Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Speech & Debate

Can you believe it? I took my camera to the Speech & Debate tournament last Saturday, and I actually used it! Now I've got some photos to share so you'll have an idea of what we do at the tournaments.

We're a part of a Speech & Debate club that competes under the National Christian Forensics and Communications Association (NCFCA). My Boy has been competing for 3 years now. This year he is competing in Team Policy debate, Open Interpretation, and Impromptu speaking. This is My Girl's first year participating, and she is competing in Open Interpretation and Expository speaking.

Open Interpretation, like all "interps," is a category where you take a piece from literature and "bring it to life," in other words, act it out word for word from the piece. Last year, My Boy did a selection from Wind in the Willows; this year he's doing Yellow & Pink by William Steig, and My Girl is doing Be a Perfect Person in Just Three Days by Stephen Manes.

Impromptu speaking is where you draw 3 topics from an envelope and you have 2 minutes to prepare a 5 minute speech on one of the topics.

Expository speaking is what you normally think of when you think of speeches. This is a speech on a topic of your choice, using visual aids such as display boards.

Team Policy debate is a debate between 2 teams of 2 members each, debating a set resolution. This year's resolution is: "Resolved: That the United States Federal Government should significantly change its policy toward India."

There are many other categories to compete in -- these are just the ones my kids are doing this year.

This is challenging stuff, and a tiring event, but my kids love it. They spend the fall preparing for tournament season, which runs from winter through spring. We are a part of a region that includes NC, SC, Georgia, and Florida, so they are competing against kids from all over those 4 states. In April there is a Regional tournament, where the semi-finalists from the earlier tournaments in the region compete. Then a national tournament follows in May, where kids from all over the country compete against each other.

It's a terrific opportunity for them to meet people, make friends, and gain experience speaking in front of audiences about topics that matter.

Last Saturday was a practice tournament that our local club sponsored. We had about 50-60 kids from NC and SC. Here are some of the photos I took:

Here, My Boy and his debate partner were the negative team, against the team that eventually had the winning record for the day. These pictures were actually taken after the round was over, so the guys are making notes and talking about how things went.

This is a debater giving one of his speeches.

Here are some parents doing their jobs -- judging speeches & debates, checking ballots, assigning timers, and tabulating results are just a few of the jobs parents do. Speech & Debate is definitely NOT a drop-off activity!

These are some of the students who participated, during "off" time in the gathering room. The practice tournaments last from 8:30 to 5:30; actual tournaments go all day for 3 days.

This is how most of us feel by the end of the day!

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