 2023-2024 released by the NFHS in January 2023


Public Forum Debate

Resolved: The United States Federal Government should substantially increase its investment in high-speed rail.


Lincoln-Douglas Debate

Resolved: The United States ought to implement a single-payer universal healthcare system.

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


Policy Debate

Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its security cooperation with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in one or more of the following areas: artificial intelligence, biotechnology, cybersecurity.


Big Questions Debate

Resolved: Humans are primarily driven by self-interest.

The NSDA conducts an intentional and ongoing evaluation of the topics we encourage students to explore. Download a copy of the Topic Rubric Questions at www.speechanddebate.org/equity-topic-rubric.

A Commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice Robust Financial Aid Program Equal Access to Our Faculty Individualized Curriculum THE ISD IDIFFERENCE SD: FLORIDA We are the only speech & debate camp in the country with a full time nurse that is employed by ISD and lives in our dorms. Can't join us in person this summer? We offer a virtual speech & debate camp option at ISD: Online. ISD is home to numerous national champions and finalists across all events THE INSTITUTE FOR SPEECH AND DEBATE JOIN US IN 2023 TO EXPERIENCE THE ISD DIFFERENCE! I S P E E C H A N D D E B A T E . C O IM S P E E C H A N D D E B A T E . C O IM S P E E C H A N D D E B A T E . C O M Making Camp Fun for All ISD: CAROLINA ISD: ONLINE JUNE 24 - JULY 7 JULY 9 - JULY 22 JULY 9 - JULY 22 ISD: COACHES CLINIC JUNE 24 - JULY 7

From Your Board President

My father, a farmer, loved the land.

Although being a farmer was very hard work, watching him plant and care for his crops showed me that his life’s work was much more than a job. For him, it was a labor of love. The love he demonstrated for his profession reminds me of the many dedicated speech and debate educators and coaches in our field.

Although these two professions may seem quite different, they are not. Every year, as educators, you lay the groundwork for your students to grow and develop their confidence, talents, and skills!

So, as your year begins, perhaps some lessons I’ve learned in the field as a teacher, coach, and farm girl will plant some seeds of thought for you to consider this year as you prepare your students to get ready to speak on our playing field.

First, focus on developing a positive team culture. What’s working? What’s getting in the way of individual progress and team cohesion? The answers will vary with every program. However, I believe that asking and addressing those two questions can make a huge difference. Working together, sharing goals, treating each other with respect, and

helping one another are all life skills worth perpetuating. Working on your team’s culture motivates progress and lifts people up. As the saying goes, T.E.A.M. stands for Together Everyone Achieves More. (I encourage you to check out the article on page 26 for tips on building team culture and other recruitment strategies.)

Second, focus on empowering students to improve their skills. As a coach, I realized early on that my idea of what it means to “practice” was often quite different from a student’s conception of practicing. So, taking time to set up expectations and offer specific strategies for independent work is important. This could include strategies for time management, drills for delivery skills, guidelines for cutting scripts, and effective peer coaching guidelines. Hands down, the hardest yet most effective tool was getting students to record speeches, then watch and listen to their speech or rebuttal and constructively analyze what they saw and heard. Watching the recording without sound and/or listening to it without visual cues can help a student realize how powerful a message can be when verbal skills and nonverbal cues are in sync.

Finally, focus on prioritizing excellence over winning as a great way to maximize potential. It motivates students to strive for the highest standards. Speech and debate is rooted in competition, as is much of life. However, a student could give an outstanding performance and not win the round. That should not diminish their achievement. And, learning how to win with grace and lose with dignity is a life skill worth learning. After all, life’s real final rounds will continue long after high school has ended.

Recently, I received a letter from a student about a real final round he experienced years ago. I share it with you now as you begin your school year because it underscores the importance of what you do as coaches and why you are so important in the lives of your students.

As he explained: “It’s taken me a while to write this, but I want you to know that the speech program was a positive force of change in my brother’s life. The program and his experience meant so much to him. When I think about a ‘real final round’ moment, I’m certain it resonates differently with everyone. For me, my real final round occurred when I

learned my only brother died in a boating accident, and I quickly found myself writing his eulogy.

“Within a few days, I stood before a packed audience with another speech alumnus waiting to speak. We were both broken, but as I approached the lectern, I turned to him and whispered, ‘Stand and deliver.’ His spine straightened, he stepped to the microphone, and delivered his reading. Shortly after, I did the same.

“Speech taught me it was okay to be scared and uncertain but to trust in our abilities and what we had been taught, to stand and deliver as if it were the final round. Speech taught us to own that small space in which we stood and to feel safe. I could not have made it through that moment if it had not been for my time on the team. Speech was a transformational force in the life of my brother and for me—the impact was and is immeasurable.”

So, as you begin your school year, I thank each of you, as teachers and coaches, for the important and meaningful impact you will have on the lives of your students. My hope is that these lessons from the “field” will not only help your students to get ready to speak, but also help you to, “Get Ready. Set. TEACH!”

To be continued...


If you would like to connect with Pam, please email

Speech, Debate & Theatre Courses LEARNING CENTER


Coaching Speech and Debate

This brand new course is designed to help coaches train and develop students' creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication skills. These lessons guide coaches in developing their program's techniques for contest and event performances and competition. This course provides resources and tips to assist any speech and debate coach, such as:

• Steps to take for new speech and debate coaches

• Examples of speech and debate contests and events

• How to sustain success while coaching speech and debate

• General tips for practices, events, financing, and adjudicating

Adjudicating Speech and Debate

Designed to provide adjudicating guidelines, this course identifies the different types of speech and debate events and explains the cultural context necessary to adjudicate. Student performances are included to provide an opportunity to practice adjudicating real performances.

Speech and Debate Event Management

This course is designed to provide an overview of management and best practices for hosting speech and debate events. These events provide a setting outside of the classroom for students to showcase their speech and debate skills, creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication skills. As a contest, festival, or honor group manager, you serve a crucial role in creating a positive and efficient environment for student success. This course introduces and reinforces time tested guidelines and techniques that speech and debate event managers with any level of hosting experience can utilize to successfully manage interscholastic speech and debate events.

NFHS Learn.com | N FHS .org


Our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion stems from a philosophy that all members of our organization deserve the opportunity to participate in competitive speech and debate in ways that align with our mission.

This means that alongside the call to be stewards of our organization and embody our values, NSDA members deserve a caring and welcoming environment—one that fosters inclusion, affirms identity, celebrates lived experiences, and protects from harassment and discrimination. Our students deserve feedback in the spirit of culturally responsive pedagogy, while our coaches and judges deserve opportunities to grow both their programs and their craft.

Since 2017, the NSDA’s annual equity commitments have outlined specific, immediate steps to reinforce diversity, equity, and inclusion in our organization. This year’s commitments highlight our areas of focus for DEI during the school year—including new objectives to expand our work.

We’ve made great strides and take great pride in the work we’ve done, but we recognize the need to do more. Part of doing more means that we must identify new areas while also recognizing that our efforts toward previous commitments are not over.

This year’s equity commitments will focus on infrastructure and climate. Both areas serve as the foundation for corresponding initiatives that seek to strengthen our organizational/tournament practices and deliver on the promise of creating transformative opportunities in service to our students, coaches, and judges. Recognizing that some projects

will take longer than others, the commitments are triaged by short and long term.

Thank you for supporting our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. We hope you will continue to be partners in our efforts to make speech and debate a better activity!


The NSDA will work to reinforce opportunities for meaningful engagement and voice of our students and coaches.

The NSDA will develop student affinity groups designed to hear students’ perspectives on DEI and offer support.

The NSDA will partner with Coaches’ Caucuses to build a stronger infrastructure intended to raise their profiles and expand their reach.


+The NSDA will develop a culture of assessment to further measure the effectiveness of our DEI efforts.

The NSDA will reinforce DEI as a central focus in the strategic plan.

The NSDA will develop a tactical plan to inventory its DEI programs and resources as well as assess for needed areas of growth.

The NSDA will continue to enhance its efforts to prevent harassment and discrimination at district and national tournaments.

The NSDA will enhance its Belonging and Inclusion Station (formerly known as Equity Office) to further serve participants at NSDA-sponsored tournaments.


The NSDA will continue to strive for an equitable and representative judging pool at the National Tournament.

The NSDA will review its guidelines for determining diversity-enhancing judges and share data on their utilization at the National Tournament.

The NSDA will continue to require National Tournament judges to receive certification in cultural competency.

The NSDA will develop strategic goals to implement Belonging and Inclusion Stations (BIS) at the district tournament level.

10 ROSTRUM | SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2022 COMMUNITY Learn more on page 12



Speech & Debate Association

Core Values



+ CLIMATEThe NSDA will include belonging and stewardship alongside diversity, equity, and inclusion as key concepts in our organizational core documents.

The NSDA will draft and implement a stewardship statement.

The NSDA will design cultural competency training opportunities to help enhance our district qualifier and national tournaments.

The NSDA will assess and revise the cultural competency training required of all National Tournament judges.

The NSDA will seek data from its constituents to learn about the cultural climate of our district and national tournaments.

The NSDA will conduct a climate study to learn more about how students, coaches, and judges are experiencing speech and debate tournaments.



Work will begin on these commitments in 2022-2023 with anticipated completion within the year.

The NSDA will include belonging and stewardship alongside diversity, equity, and inclusion as key concepts in our organizational core documents.

The NSDA will develop strategic initiatives to implement and advance DEI efforts.

The NSDA will design cultural competency training opportunities to help enhance our district qualifier and national tournaments.

The NSDA will continue to strive for an equitable and representative judging pool at the National Tournament.

The NSDA will continue to enhance its efforts to prevent harassment and discrimination at our district and national tournaments.



Work will begin on these commitments in 20222023 but may not be fully accomplished at the end of the year.

The NSDA will develop a culture of assessment to further measure the effectiveness of our DEI efforts.

The NSDA will work to develop opportunities for student engagement and voice.

The NSDA will seek data from its constituents to learn about the cultural climate of our district and national tournaments.

(continued on next page)

+ +
• SERVICE National

In response to the 2021-2022 equity commitments, we…

Continued to use our DEI topic lens to review resources and topics: www.speechanddebate.org/ equity-topic-rubric.

Updated the inclusive tournament checklist and built the document into Tabroom.com messaging to tournament directors and district tournaments.

Created videos in celebration of Black History Month and Juneteenth

Created a short video series in collaboration with the Persons With Disabilities Coaches’ Caucus

Continued to hold meetings for Coaches’ Caucuses during spring 2022 and at the National Tournament.

Built Tabroom.com infrastructure to work toward a comprehensive judge-accreditation program and future development of cultural competence training.

Introduced the Springboard Series, which hosted 22 after-school events and a free online last-chance qualifier. 2,554 unique students and 303 schools participated.

Introduced the Keith West Memorial Fund and awarded a total of $15,500 to seven schools and an additional $6,000 to six students.

Provided approximately $500,000 to speech and debate programs through Big Questions subgrants and $100,000 through the The Tate Fund in 20212022.

Introduced the Activating Equity Award to be awarded in 2023.

Hired a full-time Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

(formerly known as Equity Office)

The NSDA Belonging and Inclusion Station (BIS) exists to address violations of the harassment and discrimination policy and provide a safe space for individuals who report harassment and discrimination incidents at NSDA-sponsored tournaments.

Scope: The BIS may serve as a resource for any student, coach, judge, or official participating at an NSDA-sponsored tournament (e.g., districts, Last-Chance Qualifier, National Tournament). Complaints may be filed if an individual feels as if an instance of harassment and/or discrimination has occurred.

Examples include:

Perceived discriminatory practice on the basis of (but not limited to) race/color, religion, ethnicity, national origin, gender, gender identity/expression, age, disability, sexual orientation, and/or veteran or military status.

Perceived retaliation, harassment, or intimidation due to an individual’s filing of a complaint or participating in an investigation regarding a violation of NSDA’s harassment and discrimination policies.

Stations will feature: Trained belonging and inclusion advocates Intake and resolution process Three-tiered course of action system

More information: Visit www.speechanddebate.org/bis Questions? Contact dei@speechanddebate.org

Dr. Paul Porter is the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the NSDA.

