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Coaches standing together on a tournament stage holding plaques

NSDA membership opens the door to various recognition opportunities for coaches, students, and schools through our Honor Society. 

Coach Recognition

In addition to the Donus D. Roberts Coaching Excellence award and Diamond awards, coaches can earn Distinguished Service Awards for service to their communities and are eligible for national-level recognition for coaches and educators including high school and middle school Coach of the Year awards, New Coach awards, Assistant Coach awards, and more. View all coach recognition at

Student Recognition

Academic All American: The Academic All American award celebrates the academic excellence and competitive success of high school students. Fewer than 2% of NSDA students earn this designation each year. To be eligible, students must 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: humility, equity, integrity, respect, 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. The National Student of the Year serves as the student face of the organization. 

View more student recognition opportunities or start a nomination for one of the awards above at

School Recognition

The National Speech & Debate Association offers two separate levels of school membership: Member and Charter. Each school is designated a member chapter or charter chapter, which determines its credit toward a district’s strength of chapters and therefore the district’s number of qualifiers to the National Tournament.

Charter Chapter

Becoming a charter chapter is the highest honor for high schools in the NSDA. A chapter is automatically chartered if, after at least one year at member status, it has earned at least 50 degrees within a three-year period. Small schools with a grade 9-12 enrollment of fewer than 500 students must earn at least 25 degrees within a three-year period. If at any point 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. 

Member Chapter

A chapter that has never earned charter status, is returning after more than five years of absence, or as a former Charter did not maintain charter strength renewal requirements over a three-year period.

Schools are also eligible for various awards through the Honor Society for their commitment to speech and debate activities and the learning opportunities they provide to their students.


Learn more at