National Topic | September – January

High School Debate

“The feeling of getting a medal is one of the best ever, whether you’re a rookie or varsity debater – because you know that you were matched against people of your own skill level, and you were able to beat them. That makes you confident.”

Nora, Central High School

In this program, our students join policy debaters nationwide in researching, debating, and competing in rounds examining a topic chosen by the National Speech & Debate Association. The 2022-23 national policy debate resolution is: Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its security cooperation with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in one or more of the following areas: artificial intelligence, biotechnology, cybersecurity.

Students compete at up to 14 debate tournaments from September to December. Debaters are paired into partnerships (2-person teams) with a classmate at the same level of competitive mastery. Our debate divisions are designed to get students at every point of entry excited about debate:

  • Novice Division: Includes sub-levels designed for for new students reading at or below 9th grade English reading level, new students reading at or above 10th grade level, and those who have competed in debate during middle school. A basic packet including affirmative & negative cases of evidence, arguments, and refutations is provided to all novice competitors.

  • Junior Varsity: For experienced students who are ready for an open debate environment. JV debaters are entirely responsible for research, writing their own cases, and preparing to respond to unfamiliar arguments.
  • Varsity: For very experienced students who are ready for a high level of competition. Varsity debaters are responsible for mastery of research, generating original cases, responding to advanced arguments.

Get Involved with High School Debate

To volunteer as a judge during the high school season, sign up on our volunteer page.

Sign up to Volunteer