FREE DEI Resources for Tournaments

Join us in making speech and debate a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive activity.

Calendar of Cultural Observations


Use this calendar to respectfully plan your classroom and team activities.

Inclusive Tournament Checklist

www.speechanddebate.org/ inclusive-tournament-checklist/

Use this checklist as a starting point to measure your tournament’s inclusion efforts or plan for the future!

Restroom Best Practices

www.speechanddebate.org/ gender-neutral-restroom-best-practices/

Create a more meaningful, inclusive space for attendees with Caucus Recommended Gender Neutral Restroom Best Practices.

Gender Neutral Restroom Sign

www.speechanddebate.org/ gender-neutral-restroom-sign/

Download a printable Gender Neutral Restroom Sign.

Pronoun Usage Best Practices

www.speechanddebate.org/ pronoun-best-practices/

Correct pronoun usage is a crucial step for making the speech and debate community safer and more inclusive.

Tournament Invitation Templates

www.speechanddebate.org/ tournament-invitation-school-admins/

Download our templates for inviting school administrators to observe local speech and debate tournaments.

Belonging and Inclusion Station


(formerly known as Equity Office) Students need to feel tournaments are as safe and as equitable as possible.

Coaches’ Caucuses


Coaches’ caucuses are a great opportunity to network and join in important discussion and dialogue.

NATIONAL SPEECH & DEBATE ASSOCIATION • www.speechanddebate.org

Save time with teaching tools from experts.

Whether you’re just getting started or you’ve been coaching for decades, our grab-and-go Start Here series of lesson plans for middle and high school speech and debate have something for you! Use the full series in your class or practice, or borrow parts or activities to refresh your existing plans.


Your roadmap to introducing speech and debate events to students.
• Public Speaking • Public Forum • Lincoln-Douglas • Policy MIDDLE SCHOOL • Congress • Interp • Public Address • Public Forum
FREE with your NSDA Membership! CURRENT COLLECTIONS www.speechanddebate.org/ start-here


As we start a new school year, planning attendance at tournaments throughout the season is a crucial item on the “to do” list of most coaches. As you do so, and as you ask your students to work and prepare for competitions, please consider cultural observations that are often overlooked (especially those associated with faith traditions) and may have implications on student energy and focus.

If you or your students would like to note any cultural observation not listed on this calendar, please contact us at info@speechanddebate.org.

Additionally, please consider this resource on bringing rich, cultural content into your classroom—from Colorín Colorado, a bilingual educational service for educators and families: www.tinyurl.com/4s6awnur

Eli Woody serves as Membership and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Coordinator at the NSDA.

Calendar of Cultural Observations2022-2023 SCHOOL YEAR

● August 2022

*Aug 18-19: Janmashtami (Birth of LordKrishna), Hindu

● September 2022

Sept 25-27: Rosh Hashanah, Jewish

**Sept 26: Navratri/Dussehra begins,Hindu

● October 2022

○ Oct 4-5: Yom Kippur, Jewish

**Oct 5: Navratri/Dussehra ends, Hindu

*Oct 9-16: Sukkot/Feast of Tabernacles,Jewish

● February 2023

**Feb 18: Maha Shivaratri, Hindu

**Feb 28: Beginning of Lent,Christian Orthodox

**Feb 22: Ash Wednesday(beginning of Lent), Christian

● March 2023

*March 6-7: Purim, Jewish ○ **March 8: Holi, Hindu

○ **March 22: Ramadan begins, Islamic

**March 30: Rama Navami, Hindu

*Oct 16-18: Shemini Atzeret, Jewish

*Oct 17-18: Simchat Torah, Jewish

*Oct 24: Diwali, Hindu

● November 2022

**Nov 1-2: Dia De Los Muertos(Day of the Dead), Mexican

● December 2022

*Dec 18: Hanukkah begins, Jewish

*Dec 25: Christmas Day, Christian

*Dec 26: Hanukkah ends, Jewish

*Dec 26: Kwanzaa begins,Black/African-American

● January 2023

Jan 1: Kwanzaa ends, Black/African-American

Jan 9: Orthodox Christmas,Christian Orthodox

*Jan 22: Chinese New Year

● April 2023

**April 7: Good Friday, Christian

○ **April 5-13: Passover, Jewish

*April 9: Easter (end of Lent), Christian○ **April 14: Orthodox Good Friday,Christian Orthodox

○ *April 16: Orthodox Easter,Christian Orthodox

○ **April 18: Laylat al-Qadr, Islamic ○ April 21: Ramadan ends, Islamic ○ April 23: Day of Silence

● May 2023

**June 25-27: Shavuot, Jewish

● June 2023

○ June 19: Juneteenth, Black/African-American

● July 2023

*July 18-19: Al-Hijri (New Year), Islamic

* Indicates no specifically recommended accommodations.Do try to avoid scheduling important academic deadlines, events, or activities on this date. If planning an event, provide food accommodations as needed.

** Observation may include fasting or shorter periods of sleep. Please be mindful of those who observe and potentially lower energy levels.

Access the calendar online: www.tinyurl.com/4h9kjt5w



Check Out the New Online District

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

Join us in honoring all of the Hispanic and Latine students, coaches, alumni, and supporters who help make speech and debate possible. Find classroom posters, lesson plans, competition resources, and more on our website: www.speechanddebate.org/hispanic-heritage-month

Start Here: Lesson Plans

Our Start Here lesson plan collections are included with NSDA membership and feature all the instruction needed for students to master events! Visit www.speechanddebate.org/start-here to use them in full, borrow activities or assessments, or share them with students as a tool for peer coaching.

Read Recent Board Minutes

The minutes from the Board of Directors’ July Competition Rules meeting are available online: www.speechanddebate.org/ minutes-archive

Vote for the 2023-2024 Policy Resolution

Help us select the next Policy Debate topic! Member students and one chapter advisor per active school are eligible to vote. Voting ends Thursday, October 13 at 4:00 p.m. CT. To vote for topics, log in to your Account page (www.speechanddebate.org/account) and select “NSDA Voting” from the left side menu. Rank the topic areas 1 (best) through 5. The two areas receiving the lowest totals will be placed on the second ballot to select the 2023-2024 debate topic. Read a synoposis of the five proposed problem areas at www.speechanddebate.org/topics

We have introduced a new online district to open competition opportunities to teams with barriers to access due to religious practices, geography, or other conflicts. The online district’s competition will be online, and the district is open to any school that can demonstrate their school’s students are structurally unable to participate in competitions on Fridays and Saturdays. Schools that join this online district will be removed from their current district. To learn more, please email us at info@speechanddebate.org

Access Final Round Videos

Our final round videos are one of our most popular tools! Students and coaches alike can pick up on new trends, examine stylistic choices and speech structure, or just learn more about events. The archive is available to all members and dates back decades. To get started, visit www.speechanddebate.org/finalround-videos.

We’ve Moved! Office Address Change

Our business office is now located at National Speech & Debate Association, 6600 Westown Parkway, Suite 270, West Des Moines, IA 50266. Please update your records and use this address for all future correspondence and payments. Be sure to share this with anyone at your school who sends mail to our organization. Our email and phone remain the same: info@speechanddebate.org and (920) 748-6206

Q uestions? We’re here to help! Email info@speechanddebate.org or call (920) 748-6206 .

Speech and debate gave my voice a purpose.

www.speechanddebate.org DISCURSO Y DEBATE ME DIO UNA VOZ CON PROPÓSITO. RICARDO FLORES Americas High School, TX - Clase de 2017 2017 Estudiante del Año de NSDA y 2015 subcampéon de Dramatic Interpretation SOMOS DISCURSO Y DEBATE



This updated feature allows tournament administrators to invite judges with Tabroom.com accounts to sign up to be hired or volunteer as a judge for their tournament.

The purpose of the public judge signup feature is to streamline the process of adding hired judges to the tournament, collect necessary information from hires and volunteers, and communicate judge requirements to the people adjudicating your event.

Tournament Host Options

Tournament administrators can enable public judge signups on the Settings » Judges » Hires tab. Tournament hosts have a variety of customizable options. They can select when the signup period opens and closes, require judges who sign up to have a paradigm and/or phone number attached to their account, allow judges to identify as diversity-enhancing, and ask judges to enter school and entry conflicts as part of the sign up process. Additionally, tournament hosts can require judges to take a certification course, complete customized forms, ask them to sign up for particular judging shifts, and gather information about pools they are interested in judging.

Judges who sign up through this process are not added to the tournament’s judging pool until they are approved by

figure 1

a tournament administrator. Tournaments can access signups on a per judge category basis by navigating to Entries » Judges » select a judge pool » Public Signups (figure 1). Judges can be activated (approved) from this page. Note that judges are not automatically notified when you activate them, so make sure you reach out to hired/volunteer judges you accept so they are aware they are judging!

How Judges Sign Up

When a tournament has enabled public judge signups, navigating to the tournament’s public-facing site will show a Judge Signup tab (figure 2). Selecting this tab will enable judges with a Tabroom.com account to read customized tournament instructions and complete required forms created by the tournament host.

If enabled by tournament hosts, judges will also have the ability to sign up for available judging shifts, self-identify as diversity-enhancing, and enter school and competitor conflicts for the tournament. Judges may only use the public sign up option to sign up for one judge category as

Lauren Burdt serves as Director of Competition and Events at the NSDA.
To learn more about Tabroom.com features and support, visit docs.tabroom.com and support.tabroom.com

figure 2 figure 3

determined by the tournament host (e.g., Speech, LincolnDouglas, or Novice Debate). If a judge wants to be entered in multiple judge categories (e.g., LD and PF), they must reach out to the tournament director who can manually add them to additional categories.

Judges are not active in the tournament until a tournament administrator approves their sign up. Judges will know if their signup has been approved when their status in the upper right corner of the Signups tab changes from “Your signup HAS NOT YET been accepted” to “Your signup has been accepted” (figure 3). Please make sure you contact the tournament director for confirmation of hire.



This content is an excerpt from INTERPRETATION OF LITERATURE by Travis Kiger and Ganer Newman. The newly updated textbook is an exclusive benefit for NSDA member schools and covers HI, DI, POI, Duo, Prose, and Poetry. Access the complete text on our website.


Step 1: Make It PERSONAL. Step 2: Make It IMPACTFUL. Step 3: Make it MEANINGFUL.

Step 1: Make It PERSONAL

We think that any argument a student makes in any forensic performance should have personal meaning to that particular student. After all, a chief purpose of coaching forensics is to help students compose and present their own ideas, not represent the coach’s perspective. Increasingly, we are seeing students in final rounds of forensic events sharing painful, and occasionally even traumatic, personal details.

When developing ideas for a topic, we suggest drafting a general list of the things that interest you (not unlike a brainstorming activity for an English essay). Perhaps you are an athlete or a musician in a band. Maybe there is some intriguing aspect of your cultural identity you are particularly proud of that doesn’t get a lot of media attention. Perhaps there is a cultural practice you grew up with that you now consider to be problematic. Maybe you are interested in anime, or professional wrestling, or Dungeons and Dragons, or fashion, or video games, or magic—or turtles. Maybe you are passionate about politics, volunteerism, or community activism. Whatever your individual passion, we suggest beginning the thesis development process by drafting a list of these interests.

Step 2: Make It IMPACTFUL

You might stop at step one and simply commit to the first idea that comes to you, but we think an urgent need or demand is important to success in POI. For this reason,

COACHES’ NOTE: We believe that as individuals, we all should have complete control over how we perceive and communicate our past experiences, even difficult ones. The same holds for students. If a student wishes to share a personal experience with housing insecurity in a college essay, we believe the student should be able to make that decision for themselves. We also believe that students should have autonomy over their personal narratives in forensics. However, we believe it is an ethical imperative that coaches refrain from encouraging students to share personal information they do not wish to share with others. It is not our intention to suggest students should reveal personal information in exchange for competitive success. We plainly rebuke any effort from an educator to extract personal trauma from students to achieve some performative benefit. We believe coaches should be aware of the detrimental psychological impacts of reliving traumatic episodes on developing minds of children. Coaches, please coach with care and allow students to lead in choosing to explore their personal messages. The student’s personal interests, attitudes, and beliefs should drive the formation of a topic.

we suggest finding ways of communicating the impact of your topic. Once you have aggregated your list of personal interests, start looking around for news sources on each of the subjects. If you are interested in the school marching band, for example, look into some of the recent news on bands. How have bands changed during the pandemic?

