Event Types

The Kent Denver Speech and Debate program offers participants an opportunity to compete in one or more diverse events. The wide range of events ensures that all students will find an area or areas that they enjoy and where their personal skills will be developed. Regardless of whether you compete in the interpretation events, public speaking, or debate events, you are destined to become a better presenter and performer, while enjoying a competitive atmosphere and a fun and energizing environment.

Public Speaking Events

    Extemporaneous Speaking
    This event involves writing short speeches on current events topics. At the tournament, a competitor receives three topics and selects one as the subject for a speech. Using information the team has assembled in preparation for tournaments, the student has 30 minutes to prepare a 5-7 minute speech. Topics are broken down into ‘national’ and ‘international’ categories. Students argue for a particular side on the topic selected and justify the answer with specific arguments. This event helps individuals organize their thoughts, use evidence to make compelling arguments, and develop excellent impromptu speaking abilities. This event is for students who enjoy reading about current events and who can develop arguments in favor of their opinions quickly.

    Informative Speaking
    Competitors author and deliver a ten-minute speech on a topic of their choosing. Competitors create the speech to educate the audience on a particular topic. All topics must be informative in nature; the goal is to educate, not to advocate. Visual aids are permitted, but not required. The speech is delivered from memory.

    Original Oratory
    Competitors 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, though they tend towards areas of psychological or sociological concern. The speech should be persuasive in nature, and is delivered from memory.

Interpretive Speaking Events

    Dramatic Interpretation of Literature
    Competitors in this event produce a 10 minute cutting from a play, book, or movie script. While there can be humorous moments, the overall design of the selection should be to produce a compelling and emotive reaction in the audience. Unlike Humorous Interpretation where multiple characters are nearly essential, most good drama selections are either monologues or two character pieces. The competitor is judged on their believability and compelling emotions.

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

    Humorous Interpretation of Literature
    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 the author.

    Poetry Interpretation
    In this event, a competitor takes one long poetry piece or a series of poems that are thematically similar and presents them. The entire presentation cannot exceed 10 minutes, and many people assemble performances to last 7 or 8 minutes. This is a very creative event, and is especially good for students who want to explore a variety of performance styles.

    Program Oratory Interpretation
    Using selections from Prose, Poetry and Drama students create a ten minute performance around a central theme. Program Oral Interpretation is designed to test a student’s ability to intersplice 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. Performances can also include an introduction written by the student to contextualize the performance and state the title and the author of each selection.

Debate Formats

    Lincoln-Douglas Debate (LD)
    In this one-on-one format, competitors debate a topic provided by the National Speech & Debate Association. Topics range from individual freedom versus the collective good to economic development versus environmental protection. Competitors may consult evidence gathered prior to the debate but may not use the Internet in round. An entire debate is roughly 45 minutes and consists of constructive speeches, rebuttals, and cross-examination.

    Policy Debate/Cross Examination Debate (CX)
    A two-on-two debate that focuses on a policy question for the duration of the academic year, this format tests a competitor’s research, analytical, and delivery skills. Policy debate involves the proposal of a plan by the affirmative team to enact a policy, while the negative team offers reasons to reject that proposal. Throughout the debate, students have the opportunity to cross-examine one another. A judge or panel of judges determines the winner based on the arguments presented.

    Public Forum Debate (PF)  
    Public Forum involves opposing teams of two, debating a topic concerning a current event. Proceeding a coin toss, the winners choose which side to debate (PRO or CON) or which speaker position they prefer (1st or 2nd), and the other team receives the remaining option. Competitors present cases, engage in rebuttal and refutation, and also participate in a “crossfire” (similar to a cross examination) with the opportunity to question the opposing team. Often times community members are recruited to judge this event.