People talking to walls, getting up at 6 AM on Saturday mornings, and pages and pages of research-all signs and symptoms of Speech & Debate. As the season comes to a close, I'm sure all speechies can emit a sigh of sadness.
Many do not know the basics of Speech & Debate and how dedicated each and every member has to be. Speech involves getting up early on Saturday mornings (even leaving the Friday before, for some tournaments) and going to various schools in October through about the end of January. At every tournament, competitors go through 3-4 rounds, either speaking or debating on their topic. A judge is in the room and decides who wins each round.
One of the most popular speech events, prose & poetry, consists of a dramatic reading of various poems and short selections of stories. Many consider this a good event to start in. Humor consists of one person giving a humorous speech that could be filled with multiple characters and accents. Impromptu is simply receiving a quote, and having a minute or two to come up with a five minute speech on the spot. Youngstown District, the district that contains many of the local school districts, is considered one of the best in the state in speech.
There are a few different types of debate in the Youngstown District. These include Lincoln-Douglass Debate, a one on one type of debate, Public Forum, a two on two type of debate, and Congressional Debate. Congressional Debate is the newest to this district, only being added last year. In this type of debate, 15 to 20 students gather in a room and debate pieces of legislation that are made from other Congressional Debaters across Ohio. Participants give speeches on each piece, either for or against it, and the debate comes in when people are questioned by other competitors.
The top competitors from each school will compete at the Youngstown district Tournament on January 28th, and from that the state competitors will be chosen. The state tournament will be held at Jackson High School, in Canton, on March 4th and 5th. Schools will come from all over the state and will compete to see who will win the tournament. The National Speech & Debate Tournament will be held at Indianapolis, Indiana on June 10th-June 15th.