We encourage students to view thesis development in a three-step process.

What issues are band members facing in the world today? You may come across a terrific feature news story that offers the contemporary problems, the root causes, and some of the solutions different organizations are attempting to employ to correct the problem. As you search for data to construct your program topic or thesis statement, you should be sure to save articles or selections that may be used later. This approach allows you to both search for data to back up your argumentation, but also perform a survey of available literature on any given subject.

question “What is the meaning I want the audience to make of this performance once I have delivered all of the pages in my program?” After you have drafted your list of personal interests and found strong research explaining some of the impactful problems involved in your area of interest, you should consider and write down what you think it all means and what you want the audience to think it all means.


• Step 1: Express your interest in history.

• Step 2: In researching, you discover your hometown was the site of a little discussed act of violence.

• Step 3: What is the meaning?

– I want the audience to learn about this hidden history.

– I want to honor the lives lost.

– I want the audience to donate to a fund dedicated to commemorating the event.

This inside out approach, where we generate topic areas based on our personal passions and then use research to fill in the argumentative gaps, helps us to generate a program thesis that maximizes the personal significance and still communicates the public exigence of the program. If building a POI is like building a house, a student’s personal passions serve as the foundation of the program. News and commentary help the student design the frame of the house, or the pillars of the theme or argument they are attempting to convey. In Step 1, the student begins the research process knowing that they have a personal interest in the program. In Step 2, the student conducts research to uncover the ways in which their personal passion overlaps with the public’s interest now and in the future.

Step 3: Make It MEANINGFUL

This is typically the step where you develop what you would like the audience to ultimately DO once they have experienced your performance. Do you want the audience to think about the issue in a new way? Do you want the audience to engage in some type of action to improve the situation? Do you want the audience to change the way they conduct themselves in the future? Perhaps you would like to have the audience remember a historical figure or get exposed to some hidden history. Whatever it is, we think you should ask yourself the

– I want to interrogate why this history is hidden from students like me.

– I want to explain what it means to me to learn about my past.

– I see history repeating itself today, and I want to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Taken together, these steps allow you to generate topics that are personally salient, have impacts that appeal to a broader audience, and determine a creative direction for the performance that will ultimately guide the rest of the literature search process. Upon completion of these three steps, you should craft the first draft of the thesis statement or topic sentence. We suggest forming an initial topic sentence following this approach. Once you have collected all the literature necessary to construct the program, you can return to the thesis statement, making alterations as needed based on the results of the literature search.

If building a POI is like building a house, a student’s personal passions serve as the foundation of the program.


T ips for High School Students Teaching Debate at the Middle School Level

After completing two years of middle school Public Forum with an outside-of-school program, I started high school only 10 minutes away. I found myself wanting to expand my participation in debate beyond just competing— after all, the skills I had mastered in seventh and eighth grade had allowed me to thoroughly explore a range of academic interests and empowered me to become a more confident and outspoken student.

My middle school lacked a debate program (hence, why I had debated independently), but I didn’t know where to start. How would I go about helping students at the Elisabeth Morrow School learn how to debate?

Fortunately, the opportunity soon arrived. I eagerly joined and became a founding member of a local organization known as the Bergen County Middle

School Debate League (BCMSDL), a league of high school debaters designing debate and public speaking curriculum and reaching out to middle schools in our county offering free after-school courses. I was immediately assigned to teach at my middle school once a week after school due to my proximity and familiarity with teachers, administration members, and even a few of the students. I began teaching a range of grade levels, from fifth to eighth grade, throughout the fall and winter of 2019 and into the pandemic.

Here are a few things I learned from that experience.

1 Coaching debate is an entirely different skill set from actually debating, and you need to practice teaching and communicating information to others—

especially information that is as dense and jargon-filled as the technicalities of debate topics and strategies. My experience teaching middle schoolers greatly prepared me for leadership roles I later took on my own team, where I taught middle and high school novices both at my school and a school next to us.

advice from Sean about starting a student-led team,


Planning ahead is an important skill, especially when it comes to curriculum. Designing a curriculum to teach locally is often very similar to exercises you’ll complete on your own team as you take on more responsibilities. Whether you’re coaching novices or practicing speeches and drilling with your team, you should have a structure to the way you teach and improve.

3 Teaching younger students is a great way to give back to your own community. It’s

always inspiring seeing faces light up whenever something clicks in their head or their looks of confidence after giving a great speech in front of their classmates. Speech and debate gave me so many important skills that I use daily, whether it be in school or everyday interactions with others. It’s just as important to pass these skills along to a younger generation of aspirational youth as it is to use them in our own lives.

The mentor-mentee relationships that I first forged through this experience are something I still seek to replicate on my own team when approaching novices and teammates. While it might seem one-sided at times, you also gain a lot from teaching and giving advice to others. As you observe others, it offers points for self-reflection and understanding of how you can improve yourself.

Coaches, share this guide with your students!
For more
visit www.speechanddebate.org/student-team-starter-guide. 22 ROSTRUM SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2022 MIDDLE SCHOOL FOCUS


Find out if there are any local organizations or institutions that would be interested in a program for teaching debate, both on the middle and high school level. Teaching at the middle school level is often easier, since middle schoolers usually have more time available. This can include your local middle school, library, or place of worship, just to name a few. If an organization already teaches debate locally, you can go right ahead and join that. If not, you can always take the initiative and start one yourself with members of your team.

• PRO TIP: There are several ways to convince people that debate is a worthwhile investment (especially if you’re providing the class for free!). You can draw from your own experience, or you can visit the NSDA’s Advocacy web page at speechanddebate.org/ advocacy, which gives clear talking points in convincing administrators to invest in debate.

2 Design a curriculum.

Decide what you want to focus on—that can range from a public speaking focus,

an argumentation and debate focus, a mix between the two, or whatever else you think might be fit for your local audience. You can choose to teach a specific event— for example, I’ve taught a mix of Parliamentary and Public Forum Debate, two of the easiest events to teach students who are completely new to debate.

• PRO TIPS: Start with what you know. You can draw ideas for your curriculum from your own experiences or established resources such as the NSDA’s guide on how to coach debate. The BCMSDL would often hold calls to brainstorm the best public speaking or argumentation techniques that we had learned ourselves in our own debate careers and organize the information in an accessible manner.

• Make sure your curriculum stretches across a certain time period. Usually, a teaching session will range from 45 minutes to an hour—even an hour and a half. Your curriculum can always change in pace, but make sure you split up different concepts and ideas into different lessons to make them easier to digest.

• Try to figure out who your audience is ahead of time. Teaching fourth and fifth graders how to debate is completely different from teaching seventh and eighth graders—which is also really different from teaching high school novices. Make sure your language is appropriate and the information isn’t too dense or too easy to understand for your age group.

3 Practice some basic teaching skills, including icebreakers, picking up on cues from your audience, calling on equal parts of the room, projecting your voice, etc. You want to have a strong presence in the room you’re teaching, but you also want to be relatable and kind to your students. This also goes for your own team—these

are extremely useful skills when it comes to recruiting and teaching new members.

This is a pretty basic guide to getting started with teaching debate, but I hope this piqued your interest in doing so. Teaching debate is an extremely fulfilling experience, and you can really see the change that you inspire in your own students—their fluency when talking, their methodical approach to research, and the quality of their speaking. You’d be impressed by how excited people get when they first enter the world of debate. Speech and debate truly gives people the voice they often didn’t realize they had before, and you can be the agent to uncovering that power with your involvement. I love teaching debate, and I hope you enjoy it, too.

If you’ve had or recently gained an interest in coaching, here are some helpful ways to get started.
Sean Lee (above with his middle school squad from Elisabeth Morrow School) is a senior at Horace Mann School in New York. He currently serves as an intern for the NSDA.

... for unlocking SUPER POWERS in students!



Speech and debate has given me the confidence to speak to others boldly and kindly. In interviews, debates, discussions, and everything in between, speech and debate has provided me the ability to effectively communicate—and listen—in a world that needs it more than ever.”

H elp more students unleash their potential by making your tax deductible gift online! w ww.speechanddebate.org/donate

Visit www.speechanddebate.org/aaa-insignia for more information or to place an order. ACADEMIC ALL AMERICAN AWARD COMMEMORATION Only the top two percent of National Speech & Debate Association member students receive the Academic All American Award. Order exclusive insignia to celebrate this remarkable achievement! ACADEMIC ALL AMERICAN PIN $18.99 ACADEMIC ALL AMERICAN CERTIFICATE $10.00 ACADEMIC ALL AMERICAN PERPETUAL PLAQUE $92.00


Idon’t know if it was ignorance or arrogance. Still, something made me confront all six-footplus former Arizona State University football player, coach, educator, and then principal of Desert Vista High School during my first week of teaching.

“Dr. Joe, let’s talk,” I commanded him.

“Okay...” he replied with appropriate apprehension.

“Listen, I need you to help me change something on this campus, and I need it to happen right away. We need to change the language because, as you know, language matters. We are not the speech and debate club. We are the speech and debate team.”

Patience is not something I had in my first year of teaching and coaching; it was one of my greatest strengths and weaknesses as a coach.

In the coming months, this team mindset grew our roster from eight to nearly 58. The next year we pushed 100. The following year, our opening meetings had to be hosted in the auditorium, and we established processes of auditions and cuts because, truth be told, we were maxed out on our roster.

Recruiting is both a science and an art.


He paused. I could sense a slight annoyance at having to deal with THIS conversation first thing in the morning; certainly, there were bigger priorities in a school of 3,000+ students. He simply told me in his melodic and friendly (but firm) voice: “I understand. But you need to understand that might take time. We haven’t had a culture of a team on speech and debate. I know you are here to change that. Remember to be patient with the process.”

There are various strategies, including articles (and yes, even one I have written in the past, available at tinyurl.com/4uksb3te) that give you tangible tools and steps to bring people on to the team.

This article aims to explain the mindsets that bring students—the right type of students—through your doors with little to no effort. Yes, you absolutely should follow many of the previously stated strategies. But these mindsets create a culture of learning and growing that bring active and motivated competitors to your roster.



This is a team, not a club.

This may seem like a minor language shift, but it is significant. A club implies enrichment. A club implies general interest. If your goal is to support students with their communication skills, run a speech and debate club. Every student will benefit from the many speech and debate experiences you may have.

However, students want to be part of something greater. They want to achieve beyond what others think is possible. They want a shared community with a common goal. A club’s goal is to learn. That’s great! But learning, unfortunately, doesn’t always motivate

students because there is little to nothing at stake.

Being part of a TEAM creates goals, structures, accountability, and community. If I am part of the speech and debate team, I am more likely to push through the resistance I may have for any work I need to do if others depend on me. I am much more likely to come to the practice if I know there will be people there who will notice (and miss me) if I don’t show up. And, when students see the tangible goals and the steps to meet those goals, not just for themselves but for others, they will not only consistently show up, but they will also bring their friends.

2 Establish systems and processes—and keep them simple.

There is nothing easy about running a team. Speech and debate is a complex activity with endless approaches. Some students don’t stay past the first week because we overcomplicate the activity and how they are introduced to it. Many students, especially in my first year, left because I was disorganized and let too many things fall through the cracks. You leave money on the table when you run a business that drops the details. When you run a team that drops the details, you leave students feeling unseen and unsupported.

Have clear expectations and schedules for novice training, daily and weekly practices, tournament prep, and logistics management (such as tournament fees, equipment checkout, and signups for coaching sessions). Make the processes clear, concise, and simple so any incoming students already overwhelmed by their new school and new class schedule feel safe in the context of your team.

