The Art of Speech and Debate

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By: Ryan Fuemmeler
Speech and Debate (SAD) is a seemingly undercover activity taking place in our very own school. Many people are unaware of SAD’s very existence and the activity usually just flies under the radar, never receiving attention. Despite this, remarkable opportunities are created within the art of Speech and Debate. Farmington High School is even one of the four schools in the MHSAA Speech and Debate district to host one of the in-season meets. After school hours, the cafeteria is filled with students donned in formal attire ready to compete. The classrooms are converted into performance spaces and announcements are made at the end of the night, listing which individuals qualify for finals. All of this goes on, but after tear down at the end of the night, it is almost like it never even happened.
To start from the square one, Speech and Debate is an activity where students participate in speaking, acting, and debating based competitions. There is a wide array a categories students can compete in, all pertaining back to public speaking skills, presentation, entertainment, and professionality. The year starts by attending meets at rival schools throughout the first semester. Depending on the quality of a presentation, individuals may move onto finals at the beginning of the new year. After that, districts is held in the spring where schools enter their best single competitor in a category, and if a student is successful there, they move onto the state level. In the last year, four students qualified for state!
The name Speech and Debate, is, for sure, a confusing one. The word speech is quite vague, while all attention goes to the ever-frightening word– debate. It is understandable why a small amount of students participate in this activity, but hopefully that can change. In reality, there only three categories relating to debate while there are eleven other categories relating to theatrical acting or public speaking. The range is so great in these categories. An individual could simply read poetry, partner up with a friend to perform a skit, or even just present a speech on a topic of importance. The art of speech and debate is so broad and can pertain to any one person’s interests! Below is a list of events students can compete in.
 
Dramatic Interpretation:
–A ten minute, memorized script performed by one individual relating to a dramatic topic
Humorous Interpretation:
–A ten minute, memorized script performed by one individual relating to a funny topic
Duet Acting:
–A ten minute, memorized script performed by a team of two
Duo Interpretation:
–A ten minute, memorized script performed by a team of two who cannot interact
Poetry Reading:
–A eight minute reading of poetry pertaining to an author or topic
Prose Reading:
–A eight minute reading of any published literature
Storytelling:
–A eight minute, memorized performance of a story originally intended for children
 
Radio Speaking:
–A five minute reading of news, sports, and weather that occurred within the past 24 hours
Domestic Extemporaneous Speaking:
–A seven minute, impromptu speech about a topic related to the U.S. supplied to the competitor thirty minutes before performing.
Foreign Extemporaneous Speaking:
–A seven minute, impromptu speech about a topic related to the world supplied to the competitor thirty minutes before performing.
Original Oratory:
–A ten minute, memorized speech about a topic of importance.
Public Forum Debate:
–A two person, thirty-three minute long debate about a monthly topic
Lincoln Douglas Debate:
— A single person, thirty-two minute long debate
Policy Debate:
A two person, hour long debate about a yearly topic