National Tournament Topics

High School Topics

The following topics will be discussed during the 2020 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 substantially reduce Direct Commercial Sales and/or Foreign Military Sales of arms from the United States.

 

High School Public Forum Debate

TOPIC AREA: Education

Resolved: On balance, charter schools are beneficial to the quality of education in the United States.

(A total of 310 coaches and 474 students voted for the resolution. The winning resolution received 59% of the coach vote and 58% of the student vote.)

 

High School Lincoln-Douglas Debate

Resolved: The intergenerational accumulation of wealth is antithetical to democracy.

 

High School Congressional Debate

Download the 2020 high school legislation docket containing preliminary, quarterfinal, semifinal, and final legislation.

 

High School Big Questions

Resolved: Objective morality exists.

 

High School World Schools Debate

(prepared motions, listed in round order)

Prelims:

  • Round 1: This House believes that financially-stable adult children should be legally required to support their elderly parents.
  • Round 2: This House believes that financially-stable adult children should be legally required to support their elderly parents.
  • Round 3: This House supports the Green New Deal.
  • Round 4: This House supports the Green New Deal.
  • Round 5: This House regrets the narrative that nationalism is a dangerous ideology.
  • Round 6: This House regrets the narrative that nationalism is a dangerous ideology.

Elims:

  • Triple Octafinals: This House would break up Big Tech (examples include but are not limited to Amazon, Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft).
  • Double Octafinals: This House believes that film awards should be limited to those passing the Bechdel-Wallace test.
  • Octafinals: This House believes that former colonial powers should remove all restrictions on immigration for citizens from their former colonies.
  • Quarterfinals: This House regrets the narrative that higher education is essential for success.
  • Semifinals: This House supports giving an African nation a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.
  • Finals: This House believes that the response to pandemics, such as COVID-19, should be led by national governments as opposed to state/provincial/regional governments.

 

High School International Extemp

Round Zero will be judged and NSDA point-earning but will not affect tournament results.

Round order:

  • Round Zero: Pakistan, India, and Southeast Asia
  • Round 1: International Relations
  • Round 2: Central and South America
  • Round 3: Global Human Rights
  • Round 4: European Union
  • Round 5: China, The Koreas, and Japan
  • Round 6 (Octafinals): Global Health and Poverty
  • Round 7 (Octafinals): The Middle East
  • Round 8 (Quarterfinals): The COVID-19 Pandemic
  • Round 9 (Quarterfinals): Russia
  • Round 10 (Semifinals): International Economies
  • Round 11 (Semifinals): Africa
  • Round 12 (Finals): The World Next Week

 

High School United States Extemp

Round Zero will be judged and NSDA point-earning but will not affect tournament results.

Round order:

  • Round Zero: 2020 Election
  • Round 1: Environment and Energy
  • Round 2: Education and Youth Issues
  • Round 3: Constitutional Issues and The Courts
  • Round 4: Entitlements, Health, and Health Care
  • Round 5: Congress: The Legislative Branch
  • Round 6 (Octafinals): U.S. Economics and Business
  • Round 7 (Octafinals): American Foreign Policy
  • Round 8 (Quarterfinals): Structural Inequalities
  • Round 9 (Quarterfinals): Arts, Entertainment, and Society
  • Round 10 (Semifinals): The United States and COVID-19
  • Round 11 (Semifinals): Science and Technology
  • Round 12 (Finals): 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.

  • 100 Years Ago – The U.S. Constitution – Women Voting YES and Booze Sales NO
  • 100 Years Ago – League Of Nations Convenes, U.S. On Different Path
  • 100 Years Ago – “Because Freedom Can’t Protect Itself,” Bring In The ACLU
  • 100 Years Ago – Soviet Union Good and Bad – Civil War Finishes and Famine Flourishes
  • 100 Years Ago – The First U.S. Commercial Radio Station Hits The Airwaves – No Fake!
  • 2020 Theme Song – The Beatles – “Yesterday”
  • 2020 Theme Song – Vera Lynn – “We’ll Meet Again”
  • 2020 Theme Song – Bobby McFerrin – “Don’t Worry Be Happy”
  • 2020 Theme Song – Kelly Clarkson – “Stronger”
  • 2020 Theme Song – Louis Armstrong – “What A Wonderful World”
  • Not Even A Decade Old – Snapchat
  • Not Even A Decade Old – Apple Watches
  • Not Even A Decade Old – Blue Apron
  • Not Even A Decade Old – Body Armor for Women
  • Not Even A Decade Old – The Impossible Burger
  • Shows Never Growing Old – Sesame Street – Big Bird and Friends Are Over 50
  • Shows Never Growing Old – Saturday Night Live – Torturing Presidents Since 1975
  • Shows Never Growing Old – The Simpsons – Can Bart Graduate Grammar School?
  • Shows Never Growing Old – General Hospital – Check-in – 1963; Check-out – Never!
  • Shows Never Growing Old – Jeopardy – Same Host Since 1984
  • Walk Like An Olympian – Summer Cycle of Four Delayed For Just One Year More
  • Walk Like An Olympian – Ancient Games Not Fit For Younger Viewers
  • Walk Like An Olympian – The Rings Colorfully Represent Us All
  • Walk Like An Olympian – The Torch Relay: A Unique Journey
  • Walk Like An Olympian – Silver and Gold – Gold Medals Possess A Silver Lining

 

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.

  • “Winning is fun. But winning is not the point. Wanting to win is the point.”
    – Pat Summit
  • “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak. Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”
    – Winston Churchill
  • “Virtually nothing is impossible in this world if you just put your mind to it and maintain a positive attitude.”
    – Lou Holtz
  • “We don’t need no education.”
    – Pink Floyd
  • “I fight on. I fight on to win!”
    – Margaret Thatcher
  • “We elves try to stick to the four main food groups – Candy, Candy Cane, Candy Corn, and Syrup.”
    – Buddy The Elf
  • “Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great. You can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.”
    – Nelson Mandela
  • “There are always new, grander challenges to confront, and a true winner will embrace each one.”
    – Mia Hamm
  • “We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.”
    – Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • “Let us not take ourselves too seriously. None of us has a monopoly on wisdom.”
    – Queen Elizabeth II
  • “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.”
    – Michael Corleone
  • “Don’t underestimate how fine you are.”
    – Laura Schlessinger
  • “I hated every minute of training, but I said, “Don’t Quit”. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.”
    – Muhammad Ali
  • “Society teaches us that having feelings and crying is bad and wrong. Well that’s baloney, because grief isn’t wrong. There’s such a thing as good grief. Just ask Charlie Brown.”
    – Michael Scott
  • “To educate a person in the mind but not in morals is to educate a menace to society.”
    – Theodore Roosevelt
  • “Relationships are based on four principles: respect, understanding, acceptance, and appreciation.”
    – Mahatma Gandhi
  • “Whether women are better than men I cannot say – but I can say they are certainly no worse.”
    – Golda Meir
  • “My mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”
    – Forrest Gump
  • “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.”
    – Milton Berle
  • “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.”
    – Helen Keller

 

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.

 

High School Interpretation Events

View the list of approved websites for Interpretation Events. Listing of these online publishing sources does not constitute an endorsement of the content of these sites. Stories, poems, news articles, and images may not be appropriate for all ages.

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