This requires a lot of trial and error, process improvements, and patience both on your end and the

students’ end. Inform them of their goal and get their buy-in and support. Remind them that speech and debate is a training ground for the rest of their lives. This is a chance for them to invest and experience in watching something grow that they co-create.

3 Show, don’t tell.

The final mindset in recruiting for a team is to show, not tell, how great it is to be part of a team. There are many ways to do this.

Get team T-shirts. We would always wear team shirts on Wednesdays before a tournament. The entire campus then got used to recognizing when a big speech and debate tournament was going to happen—AND, because they saw their classmates wearing the shirts, they knew who to talk to if they were interested in joining.

Create countdowns to tournaments. We requested and got a designated space for a bulletin board to post a countdown to the next tournament. Once technology became more available, we requested and got space on the school website and other video announcements.


Have a consistent social media presence. Different districts and schools have their own rules regarding social media, but most allow teams to have them. If your district allows you, post regularly about practices, events, and opportunities. Again, SHOW the team’s culture.

Host a W.I.P. night. W.I.P. stands for “Works In Progress.” Every Wednesday before a tournament, we would host a team dinner after our standard practice. Around 5:00 p.m., our students would file into the cafeteria, where our parent boosters would provide a full-spread meal. (Bonus: this is a great way to involve parents who are not comfortable judging!)

Students would eat together to meet different teammates, usually in assigned seats.

As soon as everyone had their food, we would have teachers and community members give a 20-minute talk on a topic of their choice. Topics included mindsets, learning, and resilience— whatever way they chose to inspire students was up to them. (This is a great way to involve teachers and community members with your team!)

After dinner and an inspirational talk, we would transition to the auditorium for our W.I.P. performances. Certain students were

selected ahead of time to perform their speeches or portions of their debate in front of the entire team. After each performance, a coach would facilitate two comments about what worked and two comments about what didn’t work in their performance.

The benefits were multifaceted. Team members got to observe performances from their friends they wouldn’t normally see. Students who performed at W.I.P. got to experience the high-stress, high-pressure environment that usually mirrors a final round. And coaches got to see their students perform at their best. It was no surprise that those who performed at W.I.P. usually went on to perform better than they ever have at tournaments.

And here’s the recruiting twist: ask your current

students to invite their friends. These friends get dinner/snacks, an inspirational message, and an eclectic and authentic example of what it means to perform at a speech and debate tournament. At worst, they will have had a good experience they can talk about with their friends. At best, they will see themselves as part of the team. You will have shown them, not told them, what it is like.

Ready, set, recruit! You can read all of the marketing and recruiting articles and textbooks in the world, and I recommend that you do; there is great wisdom in understanding what brings people to a program. However, there is nothing that recruits better than having a well-

run program with clear and high expectations whose first priority is to serve and support the community. When you run a team—a true, organized, goalcentered team—students can’t help but talk about what they learn, what they experience, and how much fun they have. That’s what brings people into your opening meetings year after year. That’s what brings students—the right ones— the ones who are ready to do the work and be part of a team—to your roster every year. That experience is what sets you apart from clubs, and brings people to your team.

Erik Dominguez is a former two-diamond coach. He is now a professional speaker and trainer and the founder of Speak Up Stories.

ADDITIONAL INSIGHTS W.I.P. (or “Works in Progress”) events and culture can be challenging to create. Don’t expect them to run smoothly or successfully the first few times. Here are some potential obstacles and opportunities.

• Financial Constraints – Not every team or booster club has the resources to feed the entire team. You can offer a potluck meal, potluck snacks, or eliminate the meal, start your after-school practice with the motivational speaker, and go right into W.I.P. The intention is to form a community in whatever way works best for you.

• Student Resistance – It is more nerve-wracking to perform in front of your peers and coaches than what may seem like anonymous audience members. You may have students resist you about performing in front of the team. Remind them that this is training for final round stress. If they can perform in front of this crowd, they can perform in front of any crowd.

• Finding Speakers – Sometimes, it will be difficult to find speakers on campus who are willing to speak. Keep connected with every staff member and remember that you are a speech coach! You can guide them in how they get to deliver the message. Don’t confine your speakers to just teachers. Extend invitations to custodial, security, and district office staff. Sending an invitation to the superintendent, even if their schedule does not allow, will keep you top of mind for them!


Since 1925, the National Speech & Debate Association (NSDA) has been the authority on public speaking and debate in the United States. The NSDA works to create a platform for youth voices from around the globe, culminating in the National Speech & Debate Tournament, the pinnacle of public speaking. Learn more at www.speechanddebate.org



Membership Survey Results

Last April, the NSDA conducted a coach membership assessment, the results of which will inform membership offerings and more. This survey 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 5,838 eligible coach members and received 776 complete responses, 654 of whom were high school advisors, 38 of whom were middle school advisors, and the remainder of whom were coaches but not advisors.

The results were analyzed and presented to the NSDA by an independent third party.

The information provided here is based on the advisor responses to the survey. Results are specific to the high school survey unless otherwise indicated.

Responding Schools

Demographic participation was spread across regions. 60% of high school respondents were from schools with more than 1,060 students, with 14% being

Your time and thoughts are appreciated

from schools with fewer than 464 students. The organization’s last three membership surveys show little correlation between school size and a member’s likelihood to renew or recommend the NSDA.

Suburban and city schools each counted for close to a third of high school respondents, with rural and town schools being closer to 15% of the survey respondents each.

In terms of team size, the team sizes representing the most responses were 5-16 students (29.2% of responses) and 17-36 students (30.7%






of responses). Close to another 20% of responses represented teams of 37-75 students, and 9.8% represented teams of 76 or more. Teams with zero students and 1-4 students each were 5% of responses.

Information on Title I eligibility is not available for all schools, but based on available data, the responses were fairly evenly split between Title I eligible schools (38.2% of responses) and not eligible schools (36% of responses). The remainder of schools were missing data.

Finally, 71.6% of responding advisors represent a school that attended the NSDA district tournament last year, and 57.5% represent a school that attended the National Tournament.

The primary objectives of the survey are to:

X Understand why major segments of members belong and how loyal they feel;

X Determine which member benefits are being underutilized; and

X Measure the performance of the NSDA’s services and programs.

Likelihood to Recommend or Renew

The survey asked respondents how likely they were to recommend the NSDA. 87.3% of respondents report being extremely or very likely to recommend, which puts the NSDA in the typical association benchmark goal of 85% to 95%.





0 1-4 5-16 17-36 37-75 76+
FIG. 1 –
PERCENT (%) 0 10 20 30 2,100+ STUDENTS 1,060 – 2,099 STUDENTS 465 – 1,059 STUDENTS 220 – 464 STUDENTS 105 – 219 STUDENTS 0 – 104 STUDENTS
2 –

The survey also asked respondents how likely they were to renew. 94.8% of respondents were extremely or very likely to renew, which is also within the benchmark for associations. This indicates that the survey audience is more likely to renew than the entire universe of school advisors, as NSDA school renewal rates are typically closer to 86% per year.


In this assessment, members are classified as either loyal, neutral, or vulnerable based on their three attributes:

X A member’s likelihood to recommend Association membership to others;


















X A member’s likelihood to renew their Association membership; and

X How valuable the member perceives membership in the Association to be.

In addition to likelihood to recommend and renew, a member’s rating of the value of membership is a factor in the loyalty rating. This year, membership value

demonstrated a marked improvement with 71% of high school advisors rating it as excellent or very good (figure 3).

With a 70.7% loyal rating and a 7.6% vulnerable rating for high school advisors, the loyalty profile for NSDA members is in the range of a typical membership association (i.e., percentage of loyal members over 50% and

the percentage of vulnerable members below 15%). In our survey, Title I eligible schools are slightly more likely to be considered loyal.

NSDA Services

As an addition to the survey this year, we asked members to rate the performance of several NSDA sponsored services including Tabroom.com, NSDA Campus, NSDA

10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80%













Extemp Questions, and the NSDA’s Store and Trophy Shop. Tabroom. com scored above the 70% benchmark goal for both hosting (75.2%) and participating (70.4%) in a tournament. NSDA Campus had slightly lower ratings for hosting (68.3%) and participating (64.5%). The remaining services also scored above the 70% benchmark (figure 4).

Membership Value

There are two components of membership value: performance and impact or importance.

X Performance is how satisfactorily an item is meeting the needs and desires of a member.

X Impact is how significant or relevant current performance is on the overall value a member places on membership.

This year’s survey analysis compared 2022 benefit performance ratings to 2019 and 2021 ratings (figure 5). Most benefits demonstrated an increase in performance rating for 2022, with the exception of professional

development and community information. Honor Society membership including points and recognition showed the largest increase.

In general, performance of membership benefits tends to improve as team size increases (figure 6), but there are some notable exceptions. The NSDA’s instructional resources, professional development, and student scholarships are rated more highly by advisors representing no competing students or 1-4


students, suggesting that these respondents may seek out and use those resources more, or at least that they see more value in what’s available.

Although knowing which benefits rate highest is useful information on its own, this survey also compares the performance rating 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), final round performances, and access to districts and Nationals are the highest performing benefits, this survey also demonstrates that any improvement to our diversity, equity, and inclusion resources

(asked about for the first time on this year’s survey) as well as instructional resources could directly improve the NSDA’s overall membership value for these respondents. This is because the ratings members provided on those items correlate closely with their overall rating of membership value, and being below the 70% benchmark indicated by the yellow portion of the box, they also show room for growth (figure 7).

The survey also asked members to rate the importance of benefits within the Honor Society aspect of membership specifically. Studentcentric benefits including points tracking, membership certificates and degree seals, eligibility for the Academic All American awards, and the ability to earn service points and recognition all performed well, with the highest rating going to points tracking followed closely by student membership materials.

Tournament Participation

This year, the NSDA analyzed our results to see what differences exist between member schools that participate in NSDA

FIG. 7 – DRIVERS OF THE VALUE OF MEMBERSHIP Community information (e.g., member publications, social media, etc.) Diversity, equity, and inclusion resources (also available to non-members) Opportunity to vote on nationally-determined debate topics Access to district and national tournaments Final round performances Honor Society membership (points and recognition) Instructional resources 8 – PERFORMANCE OF HONOR SOCIETY BENEFITS COMPARED TO 2019

sponsored events versus those that don’t.

Of our respondents, 13.4% reported attending their state tournament or festival but no national events, including NSDA events. 89.4% of our respondents attend a state tournament and 9.7% attend a festival (figure 9) Interestingly, the NSDA loyalty rating among schools that participate at state but do not engage with the well-known high school events (including ours) is 75%, or higher than the overall loyalty rating for high school advisors. These schools also have a higher share of smaller schools than the overall universe of NSDA respondents (figure 10).

Participants were also surveyed about their participation in the Springboard Series, the NSDA’s series of free, online opportunities including after-school scrimmages and two weekend tournaments presented by The Julia Burke Foundation. Member coaches, including prior attendees and those who hadn’t heard about the Springboard Series, provided valuable feedback about the events, which continue this school year. Schools
















attending a Springboard event were 50% more likely to have had a student participate in the 2021 National Tournament than schools that didn’t attend a Springboard event, demonstrating a higher tendency to engage with NSDA

competition opportunities on the whole (figure 11)

Middle School

Though only 38 middle school advisors completed the survey, it is worth noting that there was a higher percentage

of loyal respondents at the middle school level this year—91.7% of respondents rate as loyal. This is a dramatic change from 2021, as the percent of vulnerable responses decreased from 28.6% in 2021 to just 2.8% this year. While

40% 60% 80%
20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90%
20% 40% 60% 80% ROSTRUM | SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2022 37


www.speechanddebate.org/ start-here

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.

