Honor Society

About the Honor Society

The National Speech & Debate Association’s Honor Society recognizes middle school and high school students for participation in speech and debate activities. Students earn distinction through speech and debate competition, as well as community service, public speaking, and leadership activities. Members are eligible to join the Honor Society once they have earned the required number of points.

Members of the honor society are held to the Code of Honor, the highest standards of integrity, humility, respect, leadership, and service. These standards have been required of members since the organization was founded in 1925. Over the past 90 years, we’ve celebrated the achievements of more than 1.5 million alumni.

Code of Honor

“As a member of the National Speech & Debate Association, I pledge to uphold the highest standards of integrity, humility, respect, leadership and service in the pursuit of excellence.”

Integrity: An honor society member obeys the highest ethical standards and adheres to the rules of the organization. Members recognize that integrity is central to earning the trust, respect, and support of one’s peers. Integrity encompasses the highest regard for honesty, civility, justice, and fairness.

Humility: A member does not regard him or herself more highly than others. Regardless of a person’s level of success, he or she always looks beyond oneself to appreciate the inherent value of others.

Respect: A member respects individual differences and fosters diversity. He or she promotes tolerance, inclusion, and empowerment for people from a variety of backgrounds.

Leadership: A member influences others to take positive action toward productive change. Members commit to thoughtful and responsible leadership that promotes the other core values in the Code of Honor.

Service: A member exercises the talents he or she has been given to provide service to his or her peers, community, and the activity. At all times a member is prepared to work constructively to improve the lives of others.

Adopted September 23, 2007 © National Speech & Debate Association

Coaches Code of Ethics

The function of a coach is to educate students through participation in speech and debate. Students should be treated with the utmost respect, and their welfare should be considered in decisions by coaches at all times. Accordingly, the following guidelines for coaches have been adopted by the National Speech & Debate Association.

  • Coaches shall be aware that they have a tremendous influence, for either good or ill, on the education of their students and, thus, shall never place the value of winning above the value of instilling the highest ideals of character.
  • Coaches shall practice integrity by upholding the honor and dignity of our profession. In all personal contact with students, judges, tournament officials, activities directors, school administrators, other coaches, the media, and the public, coaches shall strive to set an example of the highest ethical and moral conduct.
  • Coaches shall take an active role in the prevention of student drug, alcohol, and tobacco abuse.
  • Coaches shall be expected to uphold their school’s policy in regards to drug, alcohol, and tobacco use when in contact with students.
  • Coaches shall strive to understand the contest rules and to teach them to their students. Coaches shall not seek an advantage by circumvention of the spirit or letter of the rules.
  • Coaches shall exert their influence to enhance sportsmanship and fair-play by competitors and other coaches.
  • Coaches shall respect and support tournament officials. Coaches shall not indulge in conduct that would incite other coaches or students against tournament officials. Public criticism of tournament officials, other coaches, or students is unethical.
  • Coaches shall set the correct tone for a tournament or competition.

Adopted December 2016 © National Speech & Debate Association

Students who are members of the National Speech & Debate Association honor society stand out in the college admissions process.

Katie Byrnes

College Counselor

Merit Points

To become a member of the National Speech & Debate Association’s Honor Society, student members must abide by the Code of Honor. High school and middle school students become members upon placement on their school roster.

Middle school memberships are $10 and cover 6th through 8th grade participation. High school memberships are $20 and are lifetime memberships, including membership in the collegiate speech and debate honor society, Pi Kappa Delta.

How to Earn Merit Points

Students may earn points by participating in a number of speech and debate activities including interscholastic competition, public speaking events, and service activities. The following tables are only examples. For a complete explanation of Honor Society points, see the Unified Manuals. Coaches may also consult our how-to guides with step-by-step instructions and animated GIFs with tips on managing your school’s account and team roster.

Debate

Debate Result Merit Points Earned
Winning a round of Debate
NSDA Events*: 6 in HS, 4 in MS
non-NSDA Events: 4
Losing a round of Debate NSDA Events: 3 in HS, 2 in MS
non-NSDA Events: 2

*NSDA "Main" Debate Events are Policy Debate, Lincoln-Douglas Debate, Public Forum Debate, World Schools Debate, and Big Questions

Congress

8-pt scale 30-pt scale 60-100-pt scale Merit Pts/speech Tourn. place Merit Points Earned
8 28-30 97-100 6 1st 24
6-7 23-27 90-96 5 2nd 23
4-5 18-22 84-89 4 OR 3rd 22
3 13-17 77-83 3 4th 21
2 8-12 70-76 2 5th 20
1 1-7 60-69 1 (and so forth)

