• Why should you join?

    Learn valuable life skills

    Arguably the greatest benefits of joining the Woodcreek Speech and Debate team are the valuable life skills that are gained throughout the process. Not only does membership in our diamond ranked program look stellar on a college application, but it also teaches one how to interact and speak in a professional environment. The skills gained through experience in public speaking benefit individuals in their abilities to interview, present, write, research, and carry out many other crucial aspects of professional and daily life.

    Gain confidence in public speaking

    Many people agree that the fear of public speaking is on par with the fear of death, or perhaps even greater. One of the most difficult traits to acquire is a confident public speaking ability. The Woodcreek Speech and Debate team hones these skills to a fine point, greatly improving one’s ability to confidently address an audience and convey information.

    Build lasting relationships

    Believe it or not, the pursuit of high school public speaking can be far more enjoyable than it may seem. While on the team, all members are expected to treat one another as they would family. Here on the Woodcreek Speech and Debate Team, we pride ourselves in promoting a friendly environment that encourages learning and growth for all members.


    How does one join?

    Becoming a member of the Speech and Debate team is a multistep process. First, we recommend that a prospective member take the “Speech and Debate” elective course first. Should the student enjoy the program, they may speak to the teacher, Mrs. Elko (who is also the coach of the team), about joining the competitive forensics team the following year. Students transferring to Woodcreek from another forensics team are also welcome to contact Mrs. Elko and join our team in the fall term.

    Is this an afterschool program?

    The Woodcreek Speech and Debate team is run as a fall semester, fourth-period elective known as “Competitive Forensics." During the fall term, also know as the practice tournament season, all practice occurs during the class period. If a team member wishes to and is eligible to continue into the spring season, our team holds practices once a week after school for an hour and a half. The team members competing in the spring season are required to attend 50% of after-school practices. The layout of our team's practice schedule is beneficial for the program because it allows for guaranteed time dedicated to the practice and teaching of team members. In the spring, a less hands-on practice schedule allows team members to engage in other activities while still allowing time for them to prepare for state qualifying tournaments together.

    What Speech/Debate events are there?

    Platform speaking events- Platform events, also referred to as “originals”, are speaking events in which the competitor composes and performs a speech wholly of their own creation. Competitors are allowed to quote words from outside sources, however, the number of quoted words may not exceed 150. The platform speaking events are as follows:

    Original Advocacy (O.A.)

    Original Advocacy is a persuasive speech which presents a timely problem and a convincing, practical solution. The speaker must make the audience aware of a problem or concern and must offer a solution by advocating a specific legislative and/or regulatory government action. Advocacy allows for a wide variety of topics, including topics concerning environmental, educational or political reform, proposing action to further equality, and countless others. 

    Original Oratory (O.O.)

    Original Oratory is a persuasive speech on a timely subject that is inspirational, controversial, or philosophical. A speaker attempts to convince the audience to accept an idea through a well-written and well-delivered speech. It was once stated that the best orations “convince the mind, warm the heart, and move the will”. While the oratory must express the speaker’s opinion on the topic, it should be factually based.

    Original Prose and Poetry (O.P.P.)

    Original Prose and Poetry is a performance-based event in which the competitor must use an intricate blend of poetry and storytelling when crafting their speech. Speeches may be humorous or dramatic and should be conveyed through movements, gestures, and other performance elements that enhance the content of the script. The best OPP’s are captivating and leave a lasting impression on the audience through the words and actions of the characters involved.

    Expository Speaking (Expos.)

    Expository Speaking is a ten-minute informative speech that introduces a topic of the student’s choosing to the audience. The speaker should provide unique insights and explore interesting implications about their chosen topic. At its core, Expository Speaking should educate and provide the audience with new information. Students doing Expository may cover topics ranging from an organization to a product, process, or concept. Effective speeches provide new perspectives on a topic, even on ones that are already widely known. The interesting aspect of Expos. is that it allows for the use of creative visual aids such as posters or props, allowing for a one-of-a-kind approach to public speaking. Students deliver a self-written, ten-minute speech on a topic of their choosing. Limited in their ability to quote words directly, competitors craft an argument using evidence, logic, and emotional appeals. Topics range widely and can be informative or persuasive in nature. The speech is delivered from memory.