Resource Feedback

This year, we will continue to deliver the quality recurring monthly practice tools members expect while focusing on improving our instructional resources. We will specifically improve the offerings of and marketing for the Start Here series, which features grab-and-go lesson plans for middle and high school students. Awareness is a barrier for the series, with 38% of

respondents reporting they have not heard of the collection, and 40% reporting they have heard of it but not used it. The survey indicates that those who try the series like it, with positive ratings for:

X Educational standards (97.7%)

X Quality (95.5%)

X Usefulness to your team (93.2%)

X Ease of access (92.6%)

By focusing our efforts on building the collection

and increasing awareness, we expect to see improvement in ratings for instructional resources and the overall rating of the value of membership. We will also continue to expand our offerings for self-guided learning so that students can build their skills independently and maximize their membership.

www.speechanddebate.org/ self-guided-student-learning this is encouraging and a positive trend, the small sample achieved in the survey makes the result less affirming. Honor Society membership and access to topic voting surfaced as attributes we can continue to improve to increase an advisor’s perception of value at the middle school level. Middle school advisors were also more likely to report having attended a Springboard Series event than those at the high school level.

Amy Seidelman is the Assistant Executive Director for the NSDA. Annie Reisener is the Director of Membership for the NSDA. Illustrations designed by stories / Freepik.

Campus with Observers

Purchase Campus with Observers rooms for divisions where you wish to permit coaches to observe rounds. Coaches may designate observers on their school tournament dashboard on a per-entry basis. Those observers can then enter rooms from the tournament dashboard.

• Due to technical limits on the number of participants in NSDA Campus rooms, Campus with Observers is limited to two observers per entry in Debate events or one observer per entry in IE/Speech events. Campus with Observers cannot work with Congress.

• An event or division using Campus with Observers must do so for the entire tournament—e.g., it cannot be used for elimination rounds only, etc. Campus with Observers rooms are $12 per room per day.

Host tournaments using either Tabroom.com or SpeechWire OUR PRIORITIES: • Participant security • Low-cost option • Simple, integrated user experience An online platform from the NSDA NSDA Campus is an online platform offering team practice space and tournament hosting space at a low cost. PER ROOM, PER DAY www.speechanddebate.org/nsda-campus VISIT: To date, NSDA Campus has provided more than 100,000 rooms!

NSDA Alumni Community

Coaches, share this article with your seniors!

Alumni are an integral part of the speech and debate community. Graduating high school doesn’t signal the end of your relationship with speech and debate or the benefits available to you. Where students, and sometimes coaches, are finding their way and figuring it out, alumni have the knowledge and inside scoop of having gone before and can share that knowledge by staying connected.

Who Is Considered a Speech and Debate Alum?

Our alumni membership is for anyone who participated in speech and debate whether during middle school, high school, or college. If you have ever felt the nerves of anticipation before giving a speech or the victory of breaking to the next round, once you have graduated high school (graduating seniors, this includes you!), you are able to claim your alumni membership.

What We Offer

We kicked off our alumni membership program in January 2022 by providing professional development opportunities, ideas on how to get involved in speech and debate, and creative ways to give back. Alumni members also have access to our Alumni Webinar Series. So far this year, we have learned how to build a career you love, how to transform your speaking skills into a full-time career, and just how far speech and debate can take you with guest speaker and Facebook whistleblower, Frances Haugen.

We provide our alumni members with quarterly newsletters, volunteer opportunities, ways to “Share Your Story” to inspire the next generation of students, and connections through our LinkedIn page at www.linkedin.com/company/ national-speech-and-debate-association

What’s Coming Up

One of the best aspects of being part of our alumni community is the network that comes with it. The NSDA alumni network connects you with a number of professional contacts, and with your help, we will build those connections in the coming years.

Future Alumni Benefits

• Job Board – We want to connect alumni who are looking for employees with those who are seeking employment.

• Volunteer Opportunities – We are excited our community wants to give back! Expect even more volunteer opportunities coming soon.

• Networking Events – We are developing ways in which our alumni can meet, network, and connect, whether virtually or in person.

• Resource Hub – What good are resources if you don’t know where to find them? Webinar recordings, judging opportunities, professional development, “in the news,” and more will be easily accessible in the coming year.

How You Can Give Back Now

An essential part of being an alum is finding ways to give back. Many believe that giving back only includes monetary donations, but there is much more you can do.

Small acts of showing support for the speech and debate community are just as important. Sharing our social media posts that you find important, exciting, or enlightening, writing letters of support to administrators, mentoring new coaches, or making sure we have your up-to-date contact information are all ways you can help build our community.

As an alum, you know firsthand the valuable life lessons that come from participating in speech and debate. Using that knowledge and paying it forward is imperative not only for students but for the future of speech and debate.

You’re in Good Company!

Check out our newly updated Notable Alumni page to learn who has risen to the pinnacle of their field.


Jessica Kincannon serves as Content Specialist at the NSDA.
Help your seniors stay connected and involved in speech and debate long after graduation. Encourage them to claim their alumni membership today! CLAIM YOUR FREE ALUMNI MEMBERSHIP FOLLOW US ON LINKEDIN: www.linkedin.com/company/national-speech-and-debate-association WANT TO JOIN THE CONVERSATION WITH OTHER ALUMNI? LEARN MORE www.speechanddebate.org/alumni


Keith West lived with compassion and care as cornerstone characteristics of his personality and dedicated his life to coaching and teaching youth in the ways of argumentation and debate. To honor his life and legacy, Keith’s family and friends have established the Keith West Memorial School Grant. This grant will provide one $5,000 grant and two $2,500 grants in the fall of 2022.

Through the Keith West Memorial Fund School Grant, we are able to support teams who are currently under-resourced in their pursuit of speech and debate.

Does your speech and debate team have strong potential but a significant lack of financial resources? APPLY TODAY! THE KEITH WEST MEMORIAL FUND APPLY TODAY! www.speechanddebate.org/keith-west-memorial-fund $5,000 GRANT ONE $2,500 GRANTS TWO SEPTEMBER 30 APPLICATION DEADLINE
MASTER OF FINE ARTS IN DEBATE & COMMUNICATION -Bring your coaching to the next level You’ll take classes in coaching, team administration, and research -Learn from coaches across the country We employ coaches in all formats to teach individual classes in their area of expertise -Classes are fully online Earn your degree without leaving your team -Designed around your coaching schedule Take as many or as few classes a semester as fit your schedule -Advance your career Many schools offer stipends for faculty who earn advanced degrees The only terminal degree designed exclusively for debate coaches THE UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS AT MONTICELLO NOW ENROLLING FOR SPRING 2023

New York City’s Middle School Quality Initiative Embraces Debate to Improve Literacy

In 2011, the Middle School Quality Initiative (MSQI) was launched by the Department of Education in New York City. The MSQI, which primarily serves students in Title I and underserved schools, was part of a larger effort to improve literacy skills and achievement among middle school students.

“The ultimate goal of the program is to graduate middle school students reading at or above grade level,” says Nicholas Kuroly, Director of Debate and Literacy Coach at the MSQI.

The decision to create a debate program for these schools was born out of MSQI instructional resources. One program that MSQI uses to promote literacy is the Word Generation program, which Kuroly describes as

“an academic vocabulary curriculum where students engage in small format debates as part of the program.”

After noticing high levels of student engagement with classroom debates through Word Generation, a decision was made to expand the program to a larger, more competitive debate league that gave students access to more serious debate opportunities, Kuroly explains.

Ben Honoroff, principal at Middle School 50 (MS 50) in Brooklyn and founder of the MSQI debate program, saw an opportunity for debate to connect the 90 schools already participating in Word Generation. “As a former debate coach, I saw an opportunity where if 90 schools are doing the same curriculum all centered around high-interest debates, we could have them prepare for a debate tournament,” he says. “We chose Public Forum as the

format because it was probably the easiest one to teach and also the one that was most aligned to the debate topics that were part of the Word Generation curriculum, and we made tournaments that aligned with where the curriculum would be.”

The league started in 2013 with about six schools, and has quickly grown to around 50 schools and hundreds of students around the city, Honoroff says.

Students from Ann Mersereau Middle School in the Bronx (photo courtesy of Rafael Ossorio)



The New York City Urban Debate League (UDL) has been crucial to the creation and maintenance of the MSQI debate program. “Back in the beginning, some members of the MSQI team reached out to the Urban Debate League to see how they could support us in developing the league, and we’ve been partners with them ever since,” Kuroly says.

In addition to the lesson plans and curriculum that the MSQI provides for coaches, the UDL has provided weekly online support for coaches to deepen their own understanding of debate and help to organize practices. Students have practices with their individual coaches at schools once or twice a week in preparation for debate tournaments, but the UDL also provides some workshops to students directly.

Additionally, the UDL has helped tabulate, organize, and administer tournaments for students. The UDL has been an easy access point for schools to enter the world of competitive debate, as many of them will join the New York City UDL or other debate leagues to participate in state and national competitions in addition to tournaments hosted by the MSQI, Honoroff says.


The league works toward opening access to debate resources for students who historically have not had it, which means addressing financial barriers that schools might traditionally face when attempting to start debate programs.

“Schools don’t pay to join our league. We provide lesson plans and curriculum to teachers who might not have the time to create them on

their own, and we cover the cost of transportation to get to our tournaments. We try to identify what all of the barriers might be for students to participate in the competitive debate league, and we try our best to alleviate any of those barriers,” Kuroly explains. “We also want to emphasize that debate is for everyone—our studies have shown that some of our students who were reading at the lowest levels are making the most growth because they are part of the program, and that’s something maybe schools wouldn’t traditionally think about.”

The MSQI debate program has encouraged schools to see a broader spectrum of potential students who can truly benefit from debate.

At some schools, debate operates as a class or part of the curriculum, while at others, it is an after-school program where students can choose to participate. At Hamilton Grange

The MSQI debate program has encouraged schools to see a broader spectrum of potential students who can truly benefit from debate.”

Middle School, debate was a class for three years before transitioning to an after-school activity. While fewer students participated, there were benefits—coaches were able to work with students who were more passionate about the activity, who then were able to recruit other students who were possibly interested in participating along with their friends.

“After-school debate became a place where students could also see friends and have a fun time—it gave me room to play a little more by the ear and allow the kids to have a space that is a lot less structured...and allow them to hang out while also preparing them for structured activities such as full practice rounds, peer feedback sessions, and research,” coach Joao Moderno says.


Debate has been a crucial addition to improving literacy skills that the MSQI targets, including reading, writing, speaking, and listening. “It’s an authentic way for students to practice all of those skills that is engaging


and fun for them as well,” Kuroly says. “Debate provides motivation for students to read deeply and closely, to look at texts with a critical lens, and to find and weigh strong evidence when they’re reading.” Kuroly notes that debate provides purpose and structure for reading non-fiction texts in particular.

Debate has also helped students improve their written argumentation skills and the structure of their writing. Overall, students are reading more sources, especially ones above their grade level, which passively helps widen the range of words and language that they encounter and contributes to their literacy growth.

The competitive aspect of debate also has been important in encouraging students to read, as the more research they do, the

more prepared they will be. “They have an intrinsic motivation to read, so time on text increases, and comprehension increases because when they want to understand an argument better, they will come to teachers and peers and try to collaborate on comprehending an opponent’s argument,” Honoroff says.

These improvements have been demonstrated in numbers. “We did an internal study back in 2015 where we looked at our reading achievement based on some standardized testing scores, and what we noticed was students who participated in competitive debate outperformed non-debating peers in terms of reading growth from the same school,” Kuroly says. “Debaters were growing more in terms of their literacy achievement than students who didn’t compete in debate, and that

Students who participated in competitive debate outperformed nondebating peers in terms of reading growth from the same school.”

— Nicholas Kuroly

was especially true for sixth graders and students who were severely below grade level.”

At MS 50, increases in reading comprehension levels have also been staggering. “We use a test called the DRP, a national comprehension exam, and our debaters significantly outperform our school, which is already outperforming the national average,” Honoroff says.


Debate has been an important part of improving curriculums and elevating learning at schools. When MS 50 was undergoing curricular changes as part of its

renewal as a community school, Honoroff made sure to incorporate debate to help improve instruction and leverage students’ lived experiences and voices as an instructional strategy.

“Debate is a great interdisciplinary rallying point —we teach debate in English class, kids learn how to analyze the statistics of a debate in math class, they learn how to understand the science of debate in science class, and the ethics of debate in social studies class. We can do it across grade levels, languages, and subjects, and that allows for a sense of unity,” Honoroff says.