Speech

Rank Rating Rating Rating Grade Merit Points Earned
1 Superior 25 95-100 NSDA Events*: 6
non-NSDA Events: 5
2 Excellent 24 90-94 NSDA Events: 5
non-NSDA Events: 4
3 OR Good/Exceeds Expectations 20-23 71-89 A NSDA Events: 4
non-NSDA Events: 3
4 Fair/Meets Expectations 15-19 42-70 B NSDA Events: 3
non-NSDA Events: 2
5 or lower Average/Does Not Meet Expectations 10-14 10-41 C NSDA Events: 2
non-NSDA Events: 1
0-9** 0-9 0

*NSDA "Main" Speech Events are: Extemporaneous Speaking, Original Oratory, Humorous Interp, Dramatic Interp, Duo Interp, Program Oral Interp, and Informative Speaking

**Severe deficiency, and therefore, not worth any points

Service

Service Activity Merit Points Earned
Giving a speech to 25+ People 5 (per speech)
Judging a Novice/Middle School Round 2 (per round)
Coaching a Middle School practice 2 (per hour)
Acting in a High School play 5 (per performance)

Examples only. Additional rules and restrictions apply. See the unified manual for more details.

Degree Levels

The more points you earn for participating, the higher degrees and seals you will earn for your achievements.

Coaches are also recognized for their hard work and expertise in the Honor Society. All coaches earn 10% of the points recorded for their students. Coaches earn the same milestones as students until they earn 1,000 points and the Donus Roberts Quad Ruby Coach Award. Once coaches earn 1,500 points and have been coaching for at least five years, they will receive their first Diamond Award.

Degree Points Certificate Seal
Non-Member Less than 25 points None
Merit 25
Honor 75
Excellence 150
Distinction 250
Special Distinction 500
Superior Distinction 750
Outstanding Distinction 1000
Premier Distinction 1500

We are part of something bigger than just the program at our school. Earning seals and degrees really provides an incentive for students to continue to work towards achieving their goals.

Jeff Stoppenhagen

Coach

| ProTip |

Induction Ceremony

If your chapter is planning an induction ceremony to recognize the newest members of your Honor Society, we encourage you to check out our editable invitation, program, and script templates, which can be tailored to fit your event!

Student Recognition

Student members of the National Speech & Debate Association compete throughout the school year, but tournament wins and honor society points are just part of the recognition they receive from our organization.

All Americans

Each year, the top student point earners in the country are named All Americans. The All American award is based on a combination of competitive and service points, of which no more than 25% of the point total can include service. In order to qualify, a student must have competed once at Nationals. Following the National Speech & Debate Tournament, the 25 students with the highest total points in our Honor Society receive this recognition. No application is required to receive this award.

Congratulations to Ethan Morelion from Big Spring High School in Texas for being named the top point earner in 2015-2016!

Academic All Americans

The Academic All American award recognizes students who have earned the degree of Superior Distinction (750 points); completed at least 5 semesters of high school; demonstrated outstanding character and leadership; and earned a GPA of 3.7 on a 4.0 scale (or its equivalent). NOTE: If the GPA is between 3.5 and 3.7 on a 4.0 scale (or its equivalent), students also must have received an ACT score of 27 or higher, or a New SAT score of 1300 or higher.

District Student of the Year

The District Student of the Year award is presented to a graduating senior in each district who best represents the tenets of the Association’s Code of Honor: integrity, respect, humility, leadership, and service. Nominees must also demonstrate strong academic credentials and a commitment to the speech and debate community. Each year, six students who win the district award are selected as finalists for the William Woods Tate, Jr., National Student of the Year award.