    Interpretation speaking events- Interpretation events, commonly known as “interps”, are events where competitors take the published work of another speaker or author and perform their own “interpretation” of it. The purpose is not to perform the speech in precisely the same manner as the original speaker. Competitors are encouraged to perform the speech in a fashion that depicts their personality and personal strengths in public speaking.

    Duo Interpretation (DUO)

    In Duo Interpretation, competitors team up to deliver a ten-minute performance of a published work of literature, play, movie, or story. Using off-stage focus, Duo Interpretation competitors convey emotion and setting through a variety of performance techniques focusing on the relationships and interactions between the characters. No props or costumes are used. Performances may also include an introduction written by the students to contextualize the performance and state the title and author.

    Humorous Interpretation (H.I.)

    Using a play, short story, or other published work, students perform a selection of one or more portions of a piece up to ten minutes in length. Humorous Interpretation is designed to test a student’s comedic skills through script analysis, delivery, timing, and character development. Competitors may portray one or multiple characters. No props or costumes may be used. Performances can also include an introduction written by the student to contextualize the performance and state the title and author.

    Program Oral Interpretation (P.O.I)

    Using selections from prose, poetry, and drama, students create a ten-minute performance focused around a central theme. POI is designed to test a student’s ability to splice together multiple types of literature into a single, cohesive performance. A manuscript is required and may be used as a prop within the performance if the performer maintains control of the manuscript at all times.

    Oratorical Interpretation (O.I.)

    Oratorical Interpretation is a speaking event in which the speaker performs a speech that was originally given as an address in a public forum. The script can be taken from a physical or online manuscript. In this event, it is the goal of the speaker to interpret the original speaker’s address and perform it as such.

    Limited preparation speaking events- Limited preparation events can be difficult in the sense that competitors must be able to think quickly and speak fluently despite the fact that competitors are given little time to plan out what they are going to say. These events are helpful to students wishing to improve their debate skills as students not only have to be well versed in current events, but they also must be able to “think on their feet” in order to elaborate on their topic.


    Impromptu is a public speaking event in which students are given two minutes to select a topic, brainstorm their ideas, and outline a speech; all brought together to create a five-minute presentation. The speech is given without the use of notes and should include an introduction, body, and conclusion. The speech can be light-hearted or serious. The speech can be based upon prompts that range from nursery rhymes and current events to celebrities, organizations, and more.

    International/National Extemporaneous

    Students must choose their speech topic from 3 questions relating to current events within the US (National Extemp), or relating to international events (International Extemp). Students are then given 30 minutes to prepare a 7-minute speech on their chosen topic using any resources the student has brought. Internet use is prohibited.


    Styles of debate- 

    Lincoln Douglas Debate  (L.D.)

    Modeled after the historical series of debates between Abraham Lincoln and political rival Stephen Douglas, individual competitors debate a resolution with moral implications. Each debate is weighed on a value (a concept such as justice, morality, etc.) and a criterion (an action that helps achieve said value.) This debate is a discussion of ethics and morality.

    Public Forum Debate (Pub Fo)

    This is a team debate with two people per team. Public forum is a fact-based style where each debate is weighed on a framework (similar to Lincoln Douglas' value.) This type of debate is meant to be accessible to the everyday, or lay, person.

    Parliamentary Debate (Parli)

    In this form of debate, students work in partnerships to create a case for a resolution they are given on the day of the tournament. Once given the resolution, the students have 20 minutes to first determine whether it is value-based (LD), fact-based (Pub Fo), or policy-based (Policy) resolution, and then prepare a case for their side. This style requires great "speaking off the cuff" skills.

    Congressional Debate (Congress)

    This form of debate mirrors congressional proceedings. In congressional debate, competitors debate a mock piece of legislation referred to as a bill rather than a resolution. One person is appointed the presiding officer to run the debate, the rest are senators. Rather than a win or a loss for the side they speak on, these competitors are ranked in order of performance, with typically 16 to a room.


    For more information about each debate and speech event, be sure to visit the Judge Training Website.