Academic debate is surely one of the most exciting and valuable experiences for the high school
or college student. The student who learns to debate well learns to research a significant social-political question in depth.
He or she learns how to organize research into meaningful and persuasive presentation. The debater learns to defend his or
her presentation against the attack of a well-trained opponent through critical listening and thinking. Finally, the good
debater becomes a serious student of oral communication through a process of communicating his or her ideas to a third party
under the most rigorous conditions
And, of course, the competitive excitement that goes with debating cannot be discounted. Unlike
many other interschool activities, good debating does not depend on the size, wealth, or prestige of the students involved.
It all depends on the individual student and a willingness to do the hard work required to excel in this activity. There is
no doubt that the competitive element is one of the prime incentives for debaters, though later they generally cherish the
lessons debate taught them about life.
Financially, there are multitudes of speech and debate competitions that offer monetary prizes
and awards. There are at least five competitions this year that award cash prizes to the best speaker. There is also a great
benefit in college scholarships. The Starr’s Mill Speech and Debate Team is dedicated to competition, and this is apparent
to the college debate community. Many colleges locally and nationally offer full scholarships to top high school debaters.
How Much Time Is Involved?
The amount of energy and time that is dedicated to debate depends on the student's commitment
to winning. Some students devote countless hours to research and practice, while other students may find it necessary to only
attend practices and occasional tournaments.
The Starr's Mill Speech and Debate Team requires that each member attend practice meetings
after school on Tuesdays and Thursdays from to . Family duties
and prior commitments are viewed as valid excuses for absences, but the student must inform the debate coach before the day
Every other Tuesday will be devoted to local tournaments within FayetteCounty. McintoshHigh School will host debate rounds in August and September, SandyCreek will host in October and November, FayetteCountyHigh School in January
and February, and Starr's Mill will host debate rounds in March and April.
The Starr's Mill High School Speech and Debate Team will also travel to fifteen tournaments
throughout the year that are located within the Southeast Georgia; Florida, North Carolina, and Alabama. Students who have
attended practice, participated in local debates, and shown dedication to the team will be asked to travel with the team.
How Much Does the Debate Team Cost?
The majority of funding for the debate program comes from fundraising opportunities. Whenever
possible Starr's MillHigh School absorbs the
majority of the cost involved. Unfortunately, there are items that the high school cannot cover. An annual fee of $200.00
is requested to cover all of the materials involved. This fee covers the cost of research materials, copying cost, filing
materials, commercially produced evidence files, and material resources that will help your child become a better debater.
The members of the debate team are also asked to cover expenses associated with traveling.
Hotel rooms for overnight trips are usually split four ways and cost between $25-$40. Meals usually cost between $5 - $10
per meal. Starr's MillHigh School pays for
registration fees and all transportation costs associated with travel meets.
Members of the Starr's Mill High School Speech and Debate Program are also expected to dress
in a professional manner. Countless studies have proven that the majority of communication is visual, and debaters that look
professional perform better in front of judges. During on the first days of practice, we will be sending home suggestions
for appropriate dress. It may be necessary to purchase your son or daughter a new suit or dress. Overnight trips will require
two or three appropriate outfits for competition.
What Can I Do To Help?
Throughout the speech and debate season, there will be countless opportunities to help your
child and the team be more successful. Here are just a few:
1. Be a Chaperone / Judge - For every four debaters that attend a debate meet, the
team is required to bring a judge. When there is not enough qualified judges, the school is required to purchase a judge at
$50 - $100 a judge. These fees can be better spent bringing more students to competition. By traveling with the team, you
can take an active role in your child's extracurricular activity, learn more about interesting social-political events, travel
to interesting locations, and free up funding that will allow more students to participate in debate.
2. Help Sponsor a Debate Meet - The debate team will be hosting our second debate
tournament this year on October 13-14, 2006. It will take the
combined efforts of all involved to pull off a good tournament. This is an amazing fundraising opportunity for the team and
could potentially raise $3000.00 - $6000.00. More information will be available when we get closer to the tournament date.
3. Send Your Child to Debate Camp - The Starr's Mill Speech and Debate Program competes
on a national level. In the past years, we have won many major tournaments throughout the Southeast United States, and last year, we qualified thirteen students for Nationals (a new state record). Towards the end of the season,
we will be sending home information on various debate camps that pride themselves on creating national champions. These camps
are a fun and exciting way for your child to excel in speech and debate.
4. Take an Active Role in Your Child's Debate Career - Speech and debate is a fun and
rewarding activity, and your child's success depends on your ability to support them. Please feel free to contact us with
any and all concerns, needs, and questions that you may have throughout the year.
I would like to believe that how we dress in competition has no effect
on our ability to win. Unfortunately, your ability to present yourself as a strong, capable debater depends on your ability
to dress appropriately. I have also found that those students that dress professional act professionally. To help you become
the best overall presenter possible, I have created a list of rules and suggestions.
Debaters Should Have:
look; avoid wearing a business suit with sandals or sneakers.
hairstyle: avoid unusual styles or colors.
cologne or perfume. Scent should be low-key or absent.
visible body piercing, including multiple earrings in one ear.
mints; use one before each round
or three-piece business suit (navy or other dark color).
must be clean, neat and ironed.
Female Debaters Should Have:
colors - blue, gray, beige or black(avoid loud or flashy styles and colors)
off-white, or neutral-colored blouse with a conservative neckline.
with a skirt preferable to a pantsuit.
ill-fitting (short, tight, clingy, or slit) skirts; no higher than one to two inches above the knee when standing.
leather pumps with low to medium heels; avoid open-toe strappy high heels, sandals, or shoes with decorations.
Small stud earrings instead of dangling or oversized earrings.
hair pulled back in neat, simple style; no "big hair" or elaborate styles.
Male Debaters Should Have:
suits in navy or gray (black is a funeral color, avoid it.)
broadcloth shirt in white or light blue.
necktie in color and pattern: avoid cartoon characters, less-than-serious graphics, or theme ties.
dark socks; avoid light colored socks with a dark suit.
shoe and belt color; don't mix black and brown.