Speech and Debate
Allowing students to explore their own interests while learning about the world and developing public speaking skills that will last a lifetime.
Our nationally-recognized Speech and Debate program allows students to explore their extracurricular interests while developing public speaking and active thinking skills.
Led by Michael Bausch, Director of Debate and holder of the Grier Family Distinguished Debate Chair and Ian Hopkins, Director of Speech, students in Speech and Debate receive the best hands-on instruction in the state. The wide range of events we coach ensures all students will find an area (or multiple areas!) they thoroughly enjoy, and where they can develop their personal skillset. Regardless of whether students compete in Interpretation Events, Public Speaking Events, Debate Events or a combination of these activities, they are destined to become better presenters and performers, while enjoying a competitive atmosphere as well as a fun and energizing tournament environment.
There are two sub-fields within Speech events, Interpretation (Interp) and Public Speaking, each with several different events. Find out more about them below!
- Humorous Interpretation of Literature
- Dramatic Interpretation of Literature
- Duo Interpretation of Literature
- Poetry Interpretation
- Program of Oral Interpretation
- Original Oratory
- Informative Speaking
- Extemporaneous Speaking
Similar to Humorous Interpretation, competitors in Dramatic Interp also produce a 10-minute cutting from a play, book or movie script. While there can be humorous moments, the cutting should produce a compelling and emotive reaction in the audience. Most drama selections are either monologues or two character pieces.
In this event, two people either act out a scene from a play, book or movie with each person portraying one or more characters, but the students can never look at each other or touch each other at any time; all character interactions must be “blocked” and mimed with creative choreography. Again movement is limited, but when it is used appropriately it can add substantially to the performance. As a result, technical “blocking” and creative choreography is absolutely essential.
Extemporaneous speaking involves writing short speeches on current events topics. Students in the event draw three topics at random, selecting one about which to write a speech. Using research assembled in preparation for the event, students then have 30 minutes to prepare a 5-7 minute speech on the topic. In the speech, the competitor takes a side on the topic selected and then explains with evidence. This event helps individuals organize their thoughts, use evidence to make compelling arguments, and develops excellent ‘off-the-cuff’ public speaking abilities.
Each year, Kent Denver students compete in three different debate events: cross-examination, Lincoln-Douglas and Public Forum Debate. Find out a bit more about each below!