Speech & Debate Event Descriptions
Extemporaneous Speaking (United States and International)
A contestant draws three questions, selects one, then has 30 minutes to prepare a speech in response. The contestant utilizes files of published materials (books, magazines, newspapers, online sources) s/he has compiled as a resource for answering the question. At the completion of the 30 minute preparation period, the student speaks on the topic for up to 7 minutes. The NSDA divides extemp. into two separate events: United States (dealing with domestic issues), and International (issues beyond US borders).
Orators are expected to research and speak intelligently, with a degree of originality, in an interesting manner, and with some profit to the audience, about a topic of significance. Although many orations deal with a current problem and propose a solution this is not the only acceptable form of oratory. Your oration may simply alert the audience to a threatening danger, strengthen its devotion to an accepted cause, or eulogize a person. An orator is given free choice of subject and judged solely on the effectiveness of development and presentation.
This is an individual category in which the selections are dramatic in nature. Selections shall be cuttings from published-printed novels, short stories, plays, poetry, or any other printed-published materials. Presentations must be memorized, without props or costumes. The time limit is 10 minutes which includes an introduction.
This is an individual category in which the selections are humorous in nature. All other rules are the same as Dramatic Interpretation.
This is a two-person category in which the selection may be either humorous or dramatic in nature. All other rules are the same as Dramatic Interpretation. Watch this video of two of our kids in the final round of nationals in duo interp (acting).
Prose and Poetry
The NFL does not recognize this as an official event. CFL combines the two and calls them Oral Interp. PHSSL keeps them separated. Competitors in Prose & Poetry read a cutting of a short story or poetry, which is typically read from a small black binder. A short memorized introduction precedes the prose or poetry reading. The time limit for these events is ten minutes.
Program Oral Interp
POI is a program of oral interpretation of thematically-linked selections chosen from two or three genres: Prose, poetry, and plays. A primary focus of this event should be on the development of the theme or argument through the use of narrative, story, language, and / or characterization.
Lincoln Douglas Debate
Lincoln Douglas Debate centers on a proposition of value, which concerns itself with what ought to be instead of what is. A value is an ideal held by individuals, societies, governments, etc. One debater upholds each side of the resolution from a value perspective. To that end, no plan (or counterplan) should be offered. A plan is defined by the NFL as a formalized, comprehensive proposal for implementation. The debate should focus on logical reasoning to support a general principle instead of particular plans and counterplans. Debaters may offer generalized, practical examples or solutions to illustrate how the general principle could guide decisions. Topics change every two months.
Public Forum Debate
Public Forum Debate is an audience-friendly debate. Two pairs (teams) debate monthly controversial topics ripped from newspaper headlines. Rounds begin with a coin toss between the competing teams to determine side and order (Pro-Con or Con-Pro). Public Forum tests skills in argumentation, cross-examination, and refutation.
Three speakers will form a team and only two teams will participate in each debate. Two of the rounds of both the district and state competitions will be Prepared Debate rounds for which the motions will be announced in the invitations to the tournaments. The motions for the remaining Impromptu Debate rounds will be selected 30 minutes prior to the round from a list of six motions approved by the PHSSL Executive Board at their summer meeting. Teams will draw for sides – either proposing or opposing the motion. The order and placement of the Impromptu Debate rounds in the schedule of the tournament will be at the discretion of the tournament director.
This is individual debate in a large group setting. Legislative debaters research and write Congressional legislation they feel will better the society in which we live. At tournaments, debaters speak extemporaneously in defense of or against legislation submitted by attending schools. They listen to other members' speeches in their chamber, refute opposing arguments, and contribute new arguments to their own side. A student presiding officer facilitates the debate, recognizing speakers, questioners and ruling on motions. Judges evaluate legislators based on argumentation ability, speaking technique, knowledge of parliamentary procedure, and overall participation.