Competitive Speech & Debate

Speech and Debate

The ACDS Competitive Speech and Debate Team

Competitive Speech and Debate (Comp Speech) at Almaden Country Day School is a fun and exciting way for Middle School students in grades 6-8 to develop their public speaking and debate skills under the guidance of nationally-renowned Coach Chris Wardner.

Comp Speech students take an elective class in the first trimester which allows them to prepare speeches, write debate cases, and build team unity. This is a yearlong program; team members continue to meet with Coach Wardner at lunch, after school, and sometimes on the weekend. The ACDS Comp Speech team competes in three or more speech and debate tournaments during an academic year, against both middle school and high school opponents.

About Coach Chris Wardner

A speech and P.E. teacher at Almaden Country Day School since 1990, Coach Wardner is a double diamond National Speech and Debate Association coach. A longtime ACDS public speaking teacher, he also coaches the speech and debate team at Leland High School, which is one of the largest and most successful programs in the country. The Leland squad has been recognized as finished as a National Speech and Debate Association School of Distinction – an award for the top ten schools in the country – on multiple occasions, and Wardner has coached 18 state and national champions.

It’s important to note that students who participate in ACDS Competitive Speech and Debate will add a distinguishing element to their private high school applications. They will also be positioned for maximum success in high school – both in preparation for high school competitive speech, and in strengthening their performance in their classes which increasingly require presentation and public speaking abilities.

Invitational Speech and Debate Tournament Highlights

The Almaden Country Day School Competitive Speech and Debate Team placed at these high school tournaments:

  • 2012 Dempsey Cronin Invitational Finalist Duo Interpretation
  • 2013 Dempsey Cronin Invitational two Finalists Duo Interpretation
  • 2014 Dempsey Cronin Invitational two Finalists Duo Interpretation
  • 2015 Jon Schamber Invitational Finalist Duo Interpretation, Finalist Original Oratory, and Top 10 Public Forum Debate
  • 2015 Dempsey Cronin Invitational Tournament Champion Expository Speaking, Top 10 Public Forum Debate, and Finalist Duo Interpretation

For more information on Almaden Country Day School’s Competitive Speech and Debate Program, please contact Coach Wardner at