2017 Recipients
Deep South (AL) • Hannah Edwards • Prattville HS

Arizona • Jaywon Kim • Scottsdale Preparatory Academy

Arkansas • Juliette Jung • Little Rock Central HS

Big Valley (CA) • Pedro Ribeiro • Delta Charter HS

California Coast • Lilly Hackworth • Notre Dame HS

Capitol Valley (CA) • Peter Zhu • Davis Senior HS

East Los Angeles (CA) • Eddie Diaz • Alhambra HS

Southern California • Aaron Ing • Los Osos HS

West Los Angeles (CA) • Manpreet Parmar • Granada Hills Charter HS

Colorado • Alec Greven • Castle View HS

Colorado Grande (CO) • Kam Lee • Widefield HS

Rocky Mountain-North (CO) • Aidan Dykstal • Fort Collins HS

Rocky Mountain-South (CO) • Kathryn Swan • George Washington HS

Florida Manatee (FL) • Brian Levy • Cypress Bay HS

Florida Oceanfront • Caramen McDaniel • Wellington HS

Greater Illinois (IL) • Jordan Killion • Pekin Comm HS

Illini (IL) • Lydia Walsh-Rock • Downers Grove South HS

Northern Illinois (IL) • Jonah Jacobs • Glenbrook North HS

Hoosier Heartland (IN) • Lauren David • Fishers HS

East Iowa • Afnan Elsheikh • John F. Kennedy HS

East Kansas • Michael Franklin • Sumner Academy

South Kansas • Nathan Wells • Caney Valley HS

Sunflower (KS) • Gabe Esquivel • Kapaun Mount Carmel HS

Three Trails (KS) • Alexa Kathol • Blue Valley Southwest HS

West Kansas • Tyler Ross • Salina South HS

Kentucky • Corey Newsome • Rowan County Sr. HS

Louisiana • David Ramachandran • Ruston HS

Maine • Sydney McDonald • Bangor HS

Chesapeake (MD) • Quinn Crawford • Marriotts Ridge HS

Northern Lights (MN) • Luke Norquist • Brainerd HS

Southern Minnesota • Olivia Shoemaker • Lakeville North HS

Central Minnesota (MN) • Kevin Bi • East Ridge HS

Magnolia (MS) • Derek Collins • Hattiesburg HS

Carver-Truman (MO) • Ian Cooley • Neosho HS

Eastern Missouri • Aramis Rickey • Ladue Horton Watkins HS

Heart of America (MO) • Natalie Schaller • Liberty Sr. HS

Ozark (MO) • Connor Rothschild • Kickapoo HS

Show Me (MO) • Romeo Bagunu • Raytown HS

Montana • Jacob Linfesty • Billings West HS

Nebraska • Brent Hausmann • Norfolk HS

Golden Desert (NV) • Lance Ledet • Northwest Career and Technical Academy

Sagebrush (NV) • Heather Foster • Reno HS

New England (MA & NH) • Kory Turner • Sacred Heart HS

New Jersey • Matthew Colon • Summit HS

New Mexico • Erick Beltran • Rio Grande HS

Iroquois (NY) • Joshua Beckles • McQuaid Jesuit HS

New York State • Zach Kapner • Scarsdale HS

Carolina West (NC) • Chloe Dennison • Asheville HS

Tarheel East (NC) • Rafael Montes • Cumberland Polytechnic HS

North Dakota Roughrider • Arcilla Davis • Richardton-Taylor HS

North Coast (OH) • Ananya Kalahasti • Hathaway Brown School

Northern Ohio • Carson Markley • Canfield HS

East Oklahoma • Layla Mortadha • Tulsa Washington HS

West Oklahoma • Cheyenne Martin • Bishop McGuinness HS

Pennsylvania • Hunter Stecko • Norwin HS

Pittsburgh (PA) • Kolten Hilterman • Knoch Senior HS

Valley Forge (PA) • David DeMarco • Unionville HS

South Carolina • Devin Remley • Riverside HS

Northern South Dakota • Raina Grimsley • Mitchell HS

Rushmore (SD) • Alexander King • O’Gorman HS

Tennessee • Preston Johnston • Ravenwood HS

Central Texas • Juan Nunez • Ronald Reagan HS

East Texas • Daniel Lehmann • Cypress Creek HS

Heart of Texas • Spencer Buckner • Lake Travis HS

LBJ (TX) • Rasin Faruk • Richardson HS

Lone Star (TX) • Chetan Reddy • Plano West Sr. High

Space City (TX) • Rem Aitbouchireb • Kerr HS

Tall Cotton (TX) • Nicholas Aranda • Holy Cross Catholic Academy

UIL (TX) • Steele Musgrove • North Lamar HS

West Texas • Ricardo Flores • Americas HS

Yellow Rose (TX) • Hannah Bryant • THEO Christian

Great Salt Lake (UT) • Gavin Serr • Grantsville HS

Sundance (UT) • McKadee Eyre • Beaver HS

Utah-Wasatch (UT) • Mallory Blue • Davis HS

Western Washington • Zackery Gostisha • Federal Way HS

William Woods Tate, Jr., National Student of the Year

This annual award recognizes one student out of more than 141,000 members who best embodies the organization’s Code of Honor: integrity, humility, respect, leadership, and service. Nominees must also demonstrate strong academic credentials and a commitment to the speech and debate community. Six finalists will interview with an esteemed panel of educators during the National Speech & Debate Tournament. The National Student of the Year is announced during the National Awards Assembly at the National Tournament.

Congratulations to the 2017 William Woods Tate, Jr., National Student of the Year, Ricardo Flores, from Americas High School in Texas!

Ricardo Flores

2017 Finalists

(pictured above, left to right)
Olivia Shoemaker from Lakeville North High School, MN (Southern Minnesota District)
Michael Franklin from Sumner Academy, KS (East Kansas District)
Chloe Dennison from Asheville High School, NC (Carolina West District)
Derek Collins from Hattiesburg High School, MS (Magnolia District)
Nicholas Aranda from Holy Cross Catholic Academy, TX (Tall Cotton District)

