Houston County Students and Parents

Houston County Students and Parents

Ken CavanaughDebate Team James Brock

HoustonCountyHigh School

920 Highway 96
Warner Robins, 31088

(478) 988-6340

Houston County Students and Parents,

Thank you for your interest in Houston County High School’s debate program. Speech and debate programs are one of the best educational opportunities available to students in today’s information based society. The power of debate activities cannot be overstated. Some of the benefits of debate include:

1)Communication skills- Speech and debate teaches students how to express their ideas coherently and efficiently. Debate is uniquely suited to teaching persuasiveness and eloquence. These are all important skills for today’s job market, and particularly for interviews. Almost 80% of the current members of Congress debated competitively, and excluding President Bush, every U.S. President going back to Harry Truman debated.

2)Research- The amount of knowledge accumulated by our debate team is staggering. Debate teaches students how to enjoy the search for information. Participation in high school debate has been shown to increase standardized test scores and classroom grades in all areas, particularly reading and writing.

I'm saying the finest education I got from any of the institutions that I attended, the foundation of my mind that I got during those four years of competitive debate: that is, 90% of the intellectual capacity that I operate with today; Fordham [University] for college, Fordham for the Ph.D., Harvard for Law School – all of that is the other 10%.

—John Sexton, President of New York University

3)Critical thinking skills- Unlike the classroom setting, debate requires students to evaluate, synthesize, and integrate information. Students naturally grow into the ability to logically deconstruct problems and to creatively find solutions to them.

4)College admissions and scholarships- Many of our team’s alumni have continued to debate in college, and over the past 2 years HCHS students have been awards more the $100,000 in debate scholarships. “Studies have shown that colleges and universities rank competitive speech as the most valuable experience a student can have when applying for college. Many of the most prestigious colleges in America offer debate scholarships and preferential admissions consideration to top-flight high school debaters. In the professional world, a recent survey of employers conducted by a national recruiting firm found competitive speech experience to be the most highly valued experience an applicant could cite (among 31 factors listed in the survey).”

5)Debate is really fun- Debaters are a friendly and entertaining set of students, and who doesn’t like to argue? Debate is one of the most meaningful and enjoyable experiences for most students. Students can make lifelong friends and gain a love of knowledge.

HCHS debaters participatevarious forms of debate. Students will argue both sides of the same resolution at each tournament this year. Debaters compete in teams of one or two students, and each debate round takes between one and two hours. In a most tournaments students will compete in between 4 and 8 rounds. After a student’s first year, JV and Varsity debaters must have a working laptop.

The Rules:

The debate team meets every Monday and Friday in room 219 from 3:00-4:00. In order to complete, debaters are required to attend at least one practice each week. If a student will not be able to attend practice, they must notify Coach Brock by email or text message.

Several fund raisers will be conducted this year, but travel and entry fees still must be supplemented by parents. The initial dues for the debate team will be $50.00. This includes entry into the first tournament, a debate tee shirt, and entry into the National Speech and Debate League (NSDL). The NSDL is an organization that tracks and rewards student achievement in speech and debate activities. Students are usually eligible for membership after their second tournament. Dues for many Georgia debate programs exceed $400.00. Students are also required to pay fees for each tournament they attend. These fees are estimated on the schedule below. They may increase or decrease depending on hotel costs and tournament fees.

The debate team will attend more than 15 tournaments this year. You can find the schedule on the next page. Students do not have to attend all or even half of those tournaments, but experience is an important factor in a debater’s success. If a student signs up for a tournament and does not notify Coach Brock one week before the tournament that they will not be attending, they are responsible for all fees associated with that tournament.

Many tournaments we attend require a hotel stay. This is a wonderful bonding experience for team members, but some ground rules are necessary. 10:00 p.m. or 30 minutes after we arrive at the hotel (whichever is later) students must be in their rooms. 11:00 p.m. or 1 hour after we arrive at the hotel students must be in bed and silent. At no time are members of the opposite sex allowed in the same hotel room.

On debate tournaments students are required to follow all rules outlined in the school handbook. Violations of these rules or other rules indicated by the coaches may result in a written warning, a suspension from 1-3 tournaments, or removal from the debate team and administrative consequences. Debaters are almost always the brightest and best students at HCHS. In at least the last 5 years disciplinary actions have not been taken toward any debater.

Calendar 2014-2015

All dates and fees are approximate.

Due back September 2nd

Date / Tournament / Coach / Fees Aprox. / Will attend y/n?
August 13th 2014 / First meeting for new members / Rm. 219
September 6th, 2014 / HoCo Debate Tournament / Brock / $0 / Must attend
September 13th, 2014 / Valdosta Debate Tournament / CAV / $15
September 20th, 2014 / Roswell Debate Tournament / BROCK / $20
October 3-4th, 2014 / Calhoun SWS Invitational / BROCK / $40
October 11th, 2013 / Warner Robins Tournament / BOTH / $10
November 1st, 2014 / Alpharetta Treasure Hunt / BROCK / $20
November 8th, 2014 / Sequoyah Debate Tournament / Brock / $20
November 14-15th, 2013 / Carrollton Peach State Classic / CAV / $40
November 22nd, 2013 / Grovetown Speech & Debate Tournament / CAV / $15
January 23-25, 2015 / Emory - Barkley Forum (Varsity only) / BROCK / $75
January 30-31st, 2015 / Quest for the Dream at Henry W. Grady / CAV / $40
February 20-21st, 2015 / GFCA 1st/2nd Year State Championships / CAV / $25
February 27-March 1st / UGA / BROCK / $75
March 6-8, 2014 / GFCA Varsity State Championships / BROCK / $40
TBA / Other tournaments in the second semester

Student’s printed name: ______

I will be attending the indicated tournaments. If an emergency arises, I will give Mr. Brock written notice at least 7 days before the first day of the tournament or I will be responsible for the indicated fees.

Student’s signature: ______Date______

HoustonCountyDebate Team