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

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 and earn a minimum of 25 points. 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. You may also consult our Point Recording Guide for high school and middle school.

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, and Public Forum Debate

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, and Duo Interp

**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

| 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.

Student Leadership Committee

One of the biggest honors our students can achieve is to serve on our Student Leadership Committee. The SLC gives current sophomore, junior, and senior students the opportunity to complete a series of web-based trainings on leadership. Additionally, member students are expected to provide service to the speech and debate community and to the student’s broader local community.

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.

2016 Recipients
Deep South (AL) • Madison Hall • The Montgomery Academy

Arizona • Jillian Gilburne • Phoenix Country Day School

Capitol Valley (CA) • Garrett Broberg • El Dorado HS

San Fran Bay (CA) • Sameer Ziaee • Dougherty Valley HS

Southern California • Kaitlyn Allen-O’Gara • Oxford Academy

West Los Angeles (CA) • Alexander “Chad” Gasman • iLEAD North Hollywood

Colorado • Quinn Oberg • Highlands Ranch HS

Colorado Grande • Cory Vandenberg • Air Academy HS

Rocky Mountain-North (CO) • Elias Van Loo • Greeley Central HS

Rocky Mountain-South (CO) • Cian Colgan • Jefferson Academy HS

Florida Oceanfront • Joshua Schulster • Boca Raton HS

Florida Panther • Sunny Toreihi • Timber Creek HS

Georgia Northern Mountain • Molly Looman • Henry W. Grady HS

Georgia Southern Peach • Andrew Young • Columbus HS

Hawaii • Rachel Leong • Trinity Christian School

Greater Illinois • Ani Chalian • Normal Community West HS

Illini (IL) • Daniel Brophy • Downers Grove North HS

Northern Illinois • Karolina Skarzynska • Schaumburg HS

Hoosier Crossroads (IN) • Tom Sweeney • Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School

