What is the difference between Speech & Debate?
Speech and Debate are one program with two seperate events:
Speech involves invovles more 'performance' aspects than debate. Speech events are divided into two categories: Public Address and Interpretation. Public Address events involve professional speaking in event categories such as Extemp (news analysis), Original Oratory (a self-written speech about a societal issue), Informative (a speech involving visual aides regarding a topic of your choice), Radio Broadcasting, as well as Discussion. Interpretation events remind a lot of individuals of theatre without the props. Competing in categories such as Humor, Drama, Poetry, and Prose, students trim down a work of literature, movie script, or play into a ten minute "piece." Students then perform their piece including all of the chosen characters interacting with each other.
Debate involves a topic - typically a current event - that is researched by the entire nation. Students and coaches develop arguments as well as cases for 'their side.' Competititons involve students (on their own or in teams of two) trying to convince a judge that their arguments are superior to their opponents. The round mimics many of the rules of a courtroom; allowing for cross-examination as well as challenging their opponents' assertions.
Can I do both Speech & Debate?
The nature of the two activities is intensive so we always start kids in only one side of the activity. In subsequent years it is common for a competitor to "cross-over" to the other side, but the best way for students to succeed is to focus on Speech or Debate.
Do I have to compete at Tournaments?
Yes - our program is set up to prepare kids to compete against other schools. The work that we do in class and after school are essentially the "practices" - while the the competitions are our "games." You can imagine that a kid playing soccer would be a bit annoyed to only practice and never get to play; the same is true with Speech & Debate. Our tournaments are nearly always on Saturday. The Speech Tournament season lasts from November to March and the Debate Tournament season lasts from October to January. Students do not need to go to every single tournament, but we find that if they enjoy the activity that they will be going to nearly every single one. We do not have competitions that overlap with major holidays.
What does it cost?
Students are expected to fundraise for our program. The only upfront cost for parents is a $35 bus fee as well as the cost for competition/dress clothes. There are small offset fees regarding occasional overnight tournaments.
How do I join?
There is no try-out for Speech and Debate (students do have to be academically eligible for extracurricular activities). Students can join by one of two ways. First, they can sign up for the class. The Speech class is titled "Dramatic Literature (Speech)" and the Debate Class is titled "Humanities (Debate). We highly recommend first year students to take the class - it provides the foundation for success needed for this activity. Students can take the class multiple times for a repeating English Credit. If they are unable to take the class, students can request to be in one of our two Speech and Debate SRT's - each of which is taught by one of our instructors. This gives them access to our coaches when they don't have homework to work on. If students are unable to join either the class or the SRT, they should see one of the coaches (preferably Chris Lowery - room C570) to talk about joining.
Can I be in other activities and do Speech & Debate?
We encourage students to participate in multiple programs in the school. We strongly believe that a well rounded student is making the best out of their high school career and are better off for it. Due to our competition season, there are large conflicts, however, with the winter sports/curricular season (Basketball, Wrestling, Swimming, etc). We proactively work with students to minimize the consequences of scheduling issues. Spring and Fall activities provide very little conflict with either Speech or Debate.