Speech & Debate FAQs

What is the difference between the Public Speaking, Competition Speech, and Speech Team?

Public Speaking is a graduation requirement. Each year there is a 6th grade students only class offered in the third trimester, as well as 7th/8th combo classes offered in the second and third trimesters.

Competition Speech is the elective for the speech and debate team. This class does not fulfill the graduation requirement. Competition speech is offered in the first trimester, is open to all middle school students, and is offered both 6th and 7th periods.    

The Speech Team is an after school program that competes for the full school year in weekend tournaments. The cost for participation is $1,250. This fee covers all costs associated with entering and preparing for tournament competition. The fee does not include air/hotel for out of area contests including the State and National tournaments. In 2019, State will be in Fresno and Nationals will be in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Do I have to try out for the Speech and Debate team?

No. If you are able to take the Competition Speech elective, you can participate.

Can I join Speech and Debate team if I am not in the Competition Speech elective?

Returning team members can request permission to be on the team without taking the elective.  Not everyone will be able to exercise this option and it is handled on a case by case basis.

How many tournaments does the team enter each season?

New students that take the Competition Speech elective are required to attend the Santa Clara University fall invitational which will be held November 23rd and 24th 2019. Additional participation requires joining the team and can include as many as 8 additional tournaments.

If I want to join Competition Speech, do I sign up for both 6th and 7th period electives?

Maybe!  You will only be placed in one class.  If you have no conflicts or preferences, rank Competition Speech as your 1st choice in both 6th and 7th periods. If you have a preference for 6th or 7th period, list Competition Speech as your 1st choice in one period and as your second choice in the other.  (Duo partners!!!)  If you have a conflict, rank Competition Speech as your top choice in the period that is free.

How do the Public Speaking and Competition Speech electives differ?

Public speaking gives students the tools required for the life skill of speaking. Competition Speech has elements that crossover, but would not typically give a student all the fundamental skills taught in the public speaking class.

What are the different types of speeches?

Competition speech and debate consists of four general categories. Spontaneous events include extemporaneous, impromptu, and argumentation. Interpretation events include drama, humor, duo, and oratorical. Debate events include policy, values, and mock congress. The Original events include informative, persuasive, prose, and poetry. There are many examples online for those interested in seeing performances.

How many tournaments does the team enter each season?

The Speech and Debate team will have between six and ten tournaments a season.

How long are tournaments?

Tournaments are held on weekends. Preliminary rounds are held on Saturday. If a student has qualifying scores, they advance to "break" rounds on Sunday.