Hoosier Heartland (IN) • Daniel Smith • West Lafayette HS

Northeast Indiana • Tim Vincent • Chesterton HS

Northwest Indiana • Emily McKenzie • Plymouth HS

East Iowa • Owen Weber • Bettendorf HS

South Kansas • Charlotte Hutchison • Fort Scott HS

Sunflower (KS) • Anthony Wingfield • Wichita Heights HS

Three Trails (KS) • Alisha Gupta • Olathe North HS

Kentucky • Jorge Rojas-Ortega • Trinity HS

Louisiana • Thomas Luke • St. Thomas More HS

Maine • Nick Danby • Bangor HS

New England (MA & NH) • Matthew Wolfe • Catholic Memorial HS

Central Minnesota • Harley Pierce-Ramsdell • Blaine HS

Northern Lights (MN) • Tia Dahmen • Cass Lake Bena HS

Southern Minnesota • Anagha Komaragiri • Fairmont HS

Magnolia (MS) • Ian Hennington • Madison Central HS

Carver-Truman (MO) • Allison Dodge • Diamond HS

Eastern Missouri • Simi Falako • Ladue Horton Watkins HS

Heart of America (MO) • Karly Kinsey • Independence Truman HS

Ozark (MO) • Gabe Morrison • Greenwood Laboratory School

Show Me (MO) • Vance Kelley • Lee’s Summit North HS

Montana • Parker Kouns • Flathead HS

Nebraska • Madison Morrissette • Millard North HS

Nebraska South • Monica Marsolek • Pius X HS

Golden Desert (NV) • Chace Avecilla • Green Valley HS

Sagebrush (NV) • Isy Pacini • Spring Creek HS

New Jersey • Ryan Hosler • Delbarton School

New Mexico • Matt Bedeaux • East Mountain HS

Iroquois (NY) • Samuel Ogozalek • Hancock Central HS

Carolina West (NC) • Marsalis Atkins • Providence HS

Tarheel East (NC) • Loften Deprez • Durham Academy

North Dakota Roughrider • Casey Orvedal • Fargo Davies HS

Idaho Mountain River • James Mullen • Highland HS

North Coast (OH) • Jordyn Zimmerman • Mentor HS

Northern Ohio • Brianna Ledsome • Niles McKinley HS

East Oklahoma • Micah Cash • Tulsa Washington HS

West Oklahoma • Wyatt Brown • Moore HS

North Oregon • Brandon Roth • Sprague HS

Pennsylvania • David Wilson • Greater Latrobe HS

Pittsburgh (PA) • Emily Augustine • Bethel Park HS

Valley Forge (PA) • Naomi Li • Southern Lehigh HS

South Carolina • Carol Lee • Riverside HS

Northern South Dakota • Brett Ries • Watertown HS

Rushmore (SD) • Chofian Abobakr • Sioux Falls Lincoln HS

Tennessee • Griffin Paschall • Henry County HS

Central Texas • Marshall Webb • Saint Mary’s Hall HS

East Texas • JT Lindsey • Montgomery HS

Gulf Coast (TX) • Matthew Canon • Harlingen South HS

LBJ (TX) • Addie Barch • Wylie HS

Lone Star (TX) • Anita Pai • Byron Nelson HS

South Texas • Amber Liu • Bellaire HS

Space City (TX) • Christine Vo • Spring Woods HS

Tall Cotton (TX) • Ethan Morelion • Big Spring HS

UIL (TX) • Jennifer Neely • Van HS

West Texas • Armand Chuca • Ysleta HS

Yellow Rose (TX) • Roberto Abraham • Trimble Tech

Great Salt Lake (UT) • Max Cline • Skyline HS

Utah-Wasatch • Jacob Rice • Morgan HS

Virginia • Jonathan Corbin • Fluvanna County HS

Western Washington • Garrett Rutherford • South Anchorage HS

Hole In The Wall (WY) • Derrik Conard • Cheyenne Central HS

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.

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 2016 William Woods Tate, Jr., Memorial National Student of the Year, Marshall Webb, from Saint Mary’s Hall High School in Texas!

2016 Finalists

(pictured above, left to right)

Christine Vo from Spring Woods High School in Texas (Space City District)

Jordyn Zimmerman from Mentor High School in Ohio (North Coast District)

Marshall Webb from Saint Mary’s Hall High School in Texas (Central Texas District)

Madison Hall from The Montgomery Academy in Alabama (Deep South District)

Karly Kinsey from Independence Truman High School in Missouri (Heart of America District)

Ethan Morelion from Big Spring High School in Texas (Tall Cotton District)

Previous Recipients
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

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.

Nomination Process

Who Is Eligible?

Coaches with 25 years of membership in the National Speech & Debate Association, 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.

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.

Coaching Advice from Hall of Fame Members

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Hall of Fame Members
2015 - Dr. Elizabeth Ballard

2015 – Dr. Elizabeth Ballard

2015 - Jane Boyd

2015 – Jane Boyd

2015 - Kim Jones

2015 – Kim Jones

2015 - Dr. Peter Pober

2015 – Dr. Peter Pober

2015 - Fred Robertson

2015 – Fred Robertson

2014 - Darrel Harbaugh

2014 – Darrel Harbaugh

2014 - Tommie Lindsey, Jr.

2014 – Tommie Lindsey, Jr.

