Judge Speech & Debate

Thank you for Judging

Speech and Debate is an incredibly important activity for the students who participate. They learn confidence, life skills, and they learn teamwork and camaraderie. They earn college scholarships. And they forge memories that will last them a lifetime.

We could not provide these benefits for our students if not for you, the volunteer judges. Thank you so very much.


Belgrade is hosting our meet on December 6th and December 7th. Our biggest need for judges is the early and mid afternoon on Saturday, December 7th. As a judge, you'll sign up for individual rounds to judge. A round takes about two hours. The times run through late afternoon and evening of Friday, and morning to mid-afternoon on Saturday. (Specific times are on the sign-up.)


We will offer two identical training sessions. Neither is mandatory. Each will cover the same info, so you only need to attend one. At training, we'll cover (a) what each event is, (b) how to judge it, (c) a few basic rules - like what to do if you walk into a round and see a competitor that you know well.

We've scheduled two training sessions:

  • Monday, December 2nd - 6:00 pm to 7:15 pm - Belgrade High School
  • Wednesday, December 4th - 6:00 pm to 7:15 pm - Belgrade High School

Can I be a Judge?

Many people wonder if they can judge speech and debate. Here are our rules of thumb. If you've ever:

  • ...watched a TV show and said to yourself "This was not as good as the show before it" then you're ready to judge interp events.
  • ...seen a news show and said to yourself "That man did not adequately address the woman's points" then you're ready to judge debate.
  • ...watched campaign speeches and said "This candidate spoke much better than that candidate" then you're ready to judge speech events.

Judges Handbook

Can't make training? MHSA has published a handbook for judges that goes over the events. It'll be our guide in the training sessions, so if you're coming to training, we'll give you a hardcopy of it. Interested? CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD.

NOTE on Judge Signups

Speech and Debate tournaments always have shifting registration - kids get sick, emergencies happen. That means sometimes, we guess wrong about the number of judges that we'll need.