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.

  • Speech and Debate Returns to Competition

    The Varsity Speech and Debate team has had a busy return to competition this semester. The debate team first competed in a national circuit invitational tournament at Arizona State, where the team of Jack Jacobs '22 and Mateo Mijares '22 earned an impressive 4-2 winning record. They then went on to debate in the double octofinal elimination round at the tournament - their fourth elimination round appearance on the national circuit this season! 
    Next, speech and debate both headed to the Martin Luther King Jr. Invitational tournament, typically held in Union City at James Logan High School. The team of Maddy Jannes '22 and Tabatha Stewart '22 earned a winning record in varsity policy debate. Meanwhile, Bert Garner '21 and Aubrey Elder '23 impressed their judges in varsity Impromptu, and cleared to the octofinal elimination round, a notable feat for a huge field of over 100 entries from around the country. Veronica Aranda '21 had a great run in varsity Dramatic Interpretation, clearing to the quarterfinal elimination round and ultimately making it to the semifinals. This impressive finish also earned Veronica her fourth bid to the Tournament of Champions! 

    The Varsity Debate team also competed at our third Golden Gate Speech Association league tournament of the year. The team of Maddy Jannes '22 andJack Jacobs '22 competed in varsity policy debate, and were the only team in the division who finished the tournament with an undefeated record. 
    Congratulations to the team! Next up, varsity debate heads to Golden Desert Invitational, typically held in Las Vegas, NV, and the speech team competes in their third league tournament of the year. 
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  • Debate Competes in Fall Faceoff

    Last weekend, the debate team competed at the New York Fall Faceoff, a national circuit invitational typically located in Mamaroneck, New York. In Varsity debate, the team of Adri Kornfein '21 and Zoe Price '21 received a 4-2 winning record, which earned them a spot in the double octofinal elimination round. They won their first elimination round, defeating a team from Chicago in front of a panel of judges, and then advanced to the octofinal round, their first Tournament of Champions "bid" round of the year! 

    In JV debate, the team of Maddy Jannes '22 and Iris Anderson '23 earned a 4-1 winning record in their preliminary rounds, and entered elimination rounds as the division's third seed. From there, they won their quarterfinal elimination round and entered the semifinals. They were ultimately named co-champions of the JV division! Additionally, Maddy was voted by the judges as 2nd place speaker out of nearly 50 competitors, and Iris won 4th place in the division.
    Congratulations to the team! 
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  • Speech and Debate Earns National Honor

    This week, our Speech and Debate team received significant national recognition from the National Speech and Debate Association, the organization that oversees competition for the thousands of schools across the country that participate in speech and debate. The team earned membership in the Association's prestigious 100 Club, which recognizes outstanding programs that gain more than 100 strength points over the course of a year. School strength is determined by the number of honor degrees earned by students and coaches, so this award is the result of every team member's hard work and dedication. Congratulations to the whole team! 
    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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