“When I first became principal, I said that if we teach debate really well across disciplines,

Students from Hamilton Grange Middle School in Manhattan (photo courtesy of Joao Moderno)

we were going to attend the first city-wide debate tournament and win first place. That was a gamble on my part to make that bold claim, but sure enough we did, and when we came back with a big trophy after that first tournament. It wasn’t just a victory for the debate couch—it was a victory for every single teacher teaching interdisciplinary across content.”

As a school, it was important for MS 50 to be known for something positive and academically rigorous, a welcome change for the whole community.

At MS 50, debate is more than just a competition. “Local wins are really nice, and growth in reading comprehension is nice, but at MS 50, we believe really deeply that debate is about more than wins and losses— it’s about using our voices to be leaders for injustices in the world and connecting debate with civic and political activism,” Honoroff says.

When facing competition with schools on the local and national level that have more resources, using personal lived experiences as knowledge production

and a pedagogical tool has been important in focusing topics more around issues of equity and justice and getting at the heart of culturally responsive education.


Even for students whose primary language is not English, debate is an opportunity they can take advantage of through the Spanish language division at the MSQI debate program.

“Word Generation is in English and Spanish, so we have many schools, including my school, that have a very vibrant bilingual Spanish program,” Honoroff says.

ELA teacher and debate coach Rafael Ossorio at Ann Mersereau Middle School has also seen the benefits of the Spanish language debate program.

“The majority of my ELL students debate in Spanish, and it helps them advance their literacy within their own language, which also expands their vocabulary in their ESL classes where their level of thinking progresses both within their native language and also into the English language. They recognize cognates and certain words

that have similar structures in English and Spanish, which has been very helpful,” he says.

The MSQI debate program has been a source of pride for participating school communities, Senior Director of Programs and Partnerships at the MSQI Sameer Talati says. “Many of the schools are some of the most underserved schools in the city, and coming home with a trophy really makes an impact. Confidence overall builds community for the school, students, teachers, and families.”

Debate also has allowed certain students to come out of their shell and participate more academically, elevating both the quantity and quality of conversations that are happening in classrooms, Ossorio says.

The MSQI program has allowed for the cultivation of a debate culture at MS 50 and its surrounding schools. “We’ve started reaching out to local elementary schools that feed into us. As a form of community service and giving back, our students will go to these schools and teach them how to debate,” Honoroff says. “We found that as we went to different schools,

they started to want to be able to compete as well, which led to us hosting a district-wide elementary school tournament starting with just a handful of teams, which has grown to almost 300 competitors.” These tournaments are completely youth-run: students judge and coach at tournaments.

Camaraderie around debate programs has survived the pandemic and is stronger than ever. “When we have big tournaments, the principal makes it a point to give out awards, going on the loudspeaker and shouting out students who participated, and we give them medals and celebrations after each tournament to reward and acknowledge their dedication in their research and practice of debate,” Honoroff says. “Students from across the district now look to my debaters as experts in this very intellectually rigorous activity, so it’s super powerful and empowering for my students.”

Sean Lee is a senior at Horace Mann School in New York. He currently serves as an intern for the NSDA.




Ordertournamenttrophies, schoolawards,plaques,medals,andmorefrom theNationalSpeech&DebateAssociation’sTrophyShop!

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

Wehavethousandstochoosefrom,oryoucancreatecustomizedawardsfor yourevent!Asamember,youhaveaccesstowholesalepricesandearlyinvoicing.

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.

We have thousands of awards to choose from—or you can create customized awards for your event! As an NSDA member, you have access to wholesale prices and early invoicing.


Learn more at www.speechanddebate.org/trophyshop

We create more than 30,000 awards for speech and debate programs every year—imagine what we can do for YOUR team or tournament!”

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“The adultification of kids is a real thing. There’s no doubt that teenagers sometimes have to make some pretty grown up decisions. That’s why I am telling students to stay away from e-cigarettes, vaping and tobacco products in general.

My coaches remind me that, in their day, Joe Camel encouraged them to smoke cigarettes.

The current vaping epidemic has been described as Joe Camel with a different hump. It looks cool but the results are still the same: vaping is deadly to the student body and makes you a sitting target for COVID-19.”

5,000,000+ NSDA Dramatic Interpretation National Champion



Join LifeSAV’ers National President LOGAN GREEN in the fight to end the teenage vaping epidemic.

Ask your coach to nominate you for LifeSAV’ers by submitting the Student Advisory Council Nomination Form! Encourage your school district (public, private or parochial) to officially join the fight to protect student body health.

The LifeSAV’ers program gives students across the nation a chance to speak up about the dangers of vaping. Get over the “hump” by becoming a national student advocate Learn more at SchoolsAgainstVaping.org.


Ready to join the fight? Scan here:

Hattiesburg High School Debate Coach Scott Waldrop, Logan Green and Assistant Coach Reggie Chapman

Will YOU Be Joining Us in 2023?

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Institute hosted the 2022 Great Communicator Debate Series National Championship July 21-24 in Simi Valley, California, at the Reagan Presidential Library.

Our 16 national finalists, parents, and coaches enjoyed two days of all-expenses-paid travel, lodging, meals, activities, special programming, and made new friends throughout the event. The championship tournament topic was, Resolved: The benefits of NATO intervention in Ukraine outweigh the risks. To access the final round, visit www.reaganfoundation.org/gcds.

We hope to see you and your students at our regional qualifiers this spring, and we wish you all the best for the 2022-2023 season!

$50,000 In Scholarships Earned!

• $10,000 Champion – Patrick McDonald

• $7,500 Runner-Up – Alex Lee

• $5,250 Semifinalist – Peter Alisky

• $5,250 Semifinalist – Jon Yildirim

• $2,500 Quarterfinalist – James Cullen

• $2,500 Quarterfinalist – Vienna Panossian

• $2,500 Quarterfinalist – Ishan Dubey

• $2,500 Quarterfinalist – Sahil Sood

• $1,500 National Finalist – Sol Manis

• $1,500 National Finalist – Connor Eubank

• $1,500 National Finalist – Gabe Stein

• $1,500 National Finalist – Kush Narang

• $1,500 National Finalist – Hannah Gross

• $1,500 National Finalist – Annie Jiang

• $1,500 National Finalist – Daniel Hearne

• $1,500 National Finalist – Ava Autrey

Christine Adams serves as Project Coordinator for the Great Communicator Debate Series.
(opposite page, clockwise from top) National finalists with their trophies, posed in front of the Air Force One mural • Alex Lee applauds Patrick McDonald’s championship • Introductions at the Berlin Wall memorial (near left) Debaters and their guests enjoyed great meals while making new friends (below) Making decisions in the 1983 Grenada Simulation (near left) Debating for the championship under the wings of Air Force One by the presidential motorcade (below) Competition was fierce in many locations at the Library and Air Force One Pavilion


Arjun Banerjee relocated 10 times throughout his childhood. His dad was in the military and, as a result, he grew used to adapting to new environments. “It taught me to be proactive and extroverted,” Arjun says. “Being new, I had to put my best foot forward.”

We’re lucky, because Arjun’s boundless energy is focused on an important issue: environmental injustice.

His family lived in several lower income communities and environmental problems were visible to him from an early age. In third grade, he and his friends joked about the brown water that ran from their faucets at home. His communities were afflicted with broken sewers, urban heat islands, and once-in-a-hundredyear floods. Environmental issues were everywhere, and because they were everywhere, they were ordinary.

As Arjun grew older, he realized the environmental degradation he was seeing around him wasn’t normal.

“I realized you shouldn’t have to rebuild a city every two years because of flooding. You shouldn’t have trash in rivers, brown water, and slews of dead fish. I was aware of climate change, but I became cognizant that it was secondary to the things hurting my communities right now.”


One night, Arjun was doing research on a water topic for debate and came across a Maryland database with water testing details. He learned that many Maryland schools had elevated levels of lead in the drinking water.

A Force for Change

This skill is evident. Arjun’s effect is immediate; he is brimming with enthusiasm, radiates confidence, and is raring to share his ideas. When he interviewed for the Student of the Year award in June, the committee described his presence in the room as a hurricane in the best possible way. He could talk for hours, flitting from subject to subject but tying them all together.

Arjun spun into action. He and his friend Harshil Shah were inspired to secure grants to buy water testing kits to inspect community water and enable others to check their water at home. “I applied to the EPA, but they wouldn’t accept two ninthby Annie Reisener

Arjun is the 2022 William Woods Tate, Jr., National Student of the Year

graders,” Arjun laughs. To gain credibility, they founded Ecolution, a Marylandbased non-profit whose mission is to provide the public with access to critical information regarding environmental issues in the area. They disseminated the information about lead in the

up to you to seek out the injustices that are localized, then act on them.”

Arjun was likely to approach his debates the same way. “I’m known on the team as the person who runs the wacky philosophy in LD. That came in conflict with winning; sometimes I didn’t frame

water to more than 20,000 students and faculty members. They collected donations and used the funds to purchase water testing kits and began to conduct analyses of water samples at the request of community members. If subpar results were returned, they helped families navigate the process of securing safe, clean water at home.


Arjun believes fostering this type of awareness is the most important thing young advocates can do. “Debaters have a tendency to focus on things that win us rounds,” Arjun says. “The big impacts, like sea levels rising. But the environment is more than that. It’s vital to become aware of issues that may seem small in a round, like local legislation. It’s

things in a way that judges could understand. I made things personal. I’d put my community on the line in an argument. That was hard, because when I lost, it felt like my experience was invalidated.”

As Arjun grew more experienced, he learned to distill his experiences into things for which he could advocate. “When you get the balance right, it’s electrifying,” he says.


Building awareness was just the beginning. Ecolution turned its focus to developing solutions, like a detection system that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to help cars find parking faster to decrease pollution from idling vehicles.

Arjun conducted social network research into the implications of political polarization on climate change and presented the research at the North American Social Networks conference. He collaborated with a county executive on environmental structures to stop flooding, and since the implementation of the flood mitigation system, the city has not experienced a single flood. He worked on a piece of legislation to stop plastic pollution in his county.

Throughout this process, Arjun learned valuable lessons about entrepreneurship. “It was hard. I got knocked down a lot. I sent so many emails over four years and 99% were nos. As a high school student, that can be really discouraging. You have this idea, and you don’t know how to get to where you want to be. My resources were finite. I had to keep looking forward to the next opportunity when we got turned down. Failure is inevitable, but so is success if you keep going.”


Arjun believes speech and debate was training for the rest of his life. Congress taught him to understand

the legislative process and join it in the real world. LincolnDouglas showed him how to harness research to advocate for change. Impromptu taught him to think quickly and creatively. World Schools allowed him to work as part of a team and understand others’ perspectives. HI inspired him to harness the power of humor to make information more approachable.

“At the end of the day, speech and debate was a tool for developing skills and a vision,” Arjun says. “The effort I put into the activity, the late nights and weekends preparing, has prepared me most for what’s next. Speech and debate has taught me that, with dedication, I can change the world. I don’t come from a community where that’s the norm. If you have a good idea, the will to work, and the belief, there’s no stopping what you can do.”

This fall, Arjun will start at UC Berkeley where he plans to further link his passion for computer science, STEM, environment, and policy to prepare for a career in creating cities that are sustainable so he can bring those policies back to his community.

Annie Reisener is the Director of Membership for the NSDA.

It’s up to you to seek out the injustices that are localized, then act on them.
” — Arjun Banerjee

As a new debate season begins, here are some tips and drills that can be helpful for upcoming tournaments. Coaches, be sure to share these ideas with your students!

Plan ahead. During impromptu preparation, working backward is a valuable strategy. Imagine what you want the debate to be like by the third or reply speech. Once the team has isolated the main substantives, brainstorm weighing mechanisms to demonstrate the importance of these arguments and anticipate responses from the opposing side. Planning is also critical for other components of the debate, such as asking points of information (POIs) and refuting the other team’s arguments.

