Oaks Speech & Debate Club

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I see examples of NCFCA speech and debate?

NCFCA's YouTube channel has lots of great content, including examples of each competitive event from national champions. We also encourage you to sign up to judge at online tournaments in the spring semester..

Can my student compete in more than 1 style of debate?

Students will need to choose between Lincoln-Douglas or Team Policy debate because these run concurrently during tournaments. At the moment, we focus on Lincoln-Douglas instruction and practice at club. Debaters may choose to compete in moot court at national tournaments without conflict. We will facilitate a moot court study group if there is sufficient interest.

Which style of debate is better for my student?

Lincoln-Douglas is a good fit for abstract thinkers who like to debate the philosophical value of ideas affecting society. Team Policy is a good fit for concrete thinkers who like to debate the practical application of ideas in political issues.

While both styles of debate will require research and writing, be prepared for a higher workload in Team Policy. Team Policy rounds are twice as long, but speaking time is shared with a partner, unlike the 1:1 debate in Lincoln-Douglas. Debaters should consider the benefits and challenges of working with a partner before deciding.

As an example, if the resolutions were regarding immigration, Team Policy students would affirm or negate specific immigration policies, while Lincoln-Douglas competitors might debate whether immigration is a human right.

Can my student compete in more than 1 speech event?

Yes! Students are able to compete in up to 5 speech events per tournament. Before they graduate, we encourage students to try at least one speech from each category: platform, interpretation, and limited preparation.

Are students able to participate in speech or debate only, or must they do both?

Students may participate and compete in either speech or debate alone, but we highly encourage both! At a minimum, we recommend debaters compete in impromptu speech. Since debate consists of both prepared (i.e., constructive) and limited preparation (i.e., rebuttal) speeches, impromptu provides additional practice in thinking quickly on your feet!

Why are parents required to stay during club meetings?

Parental involvement is vital to our program! We want to equip students and parents. Our students depend upon your feedback in club meetings in order to benefit from regular practice in speech and debate. Parents are far better prepared to help their students, to provide valuable feedback, and to confidently judge at tournaments when they participate in club discussions.

What do I do with my younger children during club meetings?

Bring them with you! If you do not have alternate childcare, please know that Oaks is a family-friendly environment. For younger school-age siblings, we have a juniors program to teach them the basics of public speaking. Your pre-school children will need to stay with you. If you would like to organize a rotation of onsite childcare for pre-schoolers, please contact us.

Note (5/18/23): It is currently uncertain whether we will be able to hold the juniors program in the 2023-24 school year. If you are interested in possibly leading that program, please contact us.

Can my eager elementary-aged student join the juniors program without a registered older sibling at Oaks?

Space in the juniors program is limited, so siblings of older competitors have priority. However, we will accept juniors-only families if space allows. In this case, you will need to contact us to inquire about space before registering.

Note (5/18/23): It is currently uncertain whether we will be able to hold the juniors program in the 2023-24 school year. If you are interested in possibly leading that program, please contact us.

Is there a dress code at Oaks SDC?

What you wear is part of what you are communicating to others, as well as yourself. Because delivery is an essential aspect of speech and debate, parents and students will observe a modest business casual dress code at club meetings (i.e., for boys, khakis or dress pants with a dress shirt or polo shirt; for girls, skirts to mid-knee or dress pants with a blouse. No jeans, shorts, t-shirts, or foam flip-flops).

How long do tournaments last?

Tournaments are typically 3-4 days in length, with each day of competition running about 12 hours long. Rounds alternate between debate and speech. There are 6 preliminary rounds of debate and 3 preliminary rounds of speech (divided into 2 alternating "patterns" of 5 speech events each) before elimination rounds begin. Qualifying tournament season runs January-April. In the 2023 season, there were 6 qualifying opportunities, including 2 online tournaments. Oaks members are required to commit to participating in at least 1 qualifying tournament per year.

What is a qualifying tournament?

A qualifying tournament is one in which students may qualify for their Regional Championship by making it to elimination rounds in speech or debate. Marathons (i.e., practice tournaments) and third-party tournaments (e.g., Ziggy) provide helpful practice, but students cannot qualify for the Regional Championship by their participation in these events.

How far might I have to travel for a tournament?

If the tournament is online, you may not have to leave your home! In 2023, in-person tournaments were held in Montgomery, Asheville, Baton Rouge, Memphis, and Huntsville. The 2024 National Championship will be held at Anderson University in Anderson, SC.

How do I become a member of Oaks SDC?

Visit our membership page and carefully read through the membership requirements and the 3 positional statements. If you agree, then follow the links to pay the appropriate membership fee and complete the registration form. If you have questions, please contact us.