Speech & Debate
In Speech and Debate, you will have the opportunity to meet people and make friends from all over the world, bond with your teammates, explore new ideas, creating memories you'll cherish forever.
Meet new people.
Explore new ideas.
Be a part of a family.
Real World Education
Speech and debate teaches fudnamental lessons that are absolutely essential for success in the exceedingly competitive 21st century.
1. CONFIDENCE: Speech and Debate teaches confidence and eloquence in presenting oneself to the world. Whether it be for a job/college interview, a presentation, or day to day communication, this activity embeds confidence within all of its participants.
2. COMMUNICATION: Speech and Debate is the art of communication. Studies have shown that students who participate in Speech and Debate come out better able to express their viewpoints effectively, connect with others, and persuade others, leading to more succcessful lives.
A 2013 survey by the National Association of College and Employers found that the ability to communicate effectively is the quality employers most want to see in new recruits.
3. TEAMWORK: Every event in Speech and Debate requires some level of collaboration and teamwork. To be able to effectively work with a team to achieve a common goal is extremely important for the real world.
4. CRITICAL THINKING AND ANALYSIS: Participants in Speech and Debate are famous for their next level abilities of analysis. From news articles to literature to music to century old political philosophy books, students learn to disect information in ways that come in handy in real life scenarios.
5. CHARACTER: Speech and Debate teaches students to keep on persevering for the win, and to be patient in obtaining success. It also teaches students how to maintain composure and morale in the face of failure, a skill key to persevering in life.
President John F. Kennedy, August 22, 1960: “I think debating in high school and college is most valuable training. . . . I wish we had a good deal more debating in our educational institutions than we do now.”
Colleges love Speech & Debate. Our entire graduating class of 2014 got into UC Berkeley. This comes as no surprise when taking into consideration the following statistics, quotes, and studies:
Professor Minh A. Luong of Yale University:
“As a college professor, I note that my top students are most often former high school debaters who actively participate in class discussions and articulate persuasive arguments both in class and on written assignments.”
According to the Wall Street Journal:
1. State and national award winners have a 22% to 30% higher acceptance rate at top tier colleges.
2. Being captain of the speech and debate team improved an applicant’s chances by more than 60% compared with the rest of the pool.
3. Even without winning major awards, participation in speech and debate reflected in the above average acceptance rate for forensic students (+4%)."
4. This is significantly better than other extracurricular activities that tend to recruit from the same pool of students as forensic teams such as school newspaper reporter (+3%), sports team captain (+5%), class president (+5%), and band (+3%).
2. GPA & SAT PREPARATION
Research by the National Speech and Debate Association indicates that the average speech and debate student is in the top 10% of his or her high school class. Improvement in academic performance is common to all debate students, regardless of their level of academic achievement prior to joining the activity.
David Coleman, the driving force behind the new SAT, is also a former member of Stuyvesant High’s championship speech and debate team. Naturally, the new [SAT] test emphasizes many skills that students cultivate at speech and debate tournaments, including but not limited to:
A. The ability to support a claim with evidence:
According to the College Board, the new SAT will measure a student’s ability to “interpret, synthesize, and use evidence found in a wide range of sources.”
B. The ability to analyze and deconstruct an author’s argument: the College Board says the SAT redesign will “promote the practice of reading a wide variety of arguments.”
"I am a firm believer in the power of forensics to change a person’s life. The ability to communicate is one of the most powerful there is in our society. By giving young people the opportunity to develop effective communication skills, forensics opens doors to endless opportunities."
- Diana Carlin
So, why join Speech & Debate?
The most enriching, fulfilling high school experience can be divided into three categories: real-world education, academics, and fun.