2014 - Lisa Miller

2014 – Lisa Miller

2014 - Randy Patterson

2014 – Randy Patterson

2014 - Jay Stubbs

2014 – Jay Stubbs

2013 - Michael Burton

2013 – Michael Burton

2013 - Vickie Fellers

2013 – Vickie Fellers

2013 - Robert Littlefield

2013 – Robert Littlefield

2013 - Robert "Bob" Marks

2013 – Robert “Bob” Marks

2013 - David McKenzie

2013 – David McKenzie

2012 - David Huston

2012 – David Huston

2012 - Gail M Naylor

2012 – Gail M Naylor

2012 - Cindi Timmons

2012 – Cindi Timmons

2012 - Steven Wood

2012 – Steven Wood

2011 - Joni Anker

2011 – Joni Anker

2011 - James Harville

2011 – James Harville

2011 - Mary-Howell Haymaker

2011 – Mary-Howell Haymaker

2011 - Judy Kroll

2011 – Judy Kroll

2011 - James Menchinger

2011 – James Menchinger

2010 - Rosella Blunk

2010 – Rosella Blunk

2010 - Pauline Carochi

2010 – Pauline Carochi

2010 - Dale Deletis

2010 – Dale Deletis

2010 - Cat Horner-Bennett

2010 – Cat Horner-Bennett

2010 - Cathy Wood

2010 – Cathy Wood

2009 - Michele Coody

2009 – Michele Coody

2009 - Eric DiMichele

2009 – Eric DiMichele

2009 - Jan Heiteen

2009 – Jan Heiteen

2009 J.E. Masters

2009 J.E. Masters

2008 - Chuck Ballingall

2008 – Chuck Ballingall

2008 - Elly Kantorowicz

2008 – Elly Kantorowicz

2008 - Robert Kelly

2008 – Robert Kelly

2008 - Kandi King

2008 – Kandi King

2008 - Ron Krikac

2008 – Ron Krikac

2007 - Lydia Esslinger

2007 – Lydia Esslinger

2007 - Tony Figliola

2007 – Tony Figliola

2007 - Mel Olson

2007 – Mel Olson

2007 - Betty Whitlock

2007 – Betty Whitlock

2007 - Pam Cady Wycoff

2007 – Pam Cady Wycoff

2006 - Gay Brasher

2006 – Gay Brasher

2006 - Sr. Mary Patricia Plumb

2006 – Sr. Mary Patricia Plumb

2006 - Michael Starks

2006 – Michael Starks

2006 - Aaron Timmons

2006 – Aaron Timmons

2005 - Timothy C. Averill

2005 – Timothy C. Averill

2005 - Dr. Kenny Barfield

2005 – Dr. Kenny Barfield

2005 - Glenda Ferguson

2005 – Glenda Ferguson

2005 - Gloria Robinson

2005 – Gloria Robinson

2004 - Marilee Dukes

2004 – Marilee Dukes

2004 - Pamela K. McComas

2004 – Pamela K. McComas

2004 Ronald Steinhorst

2004 Ronald Steinhorst

2004 - Anne M. Sullivan

2004 – Anne M. Sullivan

2003 - David Baker

2003 – David Baker

2003 - Tom Montgomery

2003 – Tom Montgomery

2003 - John E. Sexton

2003 – John E. Sexton

2003 - Deborah E. Simon

2003 – Deborah E. Simon

2003 - Daniel Tyree

2003 – Daniel Tyree

2002 - Francine Berger

2002 – Francine Berger

2002 - Gary Harmon

2002 – Gary Harmon

2002 - Randy Pierce

2002 – Randy Pierce

2002 - Sr. Mary Raimonde Fdc

2002 – Sr. Mary Raimonde Fdc

2002 - Margaret Riley

2002 – Margaret Riley

2001 - Ron Carr

2001 – Ron Carr

2001 - Randall McCutcheon

2001 – Randall McCutcheon

2001 - B.J. Naegelin

2001 – B.J. Naegelin

2001 - Bro. George Zehnle, S.M.

2001 – Bro. George Zehnle, S.M.

2000 - Robert Brittain

2000 – Robert Brittain

2000 - Maybelle Conger

2000 – Maybelle Conger

2000 - John Hires

2000 – John Hires

2000 - William Woods Tate Jr.

2000 – William Woods Tate Jr.

