Speech and Debate Team FAQ
See Mr. Hiland in room 301 any day after if you're thinking about joining!
What? Team Practice
When and Where? Tuesdays and Thursdays in room 301.
Compete in one tournament, two or all!
Mr. Sean Hiland, Head Coach, Public Forum Debate Coach
Mr. Herb Hammond, Lincoln-Douglas Debate Coach, Speech Coach
What is the Speech and Debate Team?
The team is a member of the National Forensics League and participates in NFL sponsored tournaments that include a variety of events such as dramatic and humorous interpretation, extemporaneous speaking and original oratory as well as traditional forms of debate. As awards are earned on an individual tournament basis, students are encouraged to participate in one, two, or any number of the ten or more tournaments the school attends each year. Students must attend the six practices prior to the tournament. Student participants are welcome but not obligated to attend multiple tournaments if other activities do not permit. There is no membership fee although students may be asked to pay up to $40 for out-of-town, overnight trips. All tournaments take place on Friday evenings and Saturdays. Back to top
How do I join?
Please come to one of our meetings after school in room 302 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We accept new members throughout the competition season. Back to top
How long does the season run?
The team competes at tournaments that run from September to MArch. Those students who manage to secure one of the few state spots for nationals have to opportunity to compete at nationals in the summer. Unlike most team events, however, there is no team win-loss record. Individuals are awarded based on their performances at a given tournament rather than an accumulation of tournaments. Because of this, students have the option to commit to one tournament, a few, or all ten over the course of the season. Back to top
What are the events like?
The following are brief overviews of available events:
Duo-Interpretation: A two-person team memorizes a passage of published fiction or non-fiction of their own choosing. The takes place during the week or weeks before the tournament and the same passage may be used all year long if desired. At the tournament the memorized passage is delivered within a ten-minute time limit. This event is a good choice for students who enjoy acting.
Extemporaneous Speaking: A student draws three current events topics, chooses one and has thirty minutes to prepare a speech of no more than seven minutes. The student may prepare using periodicals and is often allowed a note card during the speech. Great if you enjoy talking about current events.
Humorous and Dramatic Interpretation: These two events are identical to duo-interpretation except that a single student delivers the entire passage. Students are placed in either the humorous or dramatic category depending upon the content of the passage.
Impromptu Speaking: A student draws three broad topics, chooses one and has about two-three minutes to prepare and two-three minutes to give a speech. This is a great event for students that are good at making interesting things up "on the fly". This is considered a "supplemental" event and is only open to students who wish to enter more than one event.
Lincoln-Douglas Debate: A student debates an issue of ethics or values. An individual must be prepared to debate either side. The topic changes every other month. As an example of the kind of debate, the January/February 2004 topic was: "Resolved: The protection of the environment should take precedence over economic prosperity." This type of debate appeals to those seeking to debate using both past and present philosophers.
Original Oratory: The event is similar to humorous and dramatic interpretation. The essential difference is that the student presents a work he or she has written. This is a good choice for students that enjoy creative writing.
Public Forum Debate: A two-person team debates an issue relating to current events. Teams must be prepared to debate each side. The topic changes each month. As an example of the kind of debate, the January 2004 topic was: "Resolved: That the United States is losing the war on terror." This type of debate is popular with beginners and generally focuses on current events.
Can I get a Pius letter in Speech and Debate?
Absolutely! By competing in tournaments you gain points with the National Forensics League. As you participate in tournaments you earn various degrees such as the "Degree of Merit", "Degree of Honor", "Degree of Special Distinction", etc. Once you achieve the rank of "Distinction" with the National Forensics League (150 points), St. Pius X will award you a school letter. It typically takes 5 to 7 tournaments to earn the required number of points.