F5 Speech and Debate

We are planning on meeting next year (2018-2019) on Thursday evenings 7-8:30 PM at the Metrolina Christian Academy/First Baptist Church in Indian Trail.

Some information about us and what we do.

We are a very small club. This year (2017-2018) was our first year as a club. We have had about 5 regular attendees, who really have had a good time together. My 16 year old daughter leads the club while myself and my husband give feedback on debate rounds. Parents are welcome to sit in and give feedback. However, most don't.

Our club focuses on Lincoln Douglas and Parliamentary Debate (parli). At least that is where the bulk of our club time is spent. We do promote the students to participate in speech and have encouraged students to stay late to get help or feedback on their speeches.

Lincoln Douglas is a one on one person debate. The topic is the same for the whole year. This year the topic is “Preemptive warfare is morally justified.”

Parliamentary debate, which is based on the British parliament, is a fun, impromptu debate between 2 person teams. The topic for the debate is different for each of the six debate rounds. Teams have 20 minutes to research and prepare for the round using the Internet, friends, parents, other debaters, etc.

However, only notes handwritten by the debaters themselves can be used in the debate. The debate is fairly short lasting only 38 minutes for a round.

Topics for the debate can be serious like “The United States Federal Government should abolish the postal system” or could be light hearted like “Obi-Wan should not have allowed himself to be killed” or something in between like “The pen is greater than the sword.”

Speech events include apologetics (defending one’s Christian faith), Mars Hill Impromptu (using music, moves, and books as a jumping off point in sharing one’s Christian faith), extemporaneous (impromptu talk on current events), dramatic, humorous, duo, or open interpretation (acting out literature or one’s own composition), persuasive speech, expository speech (using props), original oratory, and demonstration.

We are part of the Stoa Christian homeschool debate league. More information about Stoa can be found here. http://stoausa.org/

Homeschoolers ages 12-18 as of October 1st are welcome to join us!

This school year we have hosted or are soon to host a total of 3 tournaments. Students attending have been from Virginia, Tennessee, and Georgia as well as North Carolina.

Students can also travel to tournaments in other states. The closest to us is in Atlanta.

During our club meetings, we intend for all students to get a chance to practice speaking although at the first of the year the meetings are more heavy on instruction than participation.


There is not any cost to join our club. However, there are expenses associated with competing. Students are encouraged to compete, but it is completely optional. There is also the optional cost of purchasing a subscription to Monument Publishing, which puts out weekly Lincoln Douglas case ideas throughout the school year. The price increases throughout the year with the summer price being the lowest you will see at $79.

Necessary supplies include a kitchen timer, pens, and a legal pad.

Some of the different speech events also have some cost associated with them. To be competitive in extemporaneous, it is helpful for a student to have a laptop and a program loaded on his/her laptop that downloads and organizes various Internet news articles by topic. These programs cost about $25-$30/year.

Students in apologetics need 4X6 index cards and some kind of box to keep them. The students research and make notes on the index cards as they attempt to answer the many possible topics that could be asked.

Students doing Mars Hill use a 3 ring binder to put synopses and other notes concerning the potential books, movies, and songs that they may be asked to speak on.

Students doing expository or demonstration may need to purchase the props needed to illustrate their speech. For expository, this usually involves an easel and some foam board.

Tournament expenses include purchasing dress clothes (new or second hand) if these aren’t already in your student’s closet. At competitions men are required to wear suits or slacks and a sports coat, with a shirt and tie, and dress shoes. For ladies the dress code is a skirt or pantsuits; slacks, skirts or dresses with jackets, and professional dress shoes. Hemlines are to be at least to the knee. Nylons are not required.

Each tournament also has its own registration fees. We have charged $20/debater and $10 for the first speech event and $5 for any additional speech events. Some tournaments charge as much as $40 per debate event.

Most tournaments want competitors and parents to either bring a lunch or purchase the meals offered at the tournament. These meals are usually around $5 but can be as expensive as $8. We try to keep our cost down and have some meal options costing just a couple of dollars. (Slice of pizza, cookie, water bottle).

If your family wants to travel to tournaments, there are the travel expenses on top of the registration and food costs. However, a lot of tournaments do offer host housing, where local families open their homes for out-of-towners to throw down a sleeping bag and take a shower.

Parent Participation

In order to host tournaments, we need the parents of our members to have all hands on deck for the duration of the tournament. We need parents to judge rounds (training is provided) and/or to do odd jobs like keep the food and drinks on the buffet table fresh for the judges.

Families should also try to recruit friends, family, and acquaintances to serve as judges at our tournaments. This just helps the students to have fresh faces to critique them.

Time Commitment

How much time a student wants to devote to speech and debate is really up to him or her.

The time commitment for debate is a lot greater in the first semester than in the second. It takes some time to learn the debate format and basics. Time also is spent in researching to understand the resolution and in determining the best case to support and oppose the resolution.

Usually the first Lincoln Douglas tournaments for the year occur in November before Thanksgiving. At least in my family, a lot of the work for debate happens before that first tournament in November. For the rest of the year, students tweak their cases, continually improving based on results and feedback from subsequent tournaments.

Speeches can take some time, too, depending on what type of speech the student would like to give.

Apologetics and Mars Hill can require a lot of time to develop the resources needed to excel in those events. Other speeches just require time to write and memorize.

I would estimate that debate students would spend 1-2 hrs/week on debate pre-Thanksgiving. After Thanksgiving, preparation, in my family at least, seems to come in spurts a couple of weeks before the next tournament.

Apologetics is approached by students differently. Some students just wing it. Other students diligently study each topic and record their findings including illustrations or attention getting ideas for introductions on index cards. The study of the apologetics topics can be a yearlong project that is very rewarding.

Up Coming Events

On May 3rd from 7- 8:30 at Metrolina we will be hosting an open house for prospective students and families.

This summer we are also planning on having a 3-day LD and parli debate camp. We are going to try to keep the cost down to $30/student total for all three days. Ethos Debate is going to be providing the instruction. We are working on dates right now.

Directions to the Building at Metrolina

We are meeting in building D, a one story red brick building, at the Metrolina Chrstian Academy. If you enter the campus on Gary Drive, you will eventually see to your right a grey building that looks like a house. That building houses the school offices and it has some large maroon letter M's on the outside. Behind that grey building is building D. Enter at the side door that is by the picnic tables under the pine trees.