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Advice on how to start a debate club?

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Hello everyone!

I am currently a sophomore in high school and love to debate. I plan on becoming a lawyer and later on a politician so naturally, you can see why I was disappointed that my high school doesn't have a debate club. After thinking about this problem I decided to start one! I am going to present the idea to the heads of my school when the threat of Covid 19 passes, however, I was wondering if anyone on here has either 1) done the same thing or 2) have any advice about planning competitions, how to manage all of the responsibility since I will be leading this in my junior year, how to run the meetings, etc.... I have done research but I still kind of feel like I'm going in blind. I'm grateful for any advice :).

Thank You!

ConfusedSophomore

debate
clubs

2 answers

answered on
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Okay as a debator if there is a forensics teacher or even a speech teacher Id recommend them for you to ask to sponsor. Additionally along with school requirements to recognize a club you should obviously show that multiple people are interested in the club. Then you need to clarify about funding (for my school it is school funded except for national circuit stuff where we have to pay for hotel lodging) but then do have to pay dues. Then I dont know the specifics but you need to more or less register your self/program with the NSDA (national speech and debate association) as they need to put you in a district where if you place in the top whatever you can go to nationals they also i believe have dues.

With all of that considered you might be able to go solo and compete under your school name but not be part of a club so to speak. My school runs a bid tournament for TOC and a person from florida flew up to my school in the midwest USA and entered by himself not the school sponsored his entry he himself. Also you need to secure someone who can judge unless you want to pay exhorbent fees to tournaments.

PS make sure there is an active debate community in that area my area has 12 schools that form 2 NSDA district but all are large public highschools in 2 250k plus towns except for 2 others in 2 different towns with about 25k population

PS if there is a forensics club a debate club might not be worth forensics its essentially speechs where as debate is more back and forth.

Hope this helps!

answered on
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I know a bit about the process of starting a club, although my experience might be specific to my school. I and the other individuals that came up with our club idea went to the main Leadership teacher where we gathered a few forms and got information on where to start. We had to create a constitution for our club which detailed the purpose of the club, date and time for meetings, the location of the club, the club adviser (a teacher), the board positions in terms of what each individual was responsible for, and more. From there we pitched the idea to a meeting with all the homeroom representatives and got our club approved. With debate club, there are a LOT of elements to consider. Since there are so many categories ( like extemporaneous, public forum, congressional) as well as the speech side (if you want a true speech and debate club), you would need to gather passionate individuals to make a strong board. You might also find it difficult to find individuals that are particularly skilled in the events, although this would improve with time since debate club is pretty popular. I think that if you show that you are passionate and dedicate your time towards researching all these components and proposing a plan to structure it well that you could pass the club! It is important to register with the National Speech and Debate Association in particular, and you should try to find local/in-state events as well as look into national or international competitions. To be able to make those connections and find those competitions, I think it requires both registration with the association and involvement with higher-level faculty. Best of luck on your club!