2000 - Kenneth Thames

2000 – Kenneth Thames

1999 - Lawrence C. Brown

1999 – Lawrence C. Brown

1999 - Glenn Cavanaugh

1999 – Glenn Cavanaugh

1999 - Steven Davis

1999 – Steven Davis

1999 - Mildred Peveto

1999 – Mildred Peveto

1999 - Mary Ritter

1999 – Mary Ritter

1999 - Carol Zanto

1999 – Carol Zanto

1998 - Patricia Bailey

1998 – Patricia Bailey

1998 - Don Crabtree

1998 – Don Crabtree

1998 - Mary Donna Ross

1998 – Mary Donna Ross

1998 - Greg Varley

1998 – Greg Varley

1997 - Ted W. Belch

1997 – Ted W. Belch

1997 - Sr. Isabella Glenn

1997 – Sr. Isabella Glenn

1997 - Richard Rice

1997 – Richard Rice

1997 - Emerson Turner

1997 – Emerson Turner

1996 - C.E. "Pop" Grady

1996 – C.E. “Pop” Grady

1996 - Shirley Keller-Firestone

1996 – Shirley Keller-Firestone

1996 - Karen Miyakado

1996 – Karen Miyakado

1996 - Lowell Sharp

1996 – Lowell Sharp

1996 - Larry L Smith

1996 – Larry L Smith

1995 - Helen Engstrom

1995 – Helen Engstrom

1995 - Dr. Richard Hunsacker

1995 – Dr. Richard Hunsacker

1995 - Edwin Kelly

1995 – Edwin Kelly

1995 - Richard B. Sodikow

1995 – Richard B. Sodikow

1994 - Wayne Brown

1994 – Wayne Brown

1994 - A.C. Eley

1994 – A.C. Eley

1994 - William Hicks

1994 – William Hicks

1994 - Louie Mattachione

1994 – Louie Mattachione

1994 - Sandra Silvers

1994 – Sandra Silvers

1993 - Ray Cecil Carter

1993 – Ray Cecil Carter

1993 - Peggy Madden

1993 – Peggy Madden

1993 - Dale McCall

1993 – Dale McCall

1993 - Donald Lee Smith

1993 – Donald Lee Smith

1993 - Virginia Sutherland

1993 – Virginia Sutherland

1992 - David Johnson

1992 – David Johnson

1992 - Ron Underwood

1992 – Ron Underwood

1992 - Joseph R. Wycoff

1992 – Joseph R. Wycoff

1991 - David Dansky

1991 – David Dansky

1991 - Larry Highbaugh

1991 – Larry Highbaugh

1991 - Misao Kubota

1991 – Misao Kubota

1991 - Tedd D. Woods

1991 – Tedd D. Woods

1990 - Roger Brannan

1990 – Roger Brannan

1990 - Opal Hall

1990 – Opal Hall

1990 - Harold Carl Keller

1990 – Harold Carl Keller

1990 - Grace Walsh

1990 – Grace Walsh

1989 - Ralph Bender

1989 – Ralph Bender

1989 - Bob Bilyeu

1989 – Bob Bilyeu

1989 - Rex Fleming

1989 – Rex Fleming

1989 - Natalie Weber

1989 – Natalie Weber

1988 - Donovan Cummings

1988 – Donovan Cummings

1988 - Dr. Jane Eldridge

1988 – Dr. Jane Eldridge

1988 - Marilyn Hageman

1988 – Marilyn Hageman

1988 - Art McMillion

1988 – Art McMillion

1988 - L.D. Naegelin

1988 – L.D. Naegelin

1987 - Arlene Akerman

1987 – Arlene Akerman

1987 - Phyllis Barton

1987 – Phyllis Barton

1987 - David Kanellis

1987 – David Kanellis

1987 - Glenn Pelham

1987 – Glenn Pelham

1987 - Donus Roberts

1987 – Donus Roberts

1987 - Frank Sferra

1987 – Frank Sferra

1987 - Brother Rene Sterner

1987 – Brother Rene Sterner

1986 - Karl Boyle

1986 – Karl Boyle

1986 - Ralph Carey

1986 – Ralph Carey

1986 - Ronald Last

1986 – Ronald Last

1986 - Cecil J. Pickett

1986 – Cecil J. Pickett

1985 - Frances F. Ferris

1985 – Frances F. Ferris

1985 - Lois Sackman

1985 – Lois Sackman

1985 - Ronald Shafer

1985 – Ronald Shafer

1984 - Mable Hale

1984 – Mable Hale

1984 - Albert Odom

1984 – Albert Odom

1984 - Anne D. White

1984 – Anne D. White

1983 - Louis Banker

1983 – Louis Banker

1983 - Jean Boles

1983 – Jean Boles

1983 - Bill Henderson

1983 – Bill Henderson

1983 - J.W. Patterson

1983 – J.W. Patterson

1983 - Maurice Swanson

1983 – Maurice Swanson

1982 - Mary Blackburn

1982 – Mary Blackburn

1982 - C. Edwin Brower

1982 – C. Edwin Brower

1982 - Leah Funck

1982 – Leah Funck

1981 - Novalyn P. Ellis

1981 – Novalyn P. Ellis

1981 - Lenabell Sloan Martin

1981 – Lenabell Sloan Martin

1981 - Lester M. Tucker

1981 – Lester M. Tucker

1980 - Esther Kalmbach

1980 – Esther Kalmbach

1980 - Helen Malseed

1980 – Helen Malseed

1980 - Margaret L. Meredith

1980 – Margaret L. Meredith

1980 - Rev. John J. Miday

1980 – Rev. John J. Miday

1980 - Dennis Winfield

1980 – Dennis Winfield

1979 - Charline Burton

1979 – Charline Burton

1979 - Zazelle Gifford

1979 – Zazelle Gifford

1979 - Ruby Krider

1979 – Ruby Krider

1979 - Etta Scarborough

1979 – Etta Scarborough

1978 - James M. Copeland

1978 – James M. Copeland

1978 - John D. Davies

1978 – John D. Davies

1978 - Carmendale Fernandes

1978 – Carmendale Fernandes

1978 - L. Day Hanks

1978 – L. Day Hanks

1978 - James F. Hawker

1978 – James F. Hawker

1978 - R. Paul Hibbs

1978 – R. Paul Hibbs

1978 - Bruno E. Jacob

1978 – Bruno E. Jacob

