May 1-2 KSHSAA State Championship
June 15-19 National Debate and Speech Association National Tournament-Dallas, Texas
More Available in August of 2015
Policy debaters must prepare to support and/or oppose a resolution that is selected annually by a nationwide vote. Debaters research the topic and prepare both affirmative and negative arguments, because they must debate both sides. A policy debate team consists of two debaters except at four-speaker tournaments where each four-speaker team consists of two debaters who debate affirmative and two debaters who debate negative. Each debater has an 8-minute constructive speech, a 5 minute rebuttal speech and a 3-minute cross-examination, typically lasts about an hour and fifteen minutes to an hour and a half. Policy debate is only during first semester except for those who qualify for nationals.
A student congress is a simulation of the legislative process that focuses on the speaking phase of congress. Little attempt is made to deal with other phases. Students write legislation--our district specifies how many bills and/or resolutions each school is allowed. Students are assigned chambers. We usually have at least a Senate, a House 1, a House 2 and a Novice House. Each chamber sets its own agenda and debates the merit of proposed legislation with alternating pro/con 3-minute speeches. At the conclusion of debating each item, a vote is taken on its passage. Congress awards are determined by vote of the chamber. Scorers nominate those students whom they believe have done outstanding jobs. The chamber votes on those nominees. Winners usually receive medals. School competition is also held and the schools whose entries receive the most speaking points usually receive plaques. A national congress is held each summer at the NFL national tournament. Our district sends two senators and two representatives.
Lincoln Douglas debaters are given a resolution that focuses on values rather than on policy. A typical topic (March/April LD resolution for 2004) is Resolved: As a general principle, individuals have an obligation to value the common good above their own interests. The new KSHSAA topic is announced in early February each year and is the NFL March/April topic. LD debate involves two debaters rather than two teams of debaters. Each debater gets the same amount of speaking time although the affirmative has one more speech. As in policy debate, each speaker has constructive and rebuttal speeches, as well as a cross-examination. A typical LD debate lasts 35 to 45 minutes. In Kansas, LD debate is offered only second semester. LD is also a national event.
Extemp is an event involving current events topics (questions) drawn from the important issues of the day. There are two main types of extemp: foreign extemp (FX) and U.S. extemp (USX--also called domestic extemp or DX). Foreign extemp involves foreign countries and U.S. foreign policy. U.S. extemp involves domestic policies and issues and also U.S. foreign policy. Extempers research important topic areas and prepare files. Most extempers use a "cut file" containing clippings from newspapers and magazines. In competition, extempers draw three questions and have thirty minutes to prepare a speech addressing one of the questions. Maximum time for the speech is 7 minutes. In Kansas, we do this event second semester only. The NFL national tournament offers competion in both FX and USX.
An oration is a persuasive speech. Orations do not have to--but many deal with a problem of national or international significance (AIDS, race crimes, etc.). Other orations deal with more personal issues (positive thinking, inner beauty, etc.). In Kansas, the preference at the district level is an oration dealing with a significant issue. Many judges prefer a problem-solution approach. Orations may be a maximum of 10 minutes and may contain no more than 150 quoted words. Oration is another national event.
An informative speech is a speech to inform. The goal is to provide the listener with information he/she did not already possess or new insight into previously held information. Typical topics run the gamut from the bizarre (spontaneous human combustion) to the mundane (the common cold) to the scientific/technical (the information superhighway). An informative in Kansas may be up to 7 minutes long. At the NFL national tournament, the event is offered as a supplementary event called expository and may be no more than 5 minutes.
Prose and poetry are (at least in Kansas) supposed to be read from the printed page. They are readings. Our rules technically "prohibit" total memorization because they require use of a manuscript, but most good competitors have the piece so well in mind that if it is not memorized, it is nearly so. The idea is (in prose) to take a story or (in poetry) a poem and make it come alive for the listener by putting in the emotions that the author had in mind when writing the piece. In Kansas, this event is extremely popular--probably because some misguided individuals foolishly think it is easier than other events. It is not unusual to have sixty to eighty entries in some of the larger local tournaments in one of these events alone. These events are offered at our state championship tournaments with a 7 minute maximum. They are supplementary events at the NFL nationals with a five-minute maximum.
Duo and Duet are events that involve two people presenting a scene--usually from a play. Duo involves interp and duet is acting. One difference involves focus: in interpretation, the focus is off-stage; in acting, it is on-stage. Also, interpreters may have multiple characters; actors are usually restricted to one per actor. Interpreters are allowed no properties; actors are allowed a table and two chairs. In Kansas, some performers perform the same scene (at different tournaments) as a Duo and a Duet. Almost all tournaments have duet; some tournaments offer both. There are just enough tournaments that offer duo for a team to go through a season without having to cross-over. Beginning with the 1998-99 season, duo was considered "a like event" allowing duos to qualify as duets for state tournament competition. Maximum time limit for both is ten minutes. Duo Interp has been an NFL national event since 1995-96.
HI and DI are events that are commonly cut from plays, although other literature may also be used (as long as it is published, printed material). They are memorized dramatic pieces which may be monologues (one character), but more often involve multiple characters. The performer presents the piece to an audience or judge. If there are multiple characters, he/she is expected to make those characters distinct. In Kansas, HI and DI may be in competition with Humorous Solo Acting or Dramatic Solo Acting--which allow the use of a chair and more liberal movement restrictions. Maximum time limit for this event, which is also a national event, is ten minutes.
Impromptu Speaking is a consolation event at NFL nationals which became a KSHSAA state event for 6A and 5A in 2007-2008. A contestant draws three topics, chooses one, and has five minutes to prepare a two-to-five minute speech drawn from whatever thoughts and information he or she already possesses. Improvised Duet Acting is popular among smaller schools [4-3-2-1A] and is sometimes offered at 5A and 6A schools. It is a KSHSAA event, but the larger school state championships [5A and 6A] have elected not to have it in order to offer two categories of extemp. Basically it is an acting event were pairs of contestants draw topics and has thirty minutes to prepare an improvised four to seven minute scene. Public Forum is the newest debate event, beginning in 2002-2003. It is offered at both NFL and NCFL but is not a KSHSAA event. Topics change monthly, speeches are shorter, and instead of cross-examinations, there are cross-fires where debaters can both ask and answer questions.