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

2018 Moorhead High School, MN 1,802 pts
2017 Gabrielino High School, CA 1,773 pts
2016 Leland High School, CA 1,674 pts
2015 Cherry Creek High School, CO 1,639 pts
2014 Nova High School, FL 1,554 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 2018 NSDA High School Administrator of the Year is D. Scott Looney, Head of School at Hawken School in Ohio. As the parent of a former debater, Scott believes that speech and debate may be the most valuable extra-curricular activity offered at Hawken and other schools, because it prepares students to excel in the real world by giving them concrete skills that they can build on.

IN THEIR WORDS | “Our speech and debate team is the largest team at Hawken—bigger than our football team. One out of every four students at our school participates in speech and debate, and this has made a huge difference in the lives of those students and to the ethos and culture of our school. Speech and debate creates a unique sense of team and community that allows students to ‘bridge the gap’ with those who may come from different backgrounds, have different experiences, etc. I see speech and debate as being a ‘great equalizer’ in many respects, as it provides students of all backgrounds with the opportunity to use their voice. Students from very different backgrounds and world views work together and compete in ways that help each understand the varied perspectives of others.”

D. Scott Looney

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.

Previous Recipients

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. Douglas S. Wine
East Mountain High School, NM

John LaCasse

2012 – John LaCasse
Nova High School, FL

Liz Chamberlin

2011 – Liz Chamberlin
Leland High School, CA

2018 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, 2018, through April 6, 2018.

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 NSDA member school (experience need not be in the same school).
  • Plan to continue working as a high school principal 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, held June 17-22, 2018, and/or be present to accept the award on Thursday, June 21, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

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 NSDA 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. Please include:
    — 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 NSDA publications.

Middle School Administrator of the Year Award

The 2018 NSDA Middle School Administrator of the Year is Errol A. Evans. Errol is principal of Attucks Middle School in Florida. Errol stood above the crowd as an administrator and supporter of speech and debate at Attucks in and out of the classroom. Because of Errol’s support, middle and elementary students across the county had a chance to participate in after-school speech and debate programs.

IN THEIR WORDS | “Beyond public speaking, participating in debate activities teaches students to look at issues from multiple perspectives, engage in the democratic process, seek answers from reliable and unbiased sources, and most of all, it requires them to think critically about issues and form their own informed opinions about the facts. When I think about the current state of our great nation, I can’t help but think that we could all benefit from taking a speech and debate class. The ability to disagree with someone on issues in an intelligent manner, without resorting to personal attacks, alternative facts, or ‘fake news’ is one that is critically necessary today. When students are forced to argue both sides of an issue, they are forced to see the values and evidence in support of each argument. They are obligated to get out of their box and passionately argue a perspective they may not agree with personally. This activity opens minds and develops a deeper understanding of the large societal issues we face. As an educator, I can only hope this will lead to an ability to compromise and build consensus in the future.”

Errol Evans

About the Award

The National Speech & Debate Association’s Middle School Administrator of the Year program began in 2015 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.

Previous Recipients

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

Elizabeth Bornia

2015 – Elizabeth Bornia
Bak Middle School of the Arts, FL

2018 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, 2018, through April 6, 2018.

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 NSDA member school (experience need not be in the same school).
  • Plan to continue working as a middle school principal 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, held June 17-22, 2018, and/or be present to accept the award on Thursday, June 21, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

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 NSDA 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. Please include:
    — 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 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 NSDA 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.

2018 Schools of Outstanding Distinction

Apple Valley High School, MN
Archbishop Mitty High School, CA
Cypress Bay High School, FL
Eagan High School, MN
ILEAD North Hollywood, CA
Miramonte High School, CA
Munster High School, IN
Plano West Sr. High School, TX
Riverside High School, SC
Seven Lakes High School, TX

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

2018 Syosset High School, NY 223 pts
2017 Ridge High School, NJ 213 pts
2016 Belen Jesuit Prep School, FL 200 pts
2015 Desert Vista High School, AZ 233 pts
2014 Nova High School, FL 207 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

2018 Blue Valley Southwest High School, KS
2017 Palos Verdes Peninsula High School, CA
2016 Palos Verdes Peninsula High School, CA
2015 Glenbrook North High School, IL
2014 Glenbrook South High School, IL

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