Access to competitions

Because we wish to meet the needs of your programs as they grow, you should contact our directors if you have students who wish to compete in an event that is not offered. If an event is non-competitive, we will still offer you the opportunity to perform and get feedback!

Typically, schools are allowed to enter up to 6 students/teams per event. You may add more than 6 students to a wait-list. If rooms are available, we will remove them from the wait-list and you will be notified.


How A Tournament Works

1. Arrival - Make sure to arrive with plenty of time to get settled in and allow for coaches / judges to register. Teams should aim to be at the tournament an hour before the competition is set to begin. Students should be sent to the school cafeteria to await "postings" while judges are to wait at the judges' lounge.

2. Registration - the coach of each team should check in at the registration desk (normally in the judge's lounge) where they will confirm the competitors and judges from his or her school, as well as any late adds/drops. Should a coach not sign their students in, there is a chance that they will not be able to participate in the tournament.

3. Postings - "postings" are commonly referred to as the moment that room assignments are released, normally with an individual from the tab room taping the competitor's room assignments to a wall for all to see. With this information, the competitors are to walk to their respective rooms to begin their debate or speech under the judge in the room. Judges will receive ballots and room assignments in the judges' lounge before "postings."

4. The Rounds - Depending on the event, students will either debate or be called up one at a time to give a speech. Students should wait for a judge before entering the room. During the round, competitors are expected to act professionally and only leave for emergencies. All cell phones should be turned off during rounds. Judges are expected to write critiques and comments on student ballots, but to not provide such critiques orally. When the round is over, the competitors may leave. The judge is expected to take his or her competitor ballots immediately to the judge's lounge to return them with competitor scores.

5. Awards Ceremony - Students will gather in an auditorium or other large meeting area to receive recognition for the top placement at the tournament. Introductions will be made and all top placing competitors should receive some form of award and crowd applause. Champions in each event are typically given a standing ovation. At the end of the awards ceremony, coaches may also collect ballots.



An Introduction of Speech and Debate Events offered by the Florida Debate Initiative, as explained by Cherian Koshy, formerly of the National Speech and Debate Association:


Lincoln Douglas
It is unique in that it is the only debate event in which competitors debate without a partner. Unlike Public Forum, which is primarily concerned about the costs and benefits of a certain policy or action, Lincoln-Douglas Debate centers on it’s ethical implications. As a result, LD is inherently values-based, allowing debaters to engage in philosophical and moral discourse in both the abstract and in the context of the real world. Both persuasive speaking and writing skills are strongly emphasized, as students must present a well-constructed case in support of both sides of a resolution, while also being able to think of their feet to deliver persuasive rebuttals to their opponent's arguments.

Public Forum Debate
Students compete with a partner and are required to debate questions of public policy, by reducing complicated issues to arguments that are persuasive, supported with evidence, and are also easily understood by a non-specialized audience. Topics change monthly and are wide ranging. This debate event focuses students on research, working cooperatively, constructing arguments, and understanding both sides of issues. Writing skills are emphasized as well as listening and speaking skills.


Original Oratory
A persuasive speaking event in which the student writes a speech on a problem of universal interest.  Success in Original Oratory requires the use of the language, skill in research, and talented delivery. This event is particular builds research and writing skills, and gives young people the ability to advocate for a solution that they personally care about.  This event teaches students to use language to persuade others to change their behavior; students choose topics about which they are passionate, learning to use their  writing and oral communication skills to create change. 

Dramatic Interpretation
It is often looked upon as one of the simpler and more mundane events in forensics, and while it may be one of the easiest to technically produce, we believe it can be confidently said it is one of the most difficult to perform  well.  In contrast Duo, Poetry, Prose, Humor, etc, Dramatic Interpretation gives the performer and audience a unique opportunity to  bond with a singular, central character on a deeply personal level. Shed of much of the flare and fluff that can come with other events, DI calls upon the performer to pay special attention to his or her  character and literature.  When one must spent ten minutes in the skin  of another person, nuances take precedence and all of the sudden a  character is more than just a two dimensional "funny voice," and instead becomes a full fledged human being with a story to tell.  As coach, our goal is to make sure that our students understand what story they are telling and why this particular person needs to tell it.  When the magnifying glass is held up that close, no superficial impression is  going to cut it.  Taking the time to garner a complete understanding of  the literature and walking in another's shoes is the way to become a  true and  powerful storyteller.

Humorous Interpretation
A common misconception is that the piece should only be funny. Although, the main point of an H.I. is to make your audience laugh… it is also to tell a story. To communicate to the audience a message - to have a point.  Most people who do Humorous Interpretation think that if they are the  funniest in the room, they will win. Much like Dramatic  Interpretation, it is imperative that the performer has relatable  characters and a story that your audience is invested in, and much like  Duo Interpretation, the most successful blend the humorous with the  dramatic in addition to creative blocking /tech. Characters, story,  humor, tech, & blocking are all what create a “good” Humorous  Interpretation. 

Duo interpretation
A fusion of various interpretations. However, it extends one predominant  characteristic above all other interpretations, it includes the  partnering of two performers. Depending on the stylistic choices of the  performers, the piece can be based solely or intermingled with elements  of humor and drama. Often this IE is predominantly popular amongst  audiences as it offers a more interactive and realistic portrayal of the story,  as most outstanding events that occur often involve multiple  people. This can be both the event's appeal and downfall as there begins to be a balancing act with each performer. What one may lack, the other must make up to fill the void. With Duo, the focus is on the well-being of the team, not the individual. The exchange and chemistry between each performer coupled with the ability to react, galvanizes the piece into  making passionate interpersonal connections within others. The emotion  must be palpable and visual although the ability to touch and make eye  contact is stripped. It is on common ground to believe that Duos must  have a rising action of humor paved by good intentions, and ultimately  clash with tragedy and submission, but this is not the case.  An exclusive focus on humor or drama may be brilliant if the performers are fully immersed in the subject of the piece and are able to be empathic  towards their characters. Thus, regardless of the type of piece it will resonate with the audience as we are empathetic beings by nature.

Oral Interpretation
(Prose and Poetry) is simplistic. This does not mean that they are easy,  but that they are grounded in interpretation. Prose and Poetry  performances excel when a competitor can interpret in the purest  definition of the word which means, “to explain the meaning of.” Therefore, our number one goal when coaching a competitor in these events is to help them convey a strong message. We will help competitors find literature that speaks to them, so that they can convey a message  that they care about. We will review the intricacies of dramatic  structure and delivery that highlight the thematic climax of a piece,  the part that really highlights the message, just as well as the  dramatic climax. We will address character development and performance  techniques as they apply to your Prose or Poetry.