Member Login

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 honor for high schools in the NSDA. 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.

New high schools earning charter status will receive this plaque automatically. High schools that previously earned a paper charter have the option to purchase a plaque as well.

Charter Plaque

Leading Chapter Award

Each year the top chapter in accumulated members and degrees, not more than one per district, receives the Leading Chapter Award. Leading Chapter schools are recognized based on student participation throughout the school year. Schools earning the Leading Chapter Award must have previously achieved Charter School Status in the National Speech & Debate Association. The award is presented at the district tournament. These speech and debate programs serve as an inspiration for new teams around the United States.

Top 100 Schools

Each year, the 100 chapters with the largest number of new degrees receive the Top 100 Schools designation.

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

2021 Bellarmine College Prep, CA 2,110 pts
2020 Eagan High School, MN 1,949 pts
2019 Apple Valley High School, MN 1,875 pts
2018 Moorhead High School, MN 1,802 pts
2017 Gabrielino High School, CA 1,773 pts
2018 Recipients – Moorhead High School, Minnesota

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 had a strength of over 100 points. The 200 Club honors a school that earned 200 strength points; and so on. Club Award schools may purchase the Club Award Plaque or Desk Award to recognize their achievement.

Club Award - Plaque
Club Award - Desk Award

High School Administrator of the Year Award

The 2021 NSDA High School Administrator of the Year is Sharron Heinrich from Gabrielino High School in California. As a speech and debate alum, Ms. Heinrich knows firsthand the impact speech and debate has on students, and believes that a strong speech and debate team contributes to the academic foundations and reputation of a school. Ms. Heinrich was selected for her unwavering support of the program, for ensuring speech and debate courses are an integral part of curriculum, and for showcasing the team’s successes.

Sharron Heinrich

Sharron Heinrich – 2021 High School Administrator of the Year

About the Award

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

Selection Process

Each District Committee may award a District High School Administrator of the Year to a deserving individual in their district, and from those district-level award winners, a National High School Administrator of the Year is selected.

To be eligible for nomination, an administrator 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 administrator at an NSDA member school (experience need not be in the same school).
  • Plan to continue working as a high school administrator next year at an NSDA member school.
  • Agree to nomination.
  • If selected as the winner, be able to participate in the National Speech & Debate Tournament.

Nominees must be administrators 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.

As part of the district-level nomination process, nominators will be asked to provide a nomination letter and basic contact information using the online form. Administrators may be nominated by their students, coaches, team parents, and/or community members. Administrators may not nominate themselves. Submitted nominations will be provided to district chairs for review by their committees.

From the submitted administrators, each District Committee will select their District Administrator of the Year. The district-level award winners will be reviewed by a selection committee comprised of members of the National Speech & Debate Association.

District-level award winners must be submitted by April 16, 2022. The National Speech & Debate Association’s High School Administrator of the Year award recipient will be announced in May.

The High School Administrator 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 NSDA publications.

Previous Recipients

D. Scott Looney

2020 – Bethany Bohall
St. Mary’s Hall, TX

Lawrence E. Wall, Jr.
2019 – Lawrence E. Wall, Jr.
Charlotte Latin School, NC
D. Scott Looney
2018 – D. Scoot Looney
Hawken School, OH
Austin Brown
2017 – Austin Brown
Madison Central High School, MS
Michael O'Toole
2016 – Michael O’Toole
La Salle College High School, PA
Dr. Joseph H. Murry, Jr.
2015 – Dr. Joseph H. Murry, Jr.
Holy Cross School, LA
Dr. Polly Reikowski
2014 – Dr. Polly Reikowski
Eagan High School, MN
Dr. S. Douglas Wine
2013 – Dr. S. Douglas Wine
East Mountain High School, NM
John LaCasse
2012 – John LaCasse
Nova High School, FL
Liz Chamberlin
2011 – Liz Chamberlin
Leland High School, CA

Middle School Administrator of the Year Award

The 2021 NSDA Middle School Administrator of the Year is Alfred F. Dugan III, Head of School at Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart in New Jersey. Mr. Dugan was selected for enthusiastically supporting including more speech and debate elements in curriculum, encouraging hosting workshops and events on campus, and celebrating the value of our activity.

Alfred Dugan

Alfred Dugan – 2021 Middle School Administrator of the Year

About the Award

The National Speech & Debate Association’s Middle School Administrator of the Year program began in 2016 as a means to recognize outstanding middle school principals and administrators. The program annually honors administrators who have succeeded in providing high-quality opportunities for students in speech and debate programming as well as demonstrating exemplary contributions to the profession.

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.

To be eligible for nomination, an administrator 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 administrator at an NSDA member school (experience need not be in the same school).
  • Plan to continue working as an administrator next year at an NSDA member school.
  • Agree to nomination.
  • If selected as the winner, be able to participate in the National Speech & Debate Tournament.

Nominees must be administrators 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.

As part of the nomination process, nominators will be asked to provide a nomination letter and basic contact information using the online form. Administrators may be nominated by their students, coaches, team parents, and/or community members. Administrators may not nominate themselves.

Nomination materials will be reviewed by a selection committee comprised of members of the National Speech & Debate Association.

Nominations must be submitted by May 1, 2022. The National Speech & Debate Association’s Middle School Administrator of the Year award recipient will be announced in May.

The Middle School Administrator 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 NSDA publications.

Previous Recipients

Brad Berrett
2019 – Brad Berrett
Computech Middle School, CA
Errol Evans
2018 – Errol Evans
Attucks Middle School, FL
Donald Clayton
2017 – Donald Clayton
Mountain Brook Junior High School, AL
Carlos Castillo

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

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.

2021 Schools of Outstanding Distinction

American Heritage Broward High School, FL
Apple Valley High School, MN
Bellarmine College Prep, CA
Dougherty Valley High School, CA
Eagan High School, MN
Eastview High School, MN
James Logan High School, CA
Jasper High School, TX
Lawrence Free State High School, KS
Westmoore High School, OK

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

2021 Monte Vista High School, CA 274 pts
2020 Riverside High School, SC 245 pts
2019 Bellaire High School, TX 243 pts
2018 Syosset High School, NY 223 pts
2017 Ridge High School, NJ 213 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

2021 Bellarmine College Prep, CA
2019 Washburn Rural High School, KS
2018 Blue Valley Southwest High School, KS
2017 Palos Verdes Peninsula High School, CA
2016 Palos Verdes Peninsula High School, CA

Looking for more recognition?