Previous Recipients
Ricardo Flores Americas HS, TX

Ricardo Flores
Americas HS, TX
2017

Marshall Webb Saint Mary's Hall HS, TX 2016

Marshall Webb
Saint Mary’s Hall HS, TX
2016

Jarrius Adams Hattiesburg HS, MS 2015

Jarrius Adams
Hattiesburg HS, MS
2015

Walter Paul Creighton Preparatory, NE 2014

Walter Paul
Creighton Preparatory, NE
2014

Robert Shaw Glenbrook South HS, IL 2013

Robert Shaw
Glenbrook South HS, IL
2013

Quinlan Cao East Mountain HS, NM 2012

Quinlan Cao
East Mountain HS, NM
2012

Cory Williams Hattiesburg HS, MS 2010

Cory Williams
Hattiesburg HS, MS
2010

Taylor Walker Henry W. Grady HS, GA 2011

Taylor Walker
Henry W. Grady HS, GA
2011

Danielle Camous St. Mary's HS, CO 2009

Danielle Camous
St. Mary’s HS, CO
2009

Kyle Akerman Downers Grove S. HS, IL 2008

Kyle Akerman
Downers Grove S. HS, IL
2008

National Exemplary Student Service Award

Introduced in 2017, the National Exemplary Student Service Award is given annually to a student who serves their school, community, city, region, or state using skills they honed through speech and debate. Coaches or administrators may nominate a student who upholds the highest standard of service, one of the core tenets of the Association’s Code of Honor, for recognition. As opposed to the William Woods Tate, Jr., National Student of the Year Award, current member students of any age are eligible for nomination. The recipient will be recognized and celebrated on National Speech and Debate Education Day.

Congratulations to the 2017 recipient, Delanya Storey, from Jefferson County IB School in Alabama!

Graduation Honor Cords

The National Speech & Debate Association is proud to offer honor cords for its members to wear during high school graduation ceremonies. Honor cords recognize member accomplishments and affirm their commitment to speech and debate education.

Please visit our online store to place an order for Association honor cords, or view a letter to principals in support of Association honor cords from Executive Director J. Scott Wunn.

Coach Recognition

Coaches at National Speech & Debate Association member schools are eligible for several awards that recognize their service to students, their schools, their communities, and the national organization.

Diamond Awards

Diamond coach awards reflect excellence and longevity in the activity. Coaches receive one point for every ten merit points earned by their students. Coaches then earn Association membership and advanced standing at the same milestones as students, until they earn 1,000 points and the Donus D. Roberts Quad Ruby Coach Award.

A coach’s next award is the First Diamond, earned when s/he receives 1,500 points and has been coaching in the Association for at least five years since achieving the degree of merit (25 points). Five years must pass between each new diamond award, and a certain number of points must be earned during each interval.

Coaches who have received diamond awards during the current academic year are recognized during the Donus D. Roberts Diamond Assembly at that year’s National Tournament.

Hall of Fame

The highest honor for any high school speech and debate coach is election to the National Speech & Debate Association Hall of Fame. Each year, nominations are sought from member coaches. In the month of April, current Hall of Fame members and coaches with at least three diamonds vote to determine which nominees will be elected members of this most distinguished body.

2017 Hall of Fame Inductees

2017 Inductees (in alphabetical order) — Dr. Paulette “Polly” Reikowski, James W. “Jay” Rye, III, Julie Sheinman, Jimmy L. Smith, and Jacquelyn “Jacci” Smith

2016 Hall of Fame Inductees

2016 Inductees (in alphabetical order) — Byron Arthur, Eloise Weisinger Blair, Mark Ferguson, Robert Shepard, and Dr. Alfred “Tuna” Snider

Nomination Process

Who Is Eligible?

Coaches with 25 years of NSDA membership, or who are retired from coaching and teaching, are eligible for this prestigious award.

How Do I Nominate Someone?

Keep in mind, your identity as nominator will remain confidential. Therefore, your coach biography (300 words or less) should be written in the third person and focus on the coaching history and qualifications of your candidate. Some topics to focus on could be awards, accolades, accomplishments, career highlights, character, and personal contributions. (Note: Only NSDA member coaches may submit a nomination form.)

Sample Biography

Jane Smith has been a dedicated coach of speech and debate for the past 30 years. A five-diamond coach from Blank High School, Jane is the epitome of integrity and dedication to the National Speech & Debate Association.

Competitively, Jane has qualified 11 students to the National Tournament. Her team has sent five students to the final rounds and has captured three national championships. During Jane’s coaching career, Blank High School has won the Largest Chapter Award and the District Sweepstakes Award several times.

Jane has had an outstanding career at the state level as well, directing her team to eight High School League State Championships in speech competition. In 2005, she won the Outstanding Speech, Debate, and Theater Award from ABCDE. In 2007, XYZ awarded her the Outstanding Individual in Speech and Theater. In 2009, the State High School League inducted Jane into their Hall of Fame.

Jane is generous with her time, evidenced by her extensive service to the Association and her state. For eight years, she has served as district chair. She is co-founder and co-director of her state’s debate camp. Jane has also hosted an invitational tournament for the past 10 years.

Her teams’ awards and achievements are only a snapshot of the important role that Jane plays in the lives of her students. Jane spends tireless hours not only to improve her students’ forensic skills, but also to be a mentor and role model teaching her students to be responsible citizens as well as worthy competitors. Jane exemplifies the true spirit of the Association’s mission to bring lifetime skills of language and communication to the youth of our country.

