Madison, WI need judges for homeschool speech and debate tournament


We are in search of community volunteers who could help us in judging a homeschool speech and debate competition, which will be taking place near downtown Madison at the University of Wisconsin conference center next week, Thursday-Saturday, January 4-6, all day and evenings.

The students range in age from 12-18 years old, and they come from all across our region, which includes Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Wisconsin, and Michigan. We are in need of 500 community judges for this event, and we are hopeful that some of the readers of this forum might be able to donate a few hours or a day to help us. The members of our league, the National Christian Forensics and Communications Association, are mostly evangelical Christians, but there are also quite a few Catholics.

No experience is necessary to be a judge. Judges’ orientations are conducted before each round. We only ask that you be at least 18 years old, able to hear well, and able to sit for approximately 90 minutes, which is the duration of one round.

Below is a brief description of the events. For debate you do not need to know anything about the topics. It is the students’ responsibility to make their cases clear to a lay judge. The ballots are self-explanatory, and while feedback on their speaking skills is important to them, your ultimate duty is to decide which team (or individual) was more convincing to you. For speech, you simply rank the speeches you listen to.

Anyone interested should send their contact information (name and phone # or e-mail) to Right now we do not have enough judges to hold a tournament, and the students have worked so hard.

Please feel free to spread the word to anyone you know who enjoys working with young people and who might be interested in this important community service.

Debate: This year’s topics are:

Team Debate
Resolved: That the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) should be significantly reformed or abolished.

Lincoln Douglas Debate
Resolved: Democracy is overvalued by the United States government.

Speech: There are 11 categories of speeches, including persuasive, original works, humorous, interpretive, impromptu, dramatic, etc. Your round will include 6-8 speakers in one category, and you will simply score them on a scale of 1-5 for things like eye contact, clarity, organization, etc., which is all laid out in the ballot, and then rank them as a group, 1-8. During the preliminary rounds, there will be a panel of three judges per room, so you will not be alone.


Oh how i wish i lived near y’all. I did speech and debate in high school and then judged for 5 1/2 years afterward…Congrats on what you are trying to do, doing speech changed my life:) Good luck!!!


Thank you and please say a prayer for us that we get enough judges and that the tournament goes well! Isn’t it funny how often people say that being involved in speech or debate changed their life? I know what an impact it has had on my boys’ lives. Thanks for your encouragement.


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