During the World Schools Debating Championships (WSDC), the five members of the USA Debate team allocated at least 15 minutes of impromptu preparation to discuss strategy and identify the arguments that could be potentially round-winning. This method enabled the team to strengthen their substantives, defend against refutation, and effectively weigh impacts by the back half of the round. Being preemptive in preparation allows debaters to be ahead of their opponents and go into the round with an advantage.

Think about the other side. Often, debaters get caught up on their side of the motion and neglect the argumentation and framing that could


potentially be brought by the other team. To improve one’s awareness of opposing arguments, a valuable drill would be to practice spontaneously changing sides during impromptu prep. As used by Team USA during training, debaters spent the first half of impromptu preparation working on one side of the motion and switched to the other side for the second half. This allowed debaters to put themselves in the mindset of the other team and prepare under a time constraint.

Remember to redo speeches from practice or tournament rounds. No speech, regardless if you win or lose, is perfect. After completing a round, take 10-15 minutes afterward to review your speech and identify areas of improvement. If these areas are difficult to find or understand, speak to a fellow team member or coach and ask them for feedback and suggestions. Listen intently to the panel’s reasons for decision and always ask for personal feedback if the judges are willing. When redoing a speech, focus on delivery, time management, and depth of argumentation or refutation. By working on and fixing one’s mistakes, debaters can be better equipped in future rounds to give impactful speeches and persuade their judges.

Communication is key, both before and during rounds. As tournaments gradually return to an in-person environment, it is especially important to speak with your teammates and be on the same page. When the

motion is first announced, spend the first five minutes clarifying any vague or unfamiliar concepts and clearly establishing the motion’s meaning. When sharing ideas, do not interrupt teammates; instead, listen or take notes to keep track of the brainstorming process. Remember that every debater has different methods of communication that are suitable for them. Have a conversation with your team about bench communication and the needs and preferences of each teammate. During practices or training, experiment and identify the most appropriate and effective method of communication for your team. One effective mode of communication used by USA Debate is writing down refutation and weighing mechanisms on sticky notes or notecards and passing them to the upcoming speaker on the team.

Rest when possible and stay hydrated before and in between rounds. Debate is an intensive activity, and tournament days can stretch over multiple hours. Tournaments are a marathon, not a hundred-yard dash. To prevent burnout, prioritize your wellbeing and be conscious of physical health. During tournaments, take a break in between rounds to destress and drink plenty of water. After a day of debating is complete, have a proper meal and get rest early so that you are in the best physical and mental condition for future rounds. Being healthy, present, and alert during rounds is critical to success and preventing any unnecessary mistakes.



In early August, five members of the 20212022 USA Debate team were selected to represent the country at the World Schools Debating Championships (WSDC). The tournament was hosted by the IDEA team in the Netherlands and held virtually over Zoom.

The team consisting of Hannah Heeger (’22), Cameron Kettles (’22), Miles Wang (’22), Abbey Xu (’22), and Vinayak Menon (’23) finished out the season in the octafinal round against Team Bangladesh on the motion, “This House prefers a world in which success and failure are

seen as a consequence of random factors, rather than personal actions.”

Team USA placed ninth out of strong teams from 68 countries. Additionally, Vinayak, Miles, and Abbey were all recognized among the top 30 speakers in the world.

In the weeks leading up to the championship, the team trained over Zoom with USA Debate alumni Aditya Dhar (’17), Luke Tillitski (’19), Anh Cao (’20), and Liana SchmitterEmerson (’21) along with coaches Cindi Timmons and Aaron Timmons.

After two years of virtual training, the debaters were able to meet in Indianola, Iowa, at the

Global Debate Symposium. The debaters drafted and refined cases for the four prepared topics and practiced impromptu prep and rounds within the team as well as with friends from England, Hong Kong, Singapore, the Philippines, Canada, Mexico, and the Netherlands.

The team reunited again to compete at the WSDC from the nation’s capital in Washington, D.C. In 2008, the city hosted the first-ever WSDC held in the United States, which was attended by 39 countries.

More than simply a competition, the WSDC tournament was a learning and growing experience for the USA Debate team.

With every round, the experienced judging panels gave constructive feedback and the team gained insight about improving their style, content, and strategy.

During days off from the tournament, the team was able to explore the city and visit national landmarks, including a tour of the White House.

Team USA is excited to take the lessons they learned during this WSDC and compete at a high level in the 2022-2023 season!

Vinayak Menon is a senior from Lambert High School in Georgia.

Five members of the USA Debate team competed at the 2022 World Schools Debating Championships. From left to right: Miles Wang (’22), Abbey Xu (’22), Cameron Kettles (’22), Hannah Heeger (’22), and Vinayak Menon (’23).


Inever meant to be a forensic coach. The first part of my teaching career was spent as an English teacher and theatre director. After staying home with our first daughter, I decided to substitute teach and check out different schools before returning. I was called to fill in for a debate teacher and forensic coach because I was the only sub at the time with a degree in speech.

I was in for a wild ride, which ended in June with my first trip to Nationals. I was hooked, but the world of forensics was an unknown entity. I wish there had been time for “ready, set, speak.” Instead, I started in the middle of the race and had to scramble to find the right way to begin.


In the original iteration of “ready, set, go,” ready was “on your mark.” The word mark referred to the place on the course where the runner would start, whether a line or a set of starting blocks. No matter how much I had prepared at the end of the previous school year or over the summer, I always felt like I was starting behind the mark. There was never enough time.

Ready, Set, Speak!

What I discovered over the years is that not feeling “ready” is an odd kind of normal. The beginning of a school year is


partially controlled chaos in the best of times.

Of course, the past few years have not been the best of times. The words of Mister Rogers helped keep me on track amid the whirlwind of preparing. He said, “There are three ways to ultimate success: The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind.”

Whatever my goals for the year might be, I tried to root them in a spirit of kindness—being kind to myself and to my students.

Being kind to myself included reminding myself every day that if I’m not at my best, my students can’t find their best. I had to pace myself, remind myself to take the time to determine what tasks I needed to tackle first. Rushing, trying to do everything at once, is a fool’s game. I had to keep up my exercise regimen and make time for my personal and family life so I could come to coaching fresh.

I showed my students kindness by helping them break their goals down into achievable steps by not pushing them so hard. They needed to achieve a level of balance in their lives so they could operate at peak capacity.

Making students understand how to work on one skill at a time proved invaluable. I kept a notebook with pages for work sessions. At each one, I made notes and set goals for the next session. This method really helped the students feel good about incremental successes leading to their bigger goals.


Being “set” is all about positioning, stretching the muscles into the starting crouch before springing forward. Tournaments began. We usually hosted the first one of the year, so our first competitive experience came a weekend or two later than most other schools.

Once that happened, once we were ready to spring forward, a new mindset ensued. It’s when we focused on one turn of the track at a time. This is where I attempted to ingrain in the students that the process is the most important thing— that the only way to get there is to work really hard and measure themselves against their own rubric.

Over the years, many people—other coaches and parents—asked me

the “secret” to our team’s success. The secret is, there is no secret. There is only process. And work. And learning. And then more work.

Successful basketball coach John Wooden said, “Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best of which you are capable.” All you or your students can do is attempt to perform at a level that is a personal best. Not all students can qualify for State or Nationals. Fewer can make it to the late rounds at higher level tournaments, and a tiny percentage can win a

championship. You and your students have to find satisfaction in achieving what you and they never thought possible. That might be making it out of a prelim round or making people laugh or feel deep emotion in a round. It may not look like a trophy.

Trophies and medals are nice, but they don’t last. The memories of pushing to reach the next turn in the race are all that truly matter in the end. Forensics is about creating personal best performances, making friends and connections, and learning skills that will serve you in life’s marathon. It’s not about basking in a moment of glory on a stage holding a trophy.

Posing with alum Michael Urie at Lincoln Center when he was in Shows for Days


Ah! The preliminary work is done. You and your students are ready to stride the course. Tournaments are a microcosm of the world. This is the point where one must rely on preparation. Suddenly, there are other people around and distractions and exhaustion to endure. It can be frightening.

To prepare my students for this moment, we spent time focusing on three key elements: performing with dignity, communicating calmly, and changing the world.

Dame Judi Dench, star of stage and screen, said, “Lots and lots of things scare me, but you just get on with it. Fright can transform into petrol; you just have to use it to your advantage.”

Training helps quench fear. We practiced treating one another, other performers, and those evaluating performances with respect. We worked on learning to win and lose with grace. My students knew if they got all sixes in prelims, they were successful as

long as they did their best and treated others with compassion and respect.

Regardless of any situation they might encounter, I expected them to remain calm and communicate clearly. The rudeness of another competitor or judge must be met with grace and humility. My students could come to me to resolve an issue, and if they wanted to blow off steam about a perceived “competitive injustice,” they needed to do it after we left the tournament.

Judges are asked to rank a room. As long as they do that, we must live with their opinion and find our success in how we felt about a performance.

Finally, I taught my students they had the potential to change the world through performances touching hearts and minds, by helping people consider the viewpoints of others, and by creating empathy. They could change the world by modeling grace, dignity, and effective communication. They could change the

world by inspiring others to do their best. This was their true measure of success, not trophies.


My “accidental” foray into forensics became a precious gift. I can’t imagine my life without the experiences I had, the friendships I formed, and the tremendous impact

this activity had on my students. It’s easy in the heat of the race to lose focus on the finish line.

Reflecting back, it is easy to see that the joy of those precious moments spent teaching, coaching, and traveling were worth everything. There is no better preparation for the marathon of life than the race of forensics.

So, now it’s time... “Ready, Set, Speak!”

Karen Wilbanks is a four-diamond coach and member of the NSDA Hall of Fame. My last speech and debate team at Plano Senior High School, Texas, prior to retirement With alum Michael Washington in his dressing room for Boys in the Band

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Congratulations to the following students who earned Speaking and Service Awards in 2021-2022! This award annually recognizes member students who go above and beyond in their service to their teams, schools, and communities. Students receive this award when they earn 200 service points in a given year, the maximum number possible in a school year in our Honor Society. Visit www.speechanddebate.org/studentrecognition to learn more.

Lexi Aikman Conway High School AR

Jillian Berry Episcopal Collegiate School AR

Lotanna Mogbo Episcopal Collegiate School AR

LeslieJo Sullivan Episcopal Collegiate School AR

Elizabeth Davis Russellville High School AR

Manasvi jagtap Hamilton High School AZ

Atul Jaikumar Hamilton High School AZ

Alexis Li Hamilton High School AZ

Sarah Maisha Hamilton High School AZ

Zariya Shams Hamilton High School AZ

Sanchet Agarwal Bellarmine College Prep CA

Arnav Dhingra Bellarmine College Prep CA

Nihaal Konda Bellarmine College Prep CA

Sungjoo Yoon Burbank High School CA

Tatiana Eden Ochoa Cajon High School CA

Melinda “Michi” Synn Canyon Crest Academy CA

Lauren Park Carlsbad High School CA

Elle Simon Carlsbad High School CA

Nate Watts Carlsbad High School CA

Nathan Chu Diamond Bar High School CA

Audrey Bae Fullerton Union High School CA

Alex Lee Harvard-Westlake School CA

Rebecca Joseph Las Lomas High School CA

Jiarui Bao Los Altos High School CA

Manav Bhargava Los Altos High School CA

Aimee Ge Los Altos High School CA

Shaurya Kadiyala Los Altos High School CA

Evan Lingo Los Altos High School CA

Anagha Rajesh Los Altos High School CA

Flora Wang Los Altos High School CA

Akul Murthy Lynbrook High School CA

Jenna Ersheid Mountain View High School CA

Giavanna Chopra Oak Ridge High School CA

Aidan Haya Oak Ridge High School CA

Wesley Liu Pacific Bay Christian School CA

Rohan Bhatia Palo Alto Senior High School CA

Christopher Choi Palo Alto Senior High School CA

Daniel Garepis-Holland Palo Alto Senior High School CA

Christie Hong Palo Alto Senior High School CA

Holden Lee Palo Alto Senior High School CA

Jonathan Liu Palo Alto Senior High School CA

Terra Majors Palo Alto Senior High School CA

Mihir Menon Palo Alto Senior High School CA

Kelly Tanaka Palo Alto Senior High School CA

Anna Van Riesen Palo Alto Senior High School CA

Drew Vetteth Palo Alto Senior High School CA Jia He Xia Palo Alto Senior High School CA Priya Patel Vista Del Lago High School CA

