Speech and Debate: Explained

A rundown of Speech and Debate tournaments.


Justine Ha and Elena Khan

From Dec. 14 to Dec 16, MVHS Speech and Debate attended the Winter SCU Invitational at Santa Clara University, which is one of the 20 tournaments MVHS speech and debate attends this school year. The first day, Dec. 14, was for the debate team, while the second and third day, Dec. 15 to 16, was for the speech team.

The members’ parents are the judges, who score the tournament rounds. The parents judge the speakers’ organization (how the speech flows and if there is a clear beginning), middle and end. They also grade delivery, which includes eye contact, posture, inflection and content.

Speech has three main categories that members can choose from: original, spontaneous and interpretation. Original is when the student memorizes their written speech, interpretation is when the student acts out a certain piece from a book to convey a social issue and spontaneous is when the student presents a speech on the spot with a given prompt.

For debate, the events include parliamentary, public forum and Lincoln Douglas. Parliamentary is a large group debate, public forum is two people against two people and Lincoln Douglas is one person against one person.

The club is split into junior varsity and varsity. The club presidents seniors Eesha Moona and Karl Goeltner start the weekly meetings every Tuesday afternoon in room B103. The students are able to choose what tournament they go to and receive feedback by the captains to be further prepared for the tournament of their choice.

Members also choose which event to compete in. Everyone is guaranteed a spot to speak on the first day of the tournament, but only semi-finalists are invited back on the second day.

Check out the infographics below to learn more about MVHS Speech and Debate members’ experiences at their first tournament, as well as advice to members potentially going into their first tournament.