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National Tournament Topics 2021

High School National Tournament Topics

The following topics will be discussed during the 2021 online National Speech & Debate Tournament. Visit our Nationals page to learn more about this prestigious event.

High School Policy Debate

Resolved: The United States federal government should enact substantial criminal justice reform in the United States in one or more of the following: forensic science, policing, sentencing. 

High School Public Forum Debate

TOPIC AREA: Free Speech
Resolved: In the United States, social media is beneficial for democratic values.
(A total of 637 coaches and 968 students voted for the resolution. The winning resolution received 55% of the coach vote and 43% of the student vote.) 

High School Lincoln-Douglas Debate

Resolved: A public health emergency justifies limiting civil liberties.
(A total of 634 coaches and 819 students voted for the resolution. The winning resolution received 39% of the coach vote and 39% of the student vote.) 

High School Congressional Debate

Download the 2021 high school legislation docket containing preliminary, quarterfinal, semifinal, and final legislation. 

High School Big Questions

Resolved: Mathematics was discovered, not invented. 

High School World Schools Debate

Prepared motions are listed in round order. Round zero is judged and NSDA point-earning but will not affect tournament results.

Prelims:

  • Round 0: This House supports a federal NIL (name, image, and likeness) law for college athletes.
  • Round 1: This House supports a federal NIL (name, image, and likeness) law for college athletes.
  • Round 2: This House supports a federal NIL (name, image, and likeness) law for college athletes.
  • Round 3: This House would require defendants in criminal trials to be represented exclusively by public defenders.
  • Round 4: This House would require defendants in criminal trials to be represented exclusively by public defenders.
  • Round 5: This House supports a U.S.-Taiwan Free Trade Agreement.
  • Round 6: This House supports a U.S.-Taiwan Free Trade Agreement.

Elims:

  • Quadruple Octafinals: This House regrets the rise in popularity of easily accessible online platforms for trading stocks, cryptocurrency, and other financial instruments (e.g., Robinhood, etc.).
  • Triple Octafinals: This House supports an immediate end to the U.S. embargo on Cuba.
  • Double Octafinals: This House would suspend intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Octafinals: Impromptu motion
  • Quarterfinals: Impromptu motion
  • Semis: Impromptu motion
  • Finals: This House believes that the benefits of expanding the US Supreme Court outweigh the harms.

 

High School International Extemp

Topic areas are listed alphabetically. Round zero is judged and NSDA point-earning but will not affect tournament results.

  • Practice Round 0 – North America and the Caribbean 
  • Prelim Round 1 – Global Human Rights 
  • Prelim Round 2 – East and Southeast Asia
  • Prelim Round 3 – Africa
  • Prelim Round 4 – Environmental Issues
  • Prelim Round 5 – International Diplomacy
  • Double Octafinals Round 6 – Europe
  • Double Octafinals Round 7 – Central and South America
  • Octafinals Round 8 – Elections
  • Octafinals Round 9 – Central and South Asia 
  • Quarterfinals Round 10 – Global Health
  • Quarterfinals Round 11 – Militaries and Armed Conflicts
  • Semifinals Round 12 – The Middle East
  • Semifinals Round 13 – International Economics
  • Finals Round 14 – The World Next Week

 

High School United States Extemp

Topic areas are listed in round order. Round zero is judged and NSDA point-earning but will not affect tournament results.

  • Practice Round 0 – Transportation and Infrastructure 
  • Prelim Round 1 – The Executive Branch
  • Prelim Round 2 – Racial Justice
  • Prelim Round 3 – U.S. Foreign Policy
  • Prelim Round 4 – U.S. Economics and Business
  • Prelim Round 5 – Arts, Entertainment, and Society
  • Double Octafinals Round 6 – Elections
  • Double Octafinals Round 7 – Education
  • Octafinals Round 8 – The Legislative Branch
  • Octafinals Round 9 – Environment and Energy
  • Quarterfinals Round 10 – The First Amendment
  • Quarterfinals Round 11 – Science and Technology
  • Semifinals Round 12 – The Judicial Branch
  • Semifinals Round 13 – Entitlements and Health Care
  • Finals Round 14 – The U.S. Next Week

 

High School Prepared Commentary

In Prepared Commentary, students select one prompt from the list below, prepare a 5-minute speech, and submit it through the recording process.