With three decades of exemplary coaching, teaching, and service to her students and colleagues, Jane Smith richly deserves induction in the National Speech & Debate Association Hall of Fame.

Distinguished Service Award

Coaches who perform service for the Association, such as hosting tournaments, writing or presenting about the Association, recruiting a new chapter school, or writing an article for Rostrum, earn service citations. Those who earn 20 citations are given a special gold key. Those who receive 50 citations are presented with a bronze plaque.

How to Earn Service Citations

Service Performed Citations Issued
Recruiting a new member school 2
Sponsoring a new chapter 2
Year as a District Chair 1-3
Year as a member of a District Committee 1
Year as a member of the Board of Directors 3
Managing a District Tournament/Congress 1-3
Holding a tournament for ten schools 1
Directing a tournament for ten schools 1
Service at the National Tournament 1-3
Author an article in Rostrum 1-3
Author a journal article about the Association 1-3
Represent the Association at a convention 1-3
Association-sanctioned Public Service Projects 1-5
Other service requested by the Board of Directors 1-5

Award Procedure

  1. Whenever a member is entitled to a citation, the Coach Service Citation Form should be filled out and sent to the national office, but no application should be submitted for a service not specifically listed above.
  2. The service should be described by citing time, place, name, or event so as to establish its identity beyond possibility of confusion with any similar one. Several services may be listed on one blank, but the forms should not be crowded.
  3. Citations must be applied for within two years from the date of the service or they will not be allowed.
  4. Signature of school official is required only if the service has not been established by national record or attached papers.
  5. Citations approved at the national office will be signed by the Executive Director and kept at the national office until the number required for an award has been attained.

District Leader Commendations

Recipients are nominated annually by their peers for going above and beyond in the areas of leadership and service, which may include excellence in district communications or publicity, developing district programs and resources, and/or district membership and engagement support. In addition to District Committee members, other coaches, administrators, parents, or volunteers in the district may be considered for this award.

2017 District Leader Commendations

Jessica Benton – South Carolina
Lee Ellen Beach – Tennessee
William Brown – Colorado Grande
Gayle Hyde – North Dakota
Ryan Lovell – Tall Cotton (TX)
Jarod Ockander – Nebraska
Martin Page – New Jersey
Angelique Ronald – Sierra (CA)
Cory Shay – Valley Forge (PA)

Frank Sferra Director’s Commendation

The Director’s Commendation is awarded annually for outstanding contributions by a coach.

Congratulations to the 2017 recipient, Dr. Darrell Harvey, from in Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Maryland!

Dr. Darrell Harvey

Introduced in 2014, the Director’s Commendation is awarded annually for outstanding contributions by a coach. The Director’s Commendation is named after Frank Sferra, a longtime coach from Colorado. During his lifetime, Frank was a fierce champion of all speech and debate programs. He had a passion for providing assistance to all with a vision for building the activity. Upon college graduation, Frank founded the debate program at Bishop Machebeuf High School. He later began his tenure as the Mullen debate coach, which would span half a century. Over the years, Mr. Sferra served as a district leader in Colorado and President of the Board of Directors, earning many accolades including his seventh diamond and induction into the Association’s Hall of Fame. The Board of Directors voted unanimously to recognize Frank’s many contributions to the speech and debate community in 2015.

James M. Copeland High School Coach of the Year Award

The National Speech & Debate Association’s James M. Copeland High School Coach of the Year Award annually honors high school coaches who reflect outstanding leadership and commitment to speech and debate activities.

The 2017 recipient is Susan L. Anderson from Richardton-Taylor High School in North Dakota.

2016-2017 Selection Process

A selection committee comprised of members of the National Speech & Debate Association Board of Directors and the Executive Director reviews nominations submitted by member schools. Nominations are accepted February 1, 2017, through April 1, 2017.

Nominees

To be eligible for nomination, a high school coach must:

  • Currently work as a high school speech/debate coach in a National Speech & Debate Association member school.
  • Have completed five consecutive years of experience as a high school speech/debate coach at an Association member school (experience need not be in the same school).
  • Plan to continue working as a high school speech/debate coach next year at an Association member school.
  • Agree to nomination.
  • If selected as the winner, be able to participate in the National Speech & Debate Tournament, held June 18-23, 2017, and/or be present to accept the award on Thursday, June 22, in Birmingham, Alabama.

