Are members required to compete in tournaments?  Yes, we require all of our members to compete in at least two tournaments per year.  (Two local tournaments are scheduled, which means that out-of-town travel is not a necessity.) Tournaments provide an experience for the students to really able to sharpen their skills, get feedback from multiple judges, and really start to blossom in their speaking skills as well as make new friends from other parts of the country.

Where are tournaments held?  STOA tournaments are held around the country.  As a member of Stoa, the student may compete in any Stoa tournament.  Last year, Mars Hill sponsored two tournaments in Phoenix: a one-day debate tournament in the fall, and a three-day speech & debate tournament in the spring.  Most families also travel to California, New Mexico, Colorado, Texas and other states to participate in tournaments.

Are there parent requirements to participate in a tournament?  Yes, tournaments are run on a volunteer basis.  Each tournament requires a high number of judges.  Based on the number of events your student(s) sign up for, you will be required to judge a specific number of events.  If you’re not able to meet your judging commitment, most tournaments request that you find a proxy to fill in for you.  Each family will also be required to recruit a certain number of community judges to assist with the judging efforts.

Are there ways to cut the cost of travel?  Yes, some families travel together and share the expense of gas and lodging.  In addition, some use,, and other websites to find discounted lodging.  At some tournaments, families of the club that is hosting the tournament will open their homes to host visiting competitors.