Debate Contests

Season Overview

Participating in debate is easy! All you have to do is contact us to express your interest, and we’ll connect you with our supportive network of educators.  We encourage local circuits of schools to hold invitational contests throughout the fall semester, and will provide support staff to help launch debates in your part of the state! For more information on the accessible Public Forum Debate format, see our Learn to Debate page.

The Fox Valley region (Appleton) is an example of a local circuit that holds regular contests (listed to the right). Some special dates in 2017-18 include (registration is usually due on the Wednesday immediately before a Saturday event):

  • September 16 – Waupaca – Season Opener with focus on introducing debate and discussing what a good resolution looks like.  We’ll ask teams to create resolutions for the next weekend.  We’ll also have some fun pop-up debates to practice argumentation and get everyone excited to debate.  This day will be great for newbies and we’ll still have fun activities for experienced kids.
  • September 23 – Hortonville – Impromptu debate tournament where students practice putting cases together to debate at least two rounds.  Please bring judges for this tournament, but you don’t need to assign teams.  We can pair students that morning (experienced with novices), and they will have time to write a Pro and Con case before debating each side.  Teams should bring  resolution ideas.
  • November 18 – Hortonville – If your debater earned an award during a past season (or want to give it a try, s/he should try debating solo (“superman”).

Debate FAQs

Where and when are contests?

Visit the Speech Contests, Theatre Contests, Debate Contests, or Middle Level contests pages for a list by date, including locations. Please note: each local area sets its own schedules, so the State Office posts these on our website only when we have been notified.

Who are my local contest coordinators (high school)?

See the Districts/Sections page for a list of contacts, along with a map showing the geographic regions of the state.

How do I register for contests?
Visit the Speech Contests, Theatre Contests, or Debate Contests pages for a button/link that will take you to the online registration platform for registering. Each of those pages also will contain tutorial information on how to register. Most Middle Level contests handle registration directly through email, although some have moved to using SpeechWire; contact the host for more information (host contact information is available when clicking a particular contest in the Middle Level upcoming dates calendar.
How do I suggest a change to rules?

Each summer, advisory committees for each activity meet to review the previous contest season and propose changes to the Board of Control. Contact us with concerns and/or suggestions, and we will forward these to the respective committee(s).

Can homeschool or online school students participate?

Homeschool students may either participate with an area public or private school,** or as part of a homeschool association that joins the WHSFA.

**WHSFA supports the local school district policy for interscholastic athletics/academic contests. For example, if a home-schooled student is allowed to join the basketball team, a home-schooled student may participate in Theatre, Speech, and Debate activities.

Here is the official policy from the WHSFA’s Constitution/Bylaws:

SECTION III: Membership

Wisconsin homeschooled/online/virtual school students:

  1. Conditions: Students must be members of a homeschool association or enrolled full time in an online school. They cannot participate individually, unless as part of their attendance-area school district, if the school district allows participation.
  2. Procedures:
    1. Homeschooling associations may apply for membership by registering and paying the yearly dues. Online/virtual schools headquartered in Wisconsin may apply under the same conditions.
    2. As members, their students are eligible to participate in all WHSFA events in the District/Section where the homeschool association is located. Students living in Wisconsin who are enrolled in online/virtual schools that are members of WHSFA may participate in the subdistrict and district festivals in which the online/virtual school is located.


Upcoming Debate Dates

Nothing from July 6, 2018 to February 6, 2019.

WHSFA State Festival

December 9, 2017: will use the December National Speech & Debate Association Public Forum topic (announced November 1, so your team can start brainstorming ideas and writing cases through the month of November).