1978 - Albert E. James

1978 – Albert E. James

1978 - J. Edmund Mayer

1978 – J. Edmund Mayer

1978 - Vernon W. Metz

1978 – Vernon W. Metz

1978 - H.B. Mitchell

1978 – H.B. Mitchell

1978 - Karl E. Mundt

1978 – Karl E. Mundt

Distinguished Service Awards

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.

Frank Sferra Director’s Commendation

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

Congratulations to the 2016 recipient, Sara Givens, from Mexico High School in Missouri!

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 2016 recipient is Meg Howell-Haymaker from Mountain View High 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 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 2016 recipient is Deborah E. Simon from Milton Academy in Massachusetts.

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 inaugural National Educator of the Year award 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.

2016-2017 Selection Process

Nominations will be accepted from fellow educators, administrators, school board members, or parents until January 20, 2017. Nominations must include the official consideration form, a recommendation letter from the submitter, and two additional letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with the candidate’s impact on speech & debate education.

Once the nomination period has closed, the NSDA Director of Community Engagement, along with members of the selection committee, will review all applications.

On January 27, 2017, five finalists for National Educator of the Year will be named.

Finalists will be informed and asked to submit a portfolio in hard copy or electronic form by February 8, 2017. Portfolios should include five sample educational materials (e.g., lesson plans, assessments, demonstrations, etc.). Finalists will also be asked to confirm that they will serve as an ambassador for the NSDA, when requested, for one calendar year.

The NSDA selection committee will evaluate all finalists and determine a winner.

The winner of the National Educator of the Year award will be announced and recognized as part of National Speech and Debate Education Day on March 3, 2017. The winner will be invited to be a keynote speaker at the inaugural education conference in 2017.

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 Award

The Bruno E. Jacob Award 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.

2016 Recipients – Leland High School – San Jose, California

Previous Recipients

2016 Leland High School, CA 1,674 points
2015 Cherry Creek High School, CO 1,639 points
2014 Nova High School, FL 1,554 points
2013 Holy Ghost Prep, PA 1,526 points
2012 Appleton East High School, WI 1,471 points
2011 Lincoln East High School, NE 1,503 points
2010 Neosho High School, MO 1,438 points

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.

The James 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

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
2012 West High School, IA
2011 George Washington High School, CO
2010 Whitney Young Magnet High School, IL

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 2016 recipient is Michael O’Toole from La Salle College High School in Pennsylvania.

Previous Recipients

2016 – Michael O'Toole

2016 – Michael O'Toole

La Salle College High School, PA

2013 – Douglas Wine

2013 – Douglas Wine

East Mountain High School, NM

2015 – Dr. Joseph H. Murry, Jr.

2015 – Dr. Joseph H. Murry, Jr.

Holy Cross School, LA

2012 – John LaCasse

2012 – John LaCasse

Nova High School, FL

2014 – Dr. Polly Reikowski

2014 – Dr. Polly Reikowski

Eagan High School, MN

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 2016 recipient is Carlos Castillo from Wawona Middle School and Bullard High School in California.

Previous Recipients

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.

2016 Schools of Outstanding Distinction

Apple Valley High School, MN
Chesterton High School, IN
Denver East High School, CO
Eagan High School, MN
Millard North High School, NE
Monte Vista High School – Danville, CA
Plano West Sr. High School, TX
Ridge High School, NJ
Syosset High School, NY
Trinity Preparatory School, FL

Senator Karl E. Mundt Trophy

The Senator Karl E. 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

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
2012 Trinity Preparatory School, FL 164 pts
2011 Mark Keppel High School, CA 164 pts
2010 Chaminade High School, NY

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