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Douglas Wine - Holy Ghost Catholic School, New Mexico

Why Become a Member?

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As the largest interscholastic speech and debate organization serving middle school and high school students in the United States, we provide:

  • Educators with the resources and support to teach and coach.
  • Students with the resources and conditions to build confidence, improve communication, and increase critical thinking skills.
  • Infrastructure for speech and debate competitions around the world. 
  • A Platform for youth voices to be heard and celebrated, which culminates with an annual National Tournament, the pinnacle of Public Speaking.
"SPEECH AND DEBATE HAS GIVEN ME THE CONFIDENCE TO SPEAK TO OTHERS BOLDLY AND KINDLY. IN INTERVIEWS, DEBATES, DISCUSSIONS, AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN, SPEECH AND DEBGATE HAS PROVIDED ME THE ABILITY TO EFFECTIVELY COMMUNICATE-AND LISTEN- IN A WOLRD THAT NEEDS IT MORE THAN EVER" - Camille Furst
I'M THE PRODUCT OF A SPEECH AND DEBATE PROGRAM THAT FOSTERED A CULTURE OF CONFIDENCE, CHALLENGED CRITICAL THOUGHT, AND CREATED STRONG COMMUNICATORS. TWO DECADES LATER, I'M SO GRATEFUL FOR HOW THOSE SKILLS HELPED SHAPE MY CAREER AS AN EMMY AWARD-WINNING JOURNALIST SEEKING TRUTH, HOLDING THE POWERFUL ACCOUNTABLE, AND GIVING VOICE TO THE VOICELESS." - Ryan Wood

Your Students

With access to NSDA membership, your students will:

 

    • Develop the communication skills employers value
    • Be eligible to earn a portion of the $150K in college scholarships we give annually
    • Learn to analyze problems, discuss and debate them constructively, and work together to create solutions
    • Earn local, state, and national recognition for achievement
    • Build their skills with access to helpful training tools
    • Compete to attend the National Tournament, the pinnacle of public speaking, where 54 national champions are crowned.

Your School or District

Administrators report the following impacts from NSDA membership:

 

    • Improved classroom performance
    • Higher student confidence and self esteem
    • Increased attendance rates
    • Increased school pride
    • Increased engagement in the classroom
    • Higher test scores
    • New recognition opportunities

How to Start a Team

Contact us to get your program started.

We can help you advocate for a program and find the right coach! With our help, anyone can teach and coach speech and debate. Are you at the district-level and representing more than one school? Inquire about bulk membership options

There is an existing local and national infrastructure of support.

    • When you join the NSDA, you have access to educational resources, competitive opportunities, and support from experts.
    • Coaches have access to online courses to learn the ropes and accreditation and recognition opportunities.
    • For high school, a local team of elected district leaders oversees competition, mentors new coaches, and facilitates learning and connection in your area.
    • If you have someone offering to be the coach, great! We can train anyone from parents to math teachers. If you’re still searching, we have a free jobs board where you can post the position. There may be someone with interest or speech and debate experience already working at your school! Learn more about finding a coach here.

 

  • SCHOOL MEMBERSHIP
HIGH SCHOOL: $149
annual dues
MIDDLE SCHOOL: $75
annual dues
ANNUAL
  • STUDENT MEMBERSHIP
HIGH SCHOOL: $20 one-time enrollment for entirety of high school MIDDLE SCHOOL: $10 one-time enrollment elementary up to high school ONE-TIME
  • COACH MEMBERSHIP
$20 one-time enrollment ONE-TIME
RESOURCE PACKAGE $199 optional annual subscription ANNUAL
Grants are available for new schools and Title I programs

Ready to join?

 

Welcome! Your new coach can sign up and find all the resources they need to get started, or you can email info@speechanddebate.org for help starting a program.

A Letter from 2022 Administrator of the Year, Leonidas Patterson

Leonidas Patterson

It is vitally important for campus administrators across the United States to continue to support speech and debate in our schools. The academic rewards are not just anecdotal but are supported by years of research. Studies have shown that students who participate in competitive speech and debate activities are more likely to have higher academic achievement and an overall better educational experience. Through the process of developing an argument, crafting a speech, or interpreting a piece of literature, students become better thinkers, writers, and communicators.  Read more »

It is vitally important for campus administrators across the United States to continue to support speech and debate in our schools. The academic rewards are not just anecdotal but are supported by years of research. Studies have shown that students who participate in competitive speech and debate activities are more likely to have higher academic achievement and an overall better educational experience. Through the process of developing an argument, crafting a speech, or interpreting a piece of literature, students become better thinkers, writers, and communicators.  Read more »

Leonidas Patterson

Administrator Testimonials

[Speech and debate] helps students come to terms with their identity and teaches empathy. At an age when bullying is so common, speech and debate celebrates kids who often fall through the cracks in more traditional settings. Specifically, girls are encouraged to be smart and argumentative as much as boys, in whom strong emotional awareness and expressiveness are celebrated.
Robyn Kaiyal

Associate Headmaster for Academic Affairs, NSU University School Florida

Speech and debate participants do better academically across the board. They become engaged, active participants in their education and in their community. Our school has seen great improvements in student culture and spirit since we started our program, and I would highly recommend joining the NSDA to any administrator looking to make a positive impact on school culture and academic performance.
Errol A. Evans

2018 NSDA Middle School Administrator of the Year

The Benefits of Speech and Debate

 

Speech and debate changes lives. From building confidence, improving communication, and increasing critical thinking skills to better preparing students for college, speech and debate activities provide life skills vital to a young person’s success in the future.

A LinkedIn survey of more than 660+ million professionals revealed the most in demand soft skills in 2020. Here’s how speech and debate helps students master them:

 

Creativity

Students are empowered to make artistic choices about how they bring words to life through performance. Unique arguments are encouraged and thinking outside the box differentiates students from their peers debating the same topics.

Persuasion

Students learn how to best convince an audience in the face of equally well-informed, persuasive competition.

Collaboration

Students work with teammates and coaches to craft stories, create arguments, build upon feedback, and perfect their performances.

Adaptability

Students learn to think on their feet and tailor a performance to a given audience.

Emotional Intelligence

Students learn to see both sides of an issue and to use appropriate strategies for questioning things they do not understand.