Nominees must be coaches who:

  • Encourage speech and debate education through active support of curricular and/or co-curricular programming.
  • Foster cooperation between the speech and debate program and the rest of the school, showcasing students and their achievements with administrators, school board members, and the community at-large.
  • Lead a continuing dialogue with students, parents, faculty, and staff members to sustain and grow speech and debate participation.
  • Encourage team spirit and play an active role in the speech and debate program.
  • Demonstrate leadership and exemplify committed support to the speech and debate program’s livelihood.
  • Advocate for speech and debate activities within the school and the community at-large.
Nominators
  • Any current or retired Association coach, student, alum, or parent may nominate a coach for this award.
  • One individual must be the official nominator, and may only nominate one person for the award.
  • Coaches may not nominate themselves.
  • Members of the Board of Directors may not be the official nominator for a coach and must recuse themselves from the selection committee if any coach in their district is nominated.
Nomination Materials

In addition to basic contact information, you will be asked to provide the following materials when you complete the online nomination form below:

  • Gather and upload two (2) letters of nomination, not to exceed 1,500 words each. The letters should explain how the nominee meets the award criteria and describe their involvement in curricular and extracurricular speech and debate activities. PDFs are preferred, but Word documents (.doc or .docx) are also accepted.
  • One letter from the official nominator.
  • A second letter from a member student in the program. (If a student nominated, another student or a teacher/coach may be substituted.)
Awards and Recognition

The High School Coach of the Year will be recognized in Rostrum and online. Nominees and finalists may be recognized in Rostrum or through other publications. All nominees and nominators must consent to the use of any nomination materials including photos in Association publications.

Middle School Coach of the Year Award

The National Speech & Debate Association’s Middle School Coach of the Year Award annually honors middle school coaches who reflect outstanding leadership and commitment to speech and debate activities.

The 2017 recipient is C. Ryan Joyce from Phoenix Country Day School in Arizona.

2016-2017 Selection Process

A selection committee comprised of members of the National Speech & Debate Association Board of Directors and the Executive Director reviews nominations submitted by member schools. Nominations are accepted February 1, 2017, through April 1, 2017.

Nominees

To be eligible for nomination, a middle school coach must:

  • Currently work as a middle school speech/debate coach in a National Speech & Debate Association member school.
  • Have completed five consecutive years of experience as a middle school speech/debate coach at an Association member school (experience need not be in the same school).
  • Plan to continue working as a middle school speech/debate coach next year at an Association member school.
  • Agree to nomination.
  • If selected as the winner, be able to participate in the National Speech & Debate Tournament, held June 18-23, 2017, and/or be present to accept the award on Thursday, June 22, in Birmingham, Alabama.

Nominees must be coaches who:

  • Encourage speech and debate education through active support of curricular and/or co-curricular programming.
  • Foster cooperation between the speech and debate program and the rest of the school, showcasing students and their achievements with administrators, school board members, and the community at-large.
  • Lead a continuing dialogue with students, parents, faculty, and staff members to sustain and grow speech and debate participation.
  • Encourage team spirit and play an active role in the speech and debate program.
  • Demonstrate leadership and exemplify committed support to the speech and debate program’s livelihood.
  • Advocate for speech and debate activities within the school and the community at-large.
Nominators
  • Any current or retired Association coach, student, alum, or parent may nominate a coach for this award.
  • One individual must be the official nominator, and may only nominate one person for the award.
  • Coaches may not nominate themselves.
  • Members of the Board of Directors may not be the official nominator for a coach and must recuse themselves from the selection committee if any coach in their district is nominated.
Nomination Materials

In addition to basic contact information, you will be asked to provide the following materials when you complete the online nomination form below:

  • Gather and upload two (2) letters of nomination, not to exceed 1,500 words each. The letters should explain how the nominee meets the award criteria and describe their involvement in curricular and extracurricular speech and debate activities. PDFs are preferred, but Word documents (.doc or .docx) are also accepted.
  • One letter from the official nominator.
  • A second letter from a member student in the program. (If a student nominated, another student or a teacher/coach may be substituted.)
Awards and Recognition

The Middle School Coach of the Year will be recognized in Rostrum and online. Nominees and finalists may be recognized in Rostrum or through other publications. All nominees and nominators must consent to the use of any nomination materials including photos in Association publications.

National Educator of the Year Award

The National Speech & Debate Association’s National Educator of the Year award annually honors an individual who has enhanced the quality of education in the field of speech and debate. This award is distinct from our Coach of the Year award as it is focused on the impact that is created in classrooms. Beginning with the 2017-2018 school year, the NSDA is pleased to recognize individual state winners. Each State Educator of the Year will be considered for the national award.

Congratulations to our inaugural 2017 NSDA National Educator of the Year, Renee C. Motter, from Air Academy High School in Colorado!

School Recognition

The National Speech & Debate Association highlights the academic value of speech and debate activities within school systems. Every year, schools from across the country are awarded for their commitment to speech and debate activities and the learning opportunities they provide to their students.

Charter Status

Becoming a charter chapter is the highest school membership honor. A chapter is chartered after enrolling at least 50 degrees within a three-year period of membership. Small schools with 9th-12th grade enrollment of fewer than 500 students must enroll at least 25 degrees within a three-year period. If a charter chapter does not meet the minimum three-year strength requirements, it can apply for a one-year extension, or it reverts to member chapter status.

