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

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

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
2013 Holy Ghost Prep, PA 1,526 pts

2017 Recipients – Gabrielino High School, California

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 earned 100 or more degrees last year; The 200 Club honors a school that earned 200 or more degrees last year; and so on. Club Award schools may purchase the Club Award Plaque or Club Award Trophy to recognize their achievement.

High School Principal of the Year Award

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

The 2017 recipient is Austin Brown from Madison Central High School in Mississippi.

Austin Brown

Previous Recipients

2017 – Austin Brown

2017 – Austin Brown

Madison Central High School, MS

2016 – Michael O'Toole

2016 – Michael O'Toole

La Salle College High School, PA

2015 – Dr. Joseph H. Murry, Jr.

2015 – Dr. Joseph H. Murry, Jr.

Holy Cross School, LA

2014 – Dr. Polly Reikowski

2014 – Dr. Polly Reikowski

Eagan High School, MN

2013 – Douglas Wine

2013 – Douglas Wine

East Mountain High School, NM

2012 – John LaCasse

2012 – John LaCasse

Nova High School, FL

2011 – 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 Principal of the Year Award

The National Speech & Debate Association’s Middle School Principal of the Year program began in 2015 as a means to recognize outstanding middle school principals. The program annually honors principals who have succeeded in providing high-quality opportunities for students in speech and debate programming as well as demonstrating exemplary contributions to the profession.

The 2017 recipient is Donald Clayton from Mountain Brook Junior High School in Alabama.

Donald Clayton

Previous Recipients

2017 – Donald Clayton
Mountain Brook Junior High School, AL

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

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.

2017 Schools of Outstanding Distinction

Apple Valley High School, MN
Archbishop Mitty High School, CA
Bellarmine College Prep, CA
Cypress Bay High School, FL
Desert Vista High School, AZ
Eagan High School, MN
Lakeville North High School, MN
Nova High School, FL
Plano West Senior High School, TX
Western High School, FL

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

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
2013 Miramonte High School, CA 172 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

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
2013 Glenbrook North High School, IL

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