FAQs

Q: Are you a club?

A: No, we are not a club. We are a team, just like football and basketball.

Q: What do you do?

A: We help prepare students to become better and more effective at public speaking, a quality that is highly valued in society.


Q: Who can join?

A: Our membership is open to all students at Yorktown. In addition, students attending the H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program whose home school is Yorktown, and 7th & 8th grade students attending any of the Yorktown feeding Middle Schools (Williamsburg, Swanson, and Kenmore) are welcome to join.


Q: What events do you offer?

A: We offer a variety of events.
For debate, we offer 3 events; Lincoln-Douglas, Public Forum, and Student Congress.
For speech, we offer 7 events; Declamation, Dramatic Performance, Duo Interpretation, Extemporaneous Speaking, Impromptu Speaking, Oral Interpretation (Poetry and Prose), and Original Oratory.
Learn more about our events.


Q: When and where are the practices?

A: Our practice schedule is posted on www.yhsds.org/practice. Students will be notified by their coach if there is a cancellation or change. If the student cannot attend a practice, it is his/her responsibility to contact the coach.


Q: How and when do I join the team?

A: You may join the team anytime during the school year, however, it is recommended you join as early as possible. This way, you will gain more experience and be more comfortable, necessary to become a better speaker.

Q: What are some benefits for joining the team?

A: You get to learn a practical skill that will benefit you in your classes now, and later on in college and in life. You may find it helpful to put this activity on your resume when you apply to colleges (some schools actually offer scholarships for Speech & Debate). Most importantly though, you will get to work with the best students and coaches.

Q: Do I have to participate in tournaments?

A: Yes! Participating in tournaments is one way (and a great way) to help you improve!

Q: How many tournaments do I need to attend every year?

A: While we encourage our students to attend as many tournaments as possible, we understand that sometimes there are other obligations. To maintain a good standing with the team, students are required to attend three tournaments every year.

Q: Do I need to come to practices? Is it required?

A: Yes, because practices are crucial for all events. For all debate events, practices are required. For all speech events, practices are highly encouraged. If you cannot make it to a practice, please let your coach know beforehand.

Q: How good is the team?

A: We have won various District, Regional, State, and National titles in the past. We were VHSL State Debate Champions for three consecutive years (2006-2008). We are recognized by the National Speech and Debate Association as Top 10% in the Nation. In addition, our team was honored by the Virginia General Assembly.

Q: How long is a season?

A: Our season runs from October to April. 
We compete in the Washington-Arlington Catholic Forensic League from October to March.
We compete in the Virginia High School League from February to April.

If the student qualifies to the National tournament, his/her season will extend to May.


Q: How much do I need to pay?

A: Our membership dues for the school year is $25.00. Students are also encouraged to join the National Speech and Debate Association (or the National Forensic League), a national honor society for speech and debate. The cost for joining is $20.00, and membership is life-time.

Q: What do you do with the team dues collected?

A: Dues collected are used to cover tournament registration costs, awards, subscriptions to newspapers and other publications, and other team related expenses. Funding from the school is not adequate to maintain our normal operations. We always appreciate donations and sponsorship to help make our operations more smoothly. Learn more about ways to give to us.

Q: What is the National Speech & Debate Association (or National Forensic League)?

A: The National Speech and Debate Association is an honor society for students who participate in Speech and Debate events. You can learn more about the NSDA on their website: www.speechanddebate.org.

Student will be invited to join the NSDA when he/she accumulates enough points. The membership is for life.

Q: Are parents involvement required?

A: Absolutely! Parental involvement is key to our success in the season. We always need parents to help us with fundraisers, organizing tournaments, volunteer, and judge. We have more information on how parents can be involved at www.yhsds.org/parents.

Q: I am a parent interested in judging. What do I need to do?

A: Please feel free to email your student's coach. In addition, we have information regarding judges at www.yhsds.org/parents.


Q: I am a parent, how do I check my student's attendance at practices?

A: If you have any questions regarding your student's attendance, please feel free to email the coach directly. Contact information for our coaches are listed under www.yhsds.org/about/staff

Q: Can I watch my student at a tournament?

A: Yes! We highly encourage parents to get involved throughout the process. Please feel most free to contact your student's coach. