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.

21st Century Debate League

The Fox Valley region (Appleton/Oshkosh area) is an example of a local circuit that holds regular contests (listed to the right). Dates, locations, and resolutions topics for fall 2018 include:

  • Sep. 15 – Hortonville – 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.
  • Sep. 29 – Winneconne – Resolved: Single-sex schools provide a better education and opportunity than co-ed schools
  • Oct. 13 – Manawa – Resolved: The drinking age should be lowered to 18.
  • Oct. 27HortonvilleHalloween costumes encouraged! – Resolved: Alternative medicine should be federally regulated.
  • Nov. 10 – Winneconne – Resolved: Businesses should be held more accountable for equal pay.
  • Nov. 17 – Hortonville – Fun day of argumentation practice – No judges needed
  • Dec. 1 – Hortonville – Resolved: The voting age of the United States should be lowered to 16.
  • Dec. 8 – WHSFA State Contest at UW-Madison (using December NSDA topic, announced Nov. 1).

General information:

  • All tournaments start at 9:00 am, so try to arrive a little bit before that; tournaments usually finish between 2 and 3 pm (depending on the number of outrounds we do).
  • Registration is due via email by the end of the day the Wednesday before the tournament.
  • One judge is needed for every two teams (or fraction thereof).
  • We do allow students to debate “superman” (alone), though we’d always prefer teams.  If you have a single student, please reach out to this group and see if anyone else has a singleton. We can pair kids up from different schools easily.  With technology today the two kids can communicate and write cases together/debate together.
  • Keep the tournament host apprised of any changes with your team (adds/drops/changes in people) so they can update things on their end.  As you leave Saturday morning, text the host any changes or drops, or just to say “We’re all here and on our way!”  The host can then start pairing the first round.

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.

Calendar

Upcoming Debate Dates
  • 21stC @Hortonvilel
    December 1, 2018
    Hortonville High School, 155 Warner St, Hortonville, WI 54944, USA

  • WHSFA State Debate
    December 8, 2018
    University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706, USA

WHSFA State Festival

December 8, 2018: 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).