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That's So SA

Speech & Debate

You'll Have a Say

Speech & Debate develops confidence, poise, critical thinking, and self-expression. Speech students perform polished orations and dramatic interpretations, individually or in pairs, at competitions in the Bay Area. The Policy Debate team engages in intensive research and evidence-based argumentation on a nationally selected resolution and competes in the Golden Gate Speech Association. In the last four years, both speech and debate students have qualified for state championship competitions.

Speech & Debate News

List of 3 news stories.

  • SA Debaters Receive Third Bid for Tournament of Champions

    SA Debate has been busy competing "at" Arizona State since Friday morning in a national circuit invitational. While we hoped to compete there in person, our students recovered well from our pivot back to online debate and were very successful. Jack Jacobs '22 and Mateo Mijares '22 earned a winning record in their preliminary debates, which scored them a spot in the elimination rounds. They advanced automatically through the double octofinal elimination round due to their high position in the bracket, and then reached the octofinal round, where they defeated a team from Illinois on a 3-0 unanimous decision from their judges. It was at this moment when they received their third “bid” to the Tournament of Champions. 
    Debaters must earn two bids to qualify to the national championship, much like basketball teams must earn a bid to compete in March Madness. Bids are given at various national-circuit tournaments throughout the year, once students win enough debates and reach a specified elimination round. In November, Jack and Mateo made SA Debate history by earning a second bid and securing their spot at the Tournament of Champions. They continue to make history as they enter their "bid-collecting" phase and are stacking up more than the required two bids. They make up one of approximately 30 policy debate teams in the nation who have gotten more than two this year, which is securing our program as one of the most elite in the country. 
    Congratulations to Jack and Mateo! 
    Read More
  • JV Debate at Golden Gate Tournament

    On November 14, Debate participated in our second league tournament of the year in the Golden Gate Speech Association. Our JV teams had great success; the only two undefeated teams in the JV division were from SA. The teams of Zadie DeFord '24/Louise Estella '24 and Lukas Updegraff '24/Henry Xiao '23 both went undefeated, winning all three of their debate rounds that day against teams from all over the Bay Area.

    Congratulations to our JV team! 
    Read More
  • League of Champions

    For the first time in SA Debate history, we have qualified a policy debate team to the prestigious Tournament of Champions! The TOC is the most competitive and selective national championship in high school forensics, with just the top teams on the national circuit being invited to compete based on year-long success at invitationals (think Speech & Debate's equivalent of March Madness).

    To qualify to the TOC, teams must earn two "bids" at national circuit invitationals by reaching late rounds in the elimination bracket of the tournament. To earn our spot at nationals, especially in the first semester, is an amazing accomplishment for our team. 

    Jack Jacobs '22 and Mateo Mijares '22 received this honor this month, after debating at the Damus Hollywood Invitational (typically in Los Angeles, CA). Upon earning a winning record in their preliminary rounds, they went on to win their octofinal elimination round on a unanimous decision from their panel of judges, and thereafter, earned their second TOC bid.

    Congratulations to Jack and Mateo, and we are looking forward to making our policy debate debut in May at the Tournament of Champions in Lexington, KY! 
    Read More

Event Descriptions

Policy Debate
Policy is a fast-paced debate event that tests a student’s research, analysis, and strategic thinking skills. Debaters must understand and defend both sides of a resolution in teams of two, and use high-quality evidence to back up their claims.

Congressional Debate
Congress models the U.S. legislative process, and involves writing, researching, and arguing for or against bills in a group setting. Students are judged based on their poise, research skills, and ability to deliver spontaneous and persuasive speeches.

Duo Interpretation
This highly theatrical speech event involves two students performing scenes from a film, book, play, or other published work. Students must display emotion, range, and precision in their delivery, as well as show chemistry and coordination with their partner.

Dramatic Interpretation
If you have a flair for the dramatic, then DI is the event for you. Competitors use a play, story, or other published work and perform a selection that demonstrates their ability to convey emotion and display character development with the use of a dramatic text.

Humorous Interpretation
This interpretation event tests a student’s ability to interpret texts and deliver a humorous speech with comedic timing. Competitors must choose an excerpt from a published work and perform a speech that showcases their delivery skills and ability to portray multiple characters.

Oratorical Interpretation
This classic speech event involves competitors performing a published speech that has already been delivered in a public forum. This event tests the student’s poise and delivery, as well as their ability to interpret the intent of the original speech and provide context to its contemporary meaning.

Thematic Interpretation
Using selections from Prose, Poetry and Drama students create a performance around a central theme. Program Oral Interpretation is designed to test a student’s ability to intersplice multiple types of literature into a single, cohesive performance. A manuscript is required and may be used as a prop within the performance if the performer maintains control of the manuscript at all times.

Original Oratory
Students deliver a self-written, ten-minute speech on a topic of their choosing. Limited in their ability to quote words directly, competitors craft an argument using evidence, logic, and emotional appeals. Topics range widely, and can be informative or persuasive in nature. The speech is delivered from memory.
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