Bruno E. Jacob Trophy

The Bruno E. Jacob/Pi Kappa Delta Trophy is given to the school with the largest number of cumulative rounds at the National Speech & Debate Tournament. Each student in each round of a main event at Nationals counts as one point, and a school’s total is only reset when they win the trophy.

Previous Recipients

2017 Gabrielino High School, CA 1,773 pts
2016 Leland High School, CA 1,674 pts
2015 Cherry Creek High School, CO 1,639 pts
2014 Nova High School, FL 1,554 pts
2013 Holy Ghost Prep, PA 1,526 pts

2017 Recipients – Gabrielino High School, California

Club Awards

Club awards demonstrate outstanding commitment to teaching students essential life skills—including communication, research, listening, writing, and organization. Every year, schools can earn club awards for achieving degrees in the Honor Society. For example, The 100 Club recognizes a school that earned 100 or more degrees last year; The 200 Club honors a school that earned 200 or more degrees last year; and so on. Club Award schools may purchase the Club Award Plaque or Club Award Trophy to recognize their achievement.

High School Principal of the Year Award

The National Speech & Debate Association’s High School Principal of the Year program began in 2011 as a means to recognize outstanding high school principals. The program annually honors principals who have succeeded in providing high-quality opportunities for students in speech and debate programming as well as demonstrating exemplary contributions to the profession.

The 2017 recipient is Austin Brown from Madison Central High School in Mississippi.

Austin Brown

Previous Recipients

2017 – Austin Brown

2017 – Austin Brown

Madison Central High School, MS

2016 – Michael O'Toole

2016 – Michael O'Toole

La Salle College High School, PA

2015 – Dr. Joseph H. Murry, Jr.

2015 – Dr. Joseph H. Murry, Jr.

Holy Cross School, LA

2014 – Dr. Polly Reikowski

2014 – Dr. Polly Reikowski

Eagan High School, MN

2013 – Douglas Wine

2013 – Douglas Wine

East Mountain High School, NM

2012 – John LaCasse

2012 – John LaCasse

Nova High School, FL

2011 – Liz Chamberlin

2011 – Liz Chamberlin

Leland High School, CA

2016-2017 Selection Process

A selection committee comprised of members of the National Speech & Debate Association Board of Directors and the Executive Director reviews nominations submitted by member schools. Nominations are accepted February 1, 2017, through April 1, 2017.

Nominees

To be eligible for nomination, a principal must:

  • Currently work as a high school principal or headmaster in a National Speech & Debate Association member school.
  • Have completed five consecutive years of experience as a high school principal at an Association member school (experience need not be in the same school).
  • Plan to continue working as a high school principal next year at an Association member school.
  • Agree to nomination.
  • If selected as the winner, be able to participate in the National Speech & Debate Tournament, held June 18-23, 2017, and/or be present to accept the award on Thursday, June 22, in Birmingham, Alabama.

Nominees must be principals who:

  • Encourage speech and debate education through active support of curricular and/or co-curricular programming.
  • Foster cooperation between the speech and debate program and the rest of the school, showcasing students and their achievements with administrators, school board members, and the community at-large.
  • Lead a continuing dialogue with students, parents, faculty, and staff members to sustain and grow speech and debate participation.
  • Encourage team spirit and play an active role in the speech and debate program.
  • Demonstrate leadership and exemplify committed support to the speech and debate program’s livelihood.
  • Advocate for speech and debate activities within the school and the community at-large.
Nominators
  • Any current or retired Association coach, student, alum, or parent may nominate a principal for this award.
  • One individual must be the official nominator, and may only nominate one person for the award.
  • Principals may not nominate themselves.
  • Members of the Board of Directors may not be the official nominator for a principal and must recuse themselves from the selection committee if any principal in their district is nominated.
Nomination Materials

In addition to basic contact information, you will be asked to provide the following materials when you complete the online nomination form above:

  • Gather and upload two (2) letters of nomination, not to exceed 1,500 words each. The letters should explain how the nominee meets the award criteria and describe their involvement in curricular and extracurricular speech and debate activities. PDFs are preferred, but Word documents (.doc or .docx) are also accepted.
  • One letter from the official nominator.
  • A second letter from a member student in the program. (If a student nominated, another student or a teacher/coach may be substituted.)
Awards and Recognition

The High School Principal of the Year will be recognized in Rostrum and online. Nominees and finalists may be recognized in Rostrum or through other publications. All nominees and nominators must consent to the use of any nomination materials including photos in Association publications.

Middle School Principal of the Year Award

The National Speech & Debate Association’s Middle School Principal of the Year program began in 2015 as a means to recognize outstanding middle school principals. The program annually honors principals who have succeeded in providing high-quality opportunities for students in speech and debate programming as well as demonstrating exemplary contributions to the profession.

The 2017 recipient is Donald Clayton from Mountain Brook Junior High School in Alabama.