Sophie Kim BC Academy Canada Andrew Yoon BC Academy Canada

Cooper Druck Cherokee Trail High School CO Alexander Dhupar Frontier Charter Academy CO

Marco Valdez Resurrection Christian School CO

Maia Nehme Washington International School DC

Danilo Diaz Colegio Bilingue New Horizons FL

Carlota Montas Colegio Bilingue New Horizons FL

Liah Noboa Colegio Bilingue New Horizons FL

Maria Taveras Colegio Bilingue New Horizons FL

Gianmarco Viñals Colegio Bilingue New Horizons FL

Nicholas Ostheimer FAU High School FL

Andrew Krywko Southeast High School FL

Lynn Yun Southeast High School FL

Ella Beverly North Hall High School GA

Zoey Davidson North Hall High School GA

Roux Hill North Hall High School GA Makenzee McDougald North Hall High School GA

Samuel Morgan North Hall High School GA

Bradyn Bohnsack CAM High School IA

Gabe Rouse CAM High School IA

Josue Aleman East High School IA

Carmela Davidson Hoover High School IA

Alison De Luna Hoover High School IA

Gavin Houchins-McCallum Hoover High School IA

Aidan Jones Hoover High School IA

Avery Dowling Sidney High School IA

Kellen Rose Sidney High School IA

Olivia Hansen Pope County High School IL

Katherine Langford Avon High School IN

Josie Cochran USD 439 Sedgwick High School KS

Gage Giffin USD 439 Sedgwick High School KS

Ayaan Parikh Wichita Collegiate Upper School KS

Smera Dhananjaya Acton-Boxborough Regional High School MA

Chelsea Hu Oxon Hill High MD

Raymond Ma Winston Churchill High School MD

Emily Rutherford Bangor High School ME

Luka Jacobi-Krohn Edina High School MN




Maria Axinia Two Rivers High School MN

Quinn Hendel Two Rivers High School MN

Dhanush Malempati Two Rivers High School MN

Andrew Hellman Central High School MO

Sophia Leonard Central High School MO

Oakley Vincent Central High School MO

Kit Roesch Collegiate School Of Medicine & Bioscience MO

Nico Jenkins Fair Grove High School MO

Cooper Zumwalt Fair Grove High School MO

Rebekah Davis Mt Vernon High School MO

Isabella Arnold Savannah R3 High School MO

Luke Bowie Savannah R3 High School MO

Elisabeth Hummer Savannah R3 High School MO

Cashlee Smith Savannah R3 High School MO

Faith Wilmes Savannah R3 High School MO

Kaytee Ziegler Savannah R3 High School MO

Christian Tatro Willard High School MO

Mason Swenson Glasgow High School MT

Chase Tarum Glasgow High School MT

Abigail Hahn Charlotte Catholic High School NC

Raina Batra Livingston High School NJ

Sarah Wilson Long Branch High School NJ

Matthew Lameo Summit High School NJ

Anika Parthiban Thomas Edison EnergySmart Charter NJ

Yunseo Kim Los Alamos High School NM

Alana Nahabedian Amplus Academy NV

Charles Bruno Chaminade High School NY

David Jojan Chaminade High School NY

Dylan Long Chaminade High School NY

Anthony Scarmozzino Chaminade High School NY

Vayana Stoyanova Mount Mercy Academy NY

Zachary Fleesler Trinity School NY

Rachel Woo William A. Shine - Great Neck South HS NY

Alexandra Ivey Louisville Senior High School OH

Trinity Bish New Philadelphia High School OH

Deidre Cannon New Philadelphia High School OH

Christopher Rhodes New Philadelphia High School OH

Natalia Alvarez Oakwood High School OH

Brooke Lieser Perry High School OH

Colin Moore Wadsworth City Schools OH

Makianos Amier Wooster High School OH

Alexander Carter MacArthur High School OK

Rylie Shephard MacArthur High School OK

India Hargrave Hood River Valley High School OR

Hannah Lo Ida B. Wells-Barnett High School OR

Kate Bingham Lincoln High School OR Alyssia Menezes Lincoln High School OR

Kara Grossman CR North High School PA

Thomas Kohler Holy Ghost Prep PA

Dinuk DeAlmeida

North Allegheny High School PA

Renuk DeAlmeida North Allegheny High School PA

Hallie Dong North Allegheny High School PA

Samhita Gudapati North Allegheny High School PA

Kathryn Mi North Allegheny High School PA

Khushi Pasrija North Allegheny High School PA

Arnav Patel North Allegheny High School PA

Lucy Pu North Allegheny High School PA

Rajat Reddy North Allegheny High School PA

Shuban Tiwari North Allegheny High School PA

Courtney Boardley Trinity High School PA

Sophia Berumen Episcopal High School - Houston/Bellaire TX

Tommy Weaver Fort Worth Country Day TX

Jack Huska Grapevine Faith Christian School TX

Maven Hardwich Harlingen High School TX

Franklin Wu Lamar High School TX

Kelsey Do Langham Creek High School TX

Justin Schnitzer Langham Creek High School TX

Paresh Chotaliya LV Hightower High School TX

Alanna Powell McKinney High School TX

Venkata Yenuganti Newman Smith High School TX

Layne Morris Ore City High School TX

Aagya Ghimire Round Rock High School TX Smriti Jasti Round Rock High School TX

Iris Cheng Seven Lakes High School TX

Tyler Crivella Seven Lakes High School TX Fadhil Lawal Seven Lakes High School TX Arnav Mehta Seven Lakes High School TX Parth Nikumbh Seven Lakes High School TX

Manas Pathak Seven Lakes High School TX

Alice Qiang Seven Lakes High School TX

Jason Zhao Seven Lakes High School TX

Caroline Hsu The Village High School TX

Brooke Henry THEO Christian TX

Diego Roberts W. B. Ray High School TX Suhawni Narang W. B. Ray High School TX

Ronan Spencer Corner Canyon High School UT

Aiden Whitney Cyprus High School UT

Zachary Leishman Mountain Crest High School UT

Saathvik Pai West High School - Salt Lake City UT

Olivia Wu West High School - Salt Lake City UT

Tanya Yu West High School - Salt Lake City UT

Olivia Eads

The Potomac School VA

Shelby Willcox The Potomac School VA

Brian Zhou Thomas Jefferson HS Science & Tech VA

Kyle Gerstel Mercer Island High School WA

David Jia Brookfield East High School WI

Robert Barthell Neenah High School WI

Parker De Deker Neenah High School WI

Account: www.speechanddebate.org/account

points and more, log in to your
enter service
(continued) ROSTRUM | SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2022 61


Congratulations to the following schools that were granted charter chapter status in 2021-2022! Becoming a charter chapter is the highest honor for high schools in the NSDA. A chapter is automatically chartered if, after at least one year at member status, it has earned at least 50 degrees within a three-year period. Small schools with a grade 9-12 enrollment of fewer than 500 students must earn at least 25 degrees within a three-year period. For more details, visit www.speechanddebate.org/school-recognition

Amador Valley High School CA

Aquinas Academy Of Pittsburgh PA

Arrowhead Park Early College High School NM Aspermont High School TX

Boerne High School TX

Burbank High School CA Caldwell High School ID Cape Fear High School NC Chadwick School CA

Concord-Carlisle High School MA Crestview High School OH De Soto High School KS

Deep Run High School VA Eastside Preparatory School WA Evergreen Valley High School CA

Foothill High School - Pleasanton CA

Gallatin High School MT Glasgow High School MT

GMG Secondary School IA

Hector G. Godinez Fundamental High School CA

Highland Park High School IL

Hudson High School OH

Huntington High School WV

Huntley Project High School MT

Hurricane High School UT

Jefferson High School SD

Las Lomas High School CA

Minarets High School CA Mountain Ridge High School AZ Oakton High School VA Olentangy Liberty High School OH Opus Academy Canada Park High School - Livingston MT Portsmouth High School NH Reitz Memorial High School IN Rock Hill High School TX Solebury School PA Special Music School NY St. Luke’s School CT Temple City High School CA Thales Academy NC The Browning School NY The King’s Academy CA

Tyler Legacy High School TX USD 439 Sedgwick High School KS West Fargo Horace High School ND

Westchester Academy For International Studies TX

Wilcox High School CA Willmar Senior High MN Winterset High School IA


I decided to include the NSDA in my estate plans because speech and debate is an activity that teaches everything from argumentation and speaking skills to humility and gracefully losing. This activity made me a different and better person, and I want to make sure that students well into the future are afforded the opportunities I was.”

Aarzu Maknojia


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

Byron Arthur

Phyllis Flory Barton

Jane Boyd

James Copeland

Don and Ann Crabtree

Rob Dekoven

Dr. Mike Edmonds

A. C. Eley

Vickie and Joe Fellers

Bill and Charlotte Hicks

David and Judy Huston

Jennifer Jerome

Harold Keller

Kandi King

Cherian and Betsy Koshy

Dr. Tommie Lindsey, Jr.

Aarzu Maknojia

Pam and Ray McComas

H. B. Mitchell

Lanny and B. J. Naegelin

Albert Odom, Jr. J. W. Patterson

Capt. Joseph L. and Jan Pizzo

Dr. Polly and Bruce Reikowski

Donus and Lovila Roberts

James W. Rye III

Steve and Anna Schappaugh

David Seikel

Michael Shapiro

Sandra Silvers

Richard Sodikow

William Woods Tate, Jr.

Scott and Chan Waldrop

Nicole and Darrel Wanzer-Serrano

Cheryl Watkins

J. Scott and Megan Wunn

Joe and Pam Wycoff

David and Tatiana Yastremski


Leaving your legacy with the NSDA can be done in three easy steps:

1. Add a simple paragraph to your will stating the NSDA as a beneficiary. You can revise your gift at any time.

2. Notify Nicole Wanzer-Serrano that the NSDA has been added to your will. nicole@speechanddebate.org

3. Celebrate knowing that you will impact future generations by joining The 1925 Society!

Contact Nicole for more information: nicole@speechanddebate.org

Dear Colleagues,

After 33 years of working in public education, it still surprises me that each new school year is always a fresh start for teachers and students alike. It is a time for them to renew their commitment to teaching and learning while setting goals and intentions for a year of phenomenal growth, new experiences, and endless possibilities.

This is so true for the year-long journey of those who participate in speech and debate, especially students.

Participating in debate and speech events empowers students to break the fourth wall to connect with the audience in an authentic effort to understand the world and society in which they live. By its nature, forensics promotes curiosity and advocacy through the power of words to question assumptions, examine issues, and introduce solutions.

This is why it is vitally important for campus administrators across the United States to continue to support speech and debate in our schools. The academic rewards are not just anecdotal but are supported by years of research. Studies have shown that students who participate in competitive speech and debate activities are more likely to have higher academic achievement and an overall better educational experience. Through the process of developing an argument, crafting a speech, or interpreting a piece of literature, students become better thinkers, writers, and communicators.

These benefits extend well beyond the schoolhouse doors. Students who get involved in a quality speech and debate program gain immense confidence, learn how to collaborate with others, and forge lifetime friendships. In other words, forensics instills the confidence necessary for young people to thrive in life and become advocates of what is fair, what is right, and what is just in their communities.


team is invited to join fellow speech and debate students across the nation

, after-school, online practice sessions


for a variety of FREE
through our Springboard
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 3 : Springboard Capstone Tournament Check the schedule and learn more: Thursday, November 10 Tuesday, November 15 Thursday, November 17 Tuesday, November 22 NOVEMBER SCRIMMAGES Thursday, October 6 Tuesday, October 11 Thursday, October 13 Thursday, October 20 OCTOBER SCRIMMAGES free scrimmages presented by The Julia Burke Foundation • Synchronous and Asynchronous 2022 Springboard Series Scrimmage Dates: www.speechanddebate.org/ springboard-series

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