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.

  • Debate Shines at Grapevine Invitational

    Last weekend, the debate team participated in our first national online tournament of the season. Our team competed against hundreds of other students from dozens of states across the country on the topic of criminal justice reform. All of our students who competed won multiple debates! The team of Adri Kornfein '21 and Zoe Price '21 earned a winning record in varsity policy debate at the Grapevine Invitational (typically held in Grapevine, TX), and finished in the top 22% of teams, making it into the elite top 32 out of nearly 100 teams competing in their field. They advanced to the double octofinal elimination round, and though they ultimately didn't advance on a split 2-1 decision from the judges, their early success at this large, national circuit tournament sets us up for a great season. Congrats to these students! 
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  • SA Speech WINS Nebraska Storm of Speeches

    Three SA speech students traveled to Omaha, Nebraska to compete in the Storm of Speeches tournament last week. Veronica Aranda '21 and Christian Hernandez '20 wowed their judges with their performance of Lin Manuel Miranda's musical, 21 Chump Street. They ultimately won first place in the tournament, and earned their final "bid" to the Tournament of Champions, where they have the opportunity to represent Sonoma Academy at the national level in May. Bert Garner '21 was ranked third in two of his rounds and earned several ribbons during the tournament.
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  • Debaters Featured in Healdsburg Tribune

    Ivy Brenner '23 and Tabatha Stewart '22 were featured this week in an article in the Healdsburg Tribune newspaper. The promising Novice team has been performing well in many regional and national competitions; the article celebrates their achievements so far this year. Congratulations to Ivy and Tabatha!
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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.
2500 Farmers Lane 
Santa Rosa, CA 95404 
(707) 545-1770

Sonoma Academy Is... the only private, independent, college preparatory high school in Sonoma County. On our beautiful campus nestled at the base of Taylor Mountain in Southeastern Santa Rosa, our students are able to explore their interests and passions in a rigorous and inspiring environment that develops a lifelong love of learning and prepares them for college and beyond.

Sonoma Academy admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.