Co-Curricular Activities

A Brief Overview of Speech and Debate Events

CMS offers a comprehensive forensics program that includes a variety of speech events. Students may choose to specialize in one or more. They are divided into three categories:

Debate Events

Public Forum Debate: A team event in which participants argue a resolution pro and con. After the first two speeches, there is a crossfire in which contestants may ask one another questions. There are subsequent speeches, crossfires and rebuttals. Resolutions change each month. An example of a public forum topic would be:

Resolved: that commercial airline pilots should be armed in the cockpit.  

Lincoln-Douglas Debate (L.D.): This event explores values issues. Several resolutions are debated during the academic year, and students prepare cases both affirming and negating the current resolution. An example of a Lincoln-Douglas resolution is:

Resolved: The intervention of one nation in the domestic affairs of another nation is morally justified.

Congressional Debate: This event, also called Student Congress, engages students in the kind of legislative debate that takes place on the floor of our Senate and House of Representatives. Students write bills and resolutions offering solutions to problems requiring federal intervention, submit their legislation at tournaments and prepare persuasive speeches for competition.

Current resolutions for Public Forum and Lincoln-Douglas debates can be found at the NFL website:


Speech Events

Original Oratory (O.O.): Students prepare 8-10 minute original speeches that are persuasive concerning topics of interest to a general audience. The speeches are delivered from memory.

Extemporaneous Speaking (Extemp.): Students are given thirty minutes to prepare a four to seven minute speech on a current events topic. Students must use articles they bring with them to the competition to assist them in preparing a speech, but they may not use a manuscript during the delivery and note cards are usually not allowed at most tournaments.

Students are given a few minutes to prepare a speech on topics ranging from proverbs to comic strips. The speech must be delivered without the use of manuscript or note cards.

Declamation: Students deliver speeches written and published by other authors (limited to 9th and 10th graders).

Interpretation Events

Dramatic Interpretation (D.I.): Students interpret pieces taken from plays, short stories, or novels. The piece may include several characters, and through the use of voice, gesture, and body language, the interpreter must bring the scene to life for the audience. The script must be fully memorized. The intent of the piece must be dramatic..

Humorous Interpretation (H.I.): This event has the same constraints as dramatic interpretation, with the exception that the intent of the piece must be humor.

Duo Interpretation (Duo): Two interpreters perform a scene from a play, short story, or novel using an off-stage focus. The script must be fully memorized.

Storytelling: Using a manuscript, a storyteller brings a story alive for the audience. In most North Carolina tournaments the material is taken from children's literature. However, storytelling is now a supplemental event at the National Speech and Debate Tournament and the material may come from a number of different sources including folk tales and short stories as well as children's literature.

Prose Interpretation: Using a manuscript, the interpreter offers a program of prose. This differs from storytelling in that prose interpretation is not limited to narratives.

Poetry Interpretation: Using a manuscript, the interpreter chooses a program of poetry either built around a common theme or one poem that is at least five minutes in length.

Prose/Poetry Interpretation: Using a manuscript, the interpreter performs a program of prose and poetry built around a common theme.

Impromptu Duet Acting (IDA): A duo team is provided with a scenario for improvisation. They are given a few minutes to develop a strategy, and then they perform a scene of their own invention.

 For more information on debate and national programs for speech and debate, please visit:

P.O. Box 30035
Charlotte, NC 28230-0035
Phone: 980-343-3000
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