The Long-Awaited Return of the Speech & Debate Season

By Zehra Ashruf

Hello, all! As the first interim of the 2017-2018 school year slowly, but surely, comes to an end, this year’s Speech & Debate season is beginning to unravel. Practices for all events have already begun. Coaches Mr. Habig and Mrs. Cofer are beyond excited to work with Speech & Debate veterans and introduce the events to newcomers. I suggest that each and every one of you at least try an event, whether that means meeting the coaches or competing at a tournament. To be completely honest, Speech & Debate can be difficult or challenging from time to time. However, you will never learn from something you find to be easy. Between practicing rebuttals or writing speeches, I guarantee you will benefit from being on the team.

Those in the Speech & Debate community are hard-working, dedicated, and passionate about their events. Taking advantage of this incredible opportunity will improve both improve your public speaking skills and allow you to create strong friendships. Because I am absolutely sure I have persuaded you, I have included a list of wide variety of events that HB offers and brief explanations that can also be found on the Speech & Debate Haiku Page.

1) Policy Debate– Students debate in teams of two on a resolution that is set for the entire year.  Next year’s topic is education policy.  This format of debate is evidence intensive and requires a great deal of public policy research and is good at building critical thinking skills.

2) Lincoln-Douglas Debate– Students compete individually debating about a resolution that changes every two months.  LD Debate is focused on values and philosophy.  Examples of recent topics include whether corporations should be held to moral standards and if judicial activism is required for democracy.

3) Public Forum Debate– Students debate in teams of two on topics that change monthly.  This is “Crossfire” style debate, focused exclusively on practical public speaking and logic skills.  Recent topics include cyberbullying and the effect of free community college and ISIS.

4)Congressional Debate– Similar to Model UN with more parliamentary procedure.  Students write and debate their own legislation.

5) Extemporaneous Speaking– Students specialize in either domestic or international topics.  At the tournament, each student draws a question in their area and has 30 minutes to create a seven speech that has to be delivered without notes.

6) Original Oratory– Students create their own speeches on a topic of their choice and deliver them without the use of notes.

7) Informative Speaking– Students create their own speeches on a topic of their choice to explain or describe a concept (not to persuade)

8) Declamation– Students interpret a famous or relevant excerpt from a speech and deliver it using their own style and oratorical gestures. NOTE- NO NATIONAL QUALIFICATION

9) Humorous or Dramatic Interpretation– Students select a “cutting” from a play, book, or movie and deliver it from memory, interpreting all of the characters.  Pieces may be either humorous or dramatic in tone.

10) Duo Interpretation– Similar to Humorous or Dramatic, but done in pairs.

11) Program of Oratorical Interpretation– Student selects relevant passages of prose and poetry organized around a central theme and presents them to an audience.

Speaking as a Lincoln-Douglas debater myself, participating in Speech & Debate has been the highlight of my high school career. Not only has it been educational, but it has given me the opportunity to meet others who share my passions, both at HB and from other schools.

If you’d like to join the team, I advise you email Mr. Habig at jhabig@hb.edu or Mrs. Cofer at ccofer@hb.edu. I’d be happy to answer any other questions you have, just send me an email at zashruf20@hb.edu.