Good Luck, and some updates…

Wish our Arizona students luck at the Tournament of Champions this weekend at the University of Kentucky.  You can follow their success at  We have the potential to do great things.

This is the first of a series on next year’s changes as adopted by the AIA Speech and Debate Advisory Committee:

Duo Acting will become Duet Acting.  This name is accepted by the National Speech and Debate Association for student credit points.  Costumes and props will no longer be allowed.  Students will get a table and 2 chairs to work with, but, for safety reasons, they may no longer get on top of the table whether it is by sitting, standing, or laying.  We are also reinforcing the current rule in the handbook which states that literature in Duo (Duet) Acting must be written for the theater, either as a full length play, a one-act, or a scene.  These changes will go into effect in 2014-2015.

A proposal which will go before the Coaches Convention in September would limit Duet Acting to Freshman or Sophomore competitors only.  That will require debate and a vote at the convention before being adopted.

Get ready for next year!

There are many exciting things coming our way.  I will have much to tell you over the next few weeks.  For now, here is the current tournament schedule for 2014-2015.  it can be found on our page, and also downloaded here: 14-15 Tournament Calendar.  Let me know as soon as possible if there are any errors.

Time for Arizona to Brag!

In the last month, there is plenty for Arizona to be proud of:

Congratulations to our very own Meg Howell for being awarded the National Federation of High Schools Section 7 Speech, Debate, and Theater Educator of the Year award.  Section 7 represents Arizona, Utah, Nevada, California, and Hawaii.  Meg was our state award winner and was selected from among the Section state winners for the Section award.  Congratulation Meg!

Hamilton High School won the International Public Policy Forum World Championship, sponsored by the Bickle and Brewer Foundation.  The contest started off with case submissions, featured a few rounds of online debates, and finished with face-to-face debates in New York City, defeating Hathaway Brown High School from Ohio in the final.

Our National Qualifier tournament selected the best of Arizona to represent us in Overland Park, Kansas this summer.  Thirteen schools will represent Arizona.  In addition, Carlos Ochoa from Brophy becomes Arizona’s first 4-time qualifier.  Congratulations!

Arizona’s state tournaments were contested in Mid-March.  Brophy College Prep won the Division 1 Sweepstakes, and Catalina Foothills High School won Division 2.  Congratulations to all who attended!

Upcoming, we have the Debate and Individual Events Tournaments of Champions in late April and early May, followed by Nationals in June. Keep it up Arizona!

Updates and Opportunities

As we reach the end of the regular season, there are a few opportunities available for coaches and students:

For coaches, the American Forensics Association (college and university) National Tournament is coming to ASU on April 5-7. You can sign up to be a hired judge and see the best speech and debate that the college world has to offer. Email for more information.

Our state and national qualifier tournaments are coming up soon. Check for more information. Make sure to sign up for the correct division state tournament. If you have any question about which division you are in, contact me. The NFL (NSDA) Congress and Speech/Debate Qualifiers have specific rules and specific paperwork which must be completed prior to registration. Read the invitations carefully. Contact Meg Howell with any questions.

Schedule Changes

Apache Junction has canceled their tournament (Feb. 22). SWSDI, State, and the NFL Qualifier Tournaments are still upcoming. Keep your eyes posted to for more details and the tournament invitations.

Thunderbird High School wins AAA Award

Thunderbird High School’s Speech and Debate team was honored with the school’s Achievement Above All Award for an outstanding club or activity.  This coveted awarded is saved for the best at the school.  Congratulations to the team as well as coaches Lauren Colombo and Erin Long for their accomplishment!

Welcome to Winter Trophy!

Tomorrow, the annual Forensic League of Arizona Winter Trophy Tournaments begin.  Division One is hosted by the ASU Speech and Debate team, and Division Two is hosted by Sierra Linda High School.  A big “Thank you!” to the hosts.

After looking over the semester, I have a few things to say to the community:  First off, I am so lucky to get to work with such a talented group of coaches and students.  I feel fortunate to have so many wonderful colleagues.  There are a few items, however, that we can do to make tournaments an even better experience.  Please report all drops to the registration table as soon as you know about them.  If the students aren’t actually dropped, they become a No-Show.  We expect that as coaches, you are aware of your entry and know when students who you have entered aren’t at the tournament.  A drop can be removed and the event rebracketed.  A no-show wreaks havoc with debate power-matching, and unbalances IE sectioning.  Unreported drops are the bane of the tab room.  Tell us when students aren’t there.  Check the registration paperwork carefully.  The computer isn’t perfect.  If someone isn’t listed on your entry who should be, it is always much easier to take care of that prior to round one starting than to try to shoehorn them in once the tournament has started.  We want to work with you as much as we can, and mistakes happen to all of us, but don’t be afraid to communicate with the tournament directors.

Thank you all for all of your hard work, and good luck this weekend!


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