Donald Clayton

Previous Recipients

2017 – Donald Clayton
Mountain Brook Junior High School, AL

2016 – Carlos Castillo
Wawona Middle School and Bullard High School, CA

2015 – Elizabeth Bornia
Bak Middle School of the Arts, FL

2016-2017 Selection Process

A selection committee comprised of members of the National Speech & Debate Association Board of Directors and the Executive Director reviews nominations submitted by member schools. Nominations are accepted February 1, 2017, through April 1, 2017.

Nominees

To be eligible for nomination, a principal must:

  • Currently work as a middle school principal or headmaster in a National Speech & Debate Association member school.
  • Have completed five consecutive years of experience as a middle school principal at an Association member school (experience need not be in the same school).
  • Plan to continue working as a middle school principal next year at an Association member school.
  • Agree to nomination.
  • If selected as the winner, be able to participate in the National Speech & Debate Tournament, held June 18-23, 2017, and/or be present to accept the award on Thursday, June 22, in Birmingham, Alabama.

Nominees must be principals who:

  • Encourage speech and debate education through active support of curricular and/or co-curricular programming.
  • Foster cooperation between the speech and debate program and the rest of the school, showcasing students and their achievements with administrators, school board members, and the community at-large.
  • Lead a continuing dialogue with students, parents, faculty, and staff members to sustain and grow speech and debate participation.
  • Encourage team spirit and play an active role in the speech and debate program.
  • Demonstrate leadership and exemplify committed support to the speech and debate program’s livelihood.
  • Advocate for speech and debate activities within the school and the community at-large.
Nominators
  • Any current or retired Association coach, student, alum, or parent may nominate a principal for this award.
  • One individual must be the official nominator, and may only nominate one person for the award.
  • Principals may not nominate themselves.
  • Members of the Board of Directors may not be the official nominator for a principal and must recuse themselves from the selection committee if any principal in their district is nominated.
Nomination Materials

In addition to basic contact information, you will be asked to provide the following materials when you complete the online nomination form above:

  • Gather and upload three (3) letters of nomination, not to exceed 1,500 words each. The letters should explain how the nominee meets the award criteria and describe his/her involvement in curricular and extracurricular speech and debate activities. PDFs are preferred, but Word documents (.doc or .docx) are also accepted.
  • One letter from the official nominator.
  • One letter from a member student in the program. (If a student nominated, another student or a teacher/coach may be substituted.)
Awards and Recognition

The Middle School Principal of the Year will be recognized in Rostrum and online. Nominees and finalists may be recognized in Rostrum or through other publications. All nominees and nominators must consent to the use of any nomination materials including photos in Association publications.

School Awards

A variety of school awards are awarded annually to the top schools at the National Tournament:

Schools of Outstanding Distinction – recognizes the top 10 schools after combining both speech and debate points (must score points in both divisions).

Speech Schools of Excellence – recognizes the top 20 schools in total speech points that did not win a School of Outstanding Distinction Award.

Debate Schools of Excellence – recognizes the top 20 schools in total debate points that did not win a School of Outstanding Distinction Award.

Speech Schools of Honor – recognizes the top 21-40 schools in total speech points that did not win a School of Outstanding Distinction Award.

Debate Schools of Honor – recognizes the top 21-40 schools in total debate points that did not win a School of Outstanding Distinction Award.

Outstanding School Achievement – school administrators of the top six individuals or teams in each main event are sent an Outstanding School Achievement plaque, personalized with students’ names, school, event, place, and year.

2017 Schools of Outstanding Distinction

Apple Valley High School, MN
Archbishop Mitty High School, CA
Bellarmine College Prep, CA
Cypress Bay High School, FL
Desert Vista High School, AZ
Eagan High School, MN
Lakeville North High School, MN
Nova High School, FL
Plano West Senior High School, TX
Western High School, FL

Senator Karl E. Mundt Sweepstakes Trophy

The Karl Mundt Trophy, awarded since the first National Student Congress in 1938, is presented to the school with the largest number of cumulative participation points in Congressional Debate at the National Tournament.

Previous Recipients

2017 Ridge High School, NJ 213 pts
2016 Belen Jesuit Prep School, FL 200 pts
2015 Desert Vista High School, AZ 233 pts
2014 Nova High School, FL 207 pts
2013 Miramonte High School, CA 172 pts

The Unger Cup

This annual award, named in honor of one of America’s finest debaters and coaches, James Unger, is awarded to the school whose Policy Debate team places highest in six national tournaments: the National Speech & Debate Tournament; the National Catholic Forensic League; the NAUDL Chase Urban Debate National Championship; the University of Kentucky Tournament of Champions (TOC); the New York University International Public Policy Forum tournament (IPPF); and the National Debate Coaches Association (NDCA).

Previous Recipients

2017 Palos Verdes Peninsula High School, CA
2016 Palos Verdes Peninsula High School, CA
2015 Glenbrook North High School, IL
2014 Glenbrook South High School, IL
2013 Glenbrook North High School, IL

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