  • Farewell: People We Lost In 2021 – Cicely Tyson = Actress Extraordinaire
  • Farewell: People We Lost In 2021 – Vernon Jordan = Civil Rights Mover & Shaker
  • Farewell: People We Lost In 2021 – Hank Aaron = Hammerin’ Hank
  • Relevance of Events 30 Years Later – Operation Desert Storm
  • Relevance of Events 30 Years Later – The Soviet Union Dissolves
  • Relevance of Events 30 Years Later – The Violence Upon Rodney King
  • Roaring 20s – Innovation Battle – Model T or Model S
  • Roaring 20s – Cultural Trends – Alcohol Prohibition & Marijuana Legalization
  • Roaring 20s – Pandemic Fallout – Spanish Influenza v. Coronavirus-19
  • Out Of This World – Space Tourism – Will I Need My Passport?
  • Out Of This World – Mission to Mars – The Layover Is How Long?
  • Out Of This World – Life on Venus – A Goddess On A Mountain Top?
  • COVID-19 Pop Culture Trends – And To All, A Good Tik Tok
  • COVID-19 Pop Culture Trends – All About Chess
  • COVID-19 Pop Culture Trends – Video On-Demand
  • We Are Living In A Virtual World – Esports Are Real Sports
  • We Are Living In A Virtual World – Dogecoin or Bust!
  • We Are Living In A Virtual World – Non Fungible Tokens (NFTs)

 

High School Prepared Prompt Speaking

In Prepared Prompt Speaking, students select one prompt from the list below, prepare a five-minute speech, and submit it through the recording process.

  • “It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.”
    – Muhammad Ali
  • “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand
    more, so that we may fear less.”
    – Madame Curie
  • “Overpower. Overtake. Overcome.”
    – Serena Williams
  • “Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own
    myth.”
    – Rumi
  • “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is
    more important than fear.”
    – Ambrose Redmoon
  • “Stand for something or you will fall for anything. Today’s mighty oak is yesterday’s nut
    that held its ground.”
    – Rosa Parks
  • “Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.”
    – Nora Ephron
  • “You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.”
    – William Faulkner
  • “The more difficult the victory, the greater the happiness in winning.”
    – Pele
  • “Have the courage to ‘swim against the tide.’ Have the courage to be happy.”
    – Pope Francis
  • “A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.”
    – Walter Winchell
  • “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”
    – Dalai Lama
  • “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that
    overwhelm the world.”
    – Desmond Tutu
  • “The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.”
    – Dolly Parton
  • “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change the world.
    Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.”
    – Margaret Mead
  • “If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can transform one million realities.”
    – Maya Angelou
  • “The supreme quality of leadership is integrity”
    – Dwight Eisenhower
  • “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they
    must be felt with the heart.”
    – Helen Keller
  • “In a time of destruction, create something.”
    – Maxine Hong Kingston
  • “The truth has a strange way of following you, of coming up to you and making you listen to what it has to say.”
    – Sandra Cisneros

 

High School Pro Con Challenge

The Pro Con Challenge is a new supplemental speech event in which students will select the National Tournament topic for CX, LD, or PF or a piece of legislation in the High School Congressional Debate Docket and write a 3-5 minute affirmative speech and a 3-5 minute negative speech on that topic. 

High School Extemporaneous Debate

Tournament officials post the resolution to be debated for each round 30 minutes prior to the start of flight A.

 

High School Storytelling

Students competing in Storytelling may use any theme/topic area.