Asynchronous Big Questions Scholarship Tournament
Earn college scholarships
No entry fee
Presented by the John Templeton Foundation
1st Place – $1,000 Scholarship
Mihika Chechi, Burbank High School
2nd Place – $500 Scholarship
Sana Hokawala, Lake Oswego Senior High School
Lake Oswego, Oregon
3rd Place – $250 Scholarship
Skyler Lea, Raytown South High School
4th Place – $250 Scholarship
Isobel Maksoudian, Arlington High School
5th Place – $100 Scholarship
Bennett Young, Jonesboro High School
6th Place – $100 Scholarship
Sumi Shah, Syosset High School
Syosset, New York
7th Place – $100 Scholarship
Olivia Tan, Westridge School
8th Place – $100 Scholarship
Tinghan Wang, Acton-Boxborough Regional HS
9th Place – $100 Scholarship
Elandrea Baker, North Kansas City High School
North Kansas City, Missouri
10th Place – $100 Scholarship
Jonathan Barnes, Westchester Academy for International Studies
The Asynchronous Big Questions Scholarship Tournament is designed to enhance students’ current debate experiences and encourage them to engage in life discussions at the intersection of science and philosophy. Competitors will submit one recording featuring speeches on both sides of the Big Questions topic, Resolved: Humans are primarily driven by self-interest using the Pro Con Challenge speech format. The top 10 performing competitors will receive college scholarships!
A special thank you to the John Templeton Foundation for providing the grant support to make this tournament possible. The John Templeton Foundation funds research and encourages civil, informed dialogue among scientists, philosophers, theologians, and the public at large.
Dates & Deadlines
- February 1: Registration opens at asyncbq.tabroom.com
- April 5: Video links are due in Tabroom.com
- April 5: Judges are due
- April 10: Judges’ asynchronous judging assignments will be released in Tabroom.com
- April 13 at 12:00 p.m. Central Time: All judging assignments are due
- April 14: Scholarship winners are announced!
- Each school may enter up to 10 students.
- Students in grades 6-12 are eligible to enter.
- NSDA membership is not required.
- Students and judges must be registered under their school name with permission to represent their school in the event.
- Coaches must acquire a signed Entry Release Form for each competitor before the first day of competition, retain these signed forms, and be ready to produce them at any point during or following the tournament. Videos of the top 10 performers will be posted online as a resource.
- All students must use the topic, Resolved: Humans are primarily driven by self-interest.
- The Pro Con Challenge format will be used.
- Competitors will write a 3-5 minute affirmative constructive speech on the BQ topic and a 3-5 minute negative constructive speech on the BQ topic.
- They will present both their affirmative and negative speeches back to back within one recording. The overall recording can be no longer than 10 minutes and 30 seconds.
- Speeches should not be memorized; students are expected to read from pre-written text during the speech as if they were presenting a constructive speech in a live Big Questions Debate round.
- Students must follow the recording rules found under “Asynchronous Speech Requirements” in the Unified Manual on page 72.
- Each student will record one video for submission.
- Videos must be uploaded to a site that allows a publicly-accessible link to be generated, e.g. YouTube, Google Drive. Please double check that the link is accessible to anyone who has the URL.
- In your Tabroom.com registration, select the blue and white edit button next to the entry’s name and copy/paste the link where it says “Video Link” and save.
- Judges will evaluate the structure, arguments, evidence, and speaking abilities of each competitor and rank them overall relative to the other competitors in their round.
- Judges will consider questions such as: Does the speaker display solid logic and reasoning? Does the speaker advocate for each side of the Big Questions topic clearly? Does the speaker use a variety of credible sources and cite them appropriately? Are both sides of the topic well defended? Does the student have a clear structure to their speech and use transitions to move effectively between each part of the speech? Does the student use voice, movement, expression, and eye contact effectively?
- Judges’ round assignments will be made public in Tabroom.com at 8:00 a.m. Central Time on Monday, April 10.
- Each judge should expect to complete up to four rounds of judging. Judges should set aside about 90 minutes per round to watch the videos, write feedback, and submit ranks.
- All ballots are due by 12:00 p.m. Central Time on Thursday, April 13.
- Judges may complete their assignments at their leisure between April 10 and the deadline on April 13.
Find a Judge to Hire
Check out our Judge Board to see listings of judges available for hire. If your school chooses to connect with a judge from the judge board, your school is responsible for contacting, hiring, paying, and communicating with that judge.
The top 10 competitors based on ranks and points will earn college scholarships! Winners will be announced on Friday, April 14. Scholarships are presented by the John Templeton Foundation.
- Champion receives $1,000
- Runner-Up receives $500
- 3rd place receives $250
- 4th place receives $250
- 5th place receives $100
- 6th place receives $100
- 7th place receives $100
- 8th place receives $100
- 9th place receives $100
- 10th place receives $100
The video submissions of the top 10 competitors may be shared as resources on the NSDA website.
Coaches of the top 10 competitors will be provided information about the scholarship claim request process after the event. Scholarships earned at the competition can be claimed by graduated students who have enrolled in post-secondary school. Proof of enrollment is required and scholarship funds will be sent to the registrar.