Competition Events

Below, you will find links to details on each of the events offered at WACFL tournaments. This information is a first step to assist students, coaches and judges in learning about the events we offer. It is not a rules document, but a tool for understanding the fundamentals. Participating in tournaments is the best way to learn about the intricacies of an event. Your first tournament is the hardest. Once you try speech and debate, we hope you leave excited to join us again!

Speech events

Speech (sometimes called forensics or individual events) comprises seven different events, grouped into two categories: Interpretative and Public Address. Beginning students typically practice and become skilled in a single event. After gaining experience, students have the option of competing in two different events. At tournaments, students typically perform in a classroom in front of 5 other students and one adult judge.

Interpretative events are performance focused, ideal for students with an interest in theater or acting. Students select a “cutting” from an existing play or piece of literature, memorize, and present it. Students have the option of using the same piece for the entire competition year or they can change pieces.

Public Address events require students to prepare a speech that can answer a question, share a belief, persuade an audience, or educate the listener. These events are ideal for students interested in current events, government, politics or philosophy. They are an excellent alternative to competitive debate, which requires extensive advance preparation and research. Public address events are:

Debate events

Debate consists of 4 different events. Public Forum and Policy are partner events - teams of two students debate each other. In Lincoln Douglas and Student Congress, students compete as individuals. At Policy, Public Forum and Lincoln-Douglas tournaments, students are split into Novice, Junior Varsity and Varsity divisions. Competitors in Student Congress are assigned to a “chamber” of approximately 15 - 20 students, with all experience levels combined in the same chamber.

WACFL tournaments use topics selected by the National Speech and Debate Association. Policy topics remain the same for the entire school year. Lincoln-Douglas topics change every two months. Public Forum topics remain the same for Sept./Oct. and Nov./Dec. Beginning in January, PF topics change monthly. Student Congress topics are chosen by WACFL league officials and change for each tournament. They are provided to students and coaches approx. three weeks before each tournament.

At debate tournaments, students compete before one adult judge. Typically, there are no observers. Click the links below to learn more about each event.