About Us

Founded in 1952, the Washington Arlington Catholic Forensic League (WACFL) is a speech and debate league open to all schools, public and private, in the greater Washington DC Metropolitan area. It is the local unit of the National Catholic Forensic League (NCFL). The mission of WACFL is to assist in the development of articulate leaders and the promotion of speech and debate curricular and extracurricular activities.

WACFL provides a series of tournaments throughout the school year. Students in grades 7-12 are eligible to compete for their member schools. Junior high schools can compete either independently or as members of the high school they would normally feed into. Students in grades 7-8 can compete in the preliminary and MetroFinal tournaments, but they cannot compete at NCFL Nationals.

Four styles of debate are offered: Policy, Lincoln-Douglas (LD), Public Forum (PF), and Student Congress. Seven styles of Speech (aka Forensics or Individual Events) are offered. Five preliminary tournaments in each event are held on Saturdays each month from October through February. At these tournaments, students can qualify to compete at the WACFL Metropolitan Championship (MetroFinal) Tournaments held in late February and early March. These tournaments determine the students who will represent WACFL at the NCFL Grand National Tournament held over Memorial Day weekend each year.

WACFL is separate from the Catholic Church and is not organized or governed by it. However, it is structured into two regions which correspond to the Arlington & Washington Catholic Dioceses. These regions compete together at preliminary tournaments, but separately at MetroFinals. All students competing at WACFL tournaments are eligible to earn points in the National Speech and Debate Association Honor Society.

There is no paid staff at WACFL – we are an all-volunteer organization. The Executive Committee consists of the coaches or adult representatives of each school holding membership in the League. The Executive Committee determines League policy in all matters not covered by the Constitution or its By-Laws. Tournaments are managed by the League’s Executive Council, which consists of 13 members elected by the Executive Committee.

Annual dues are paid by member schools. WACFL works hard to keep dues as low as possible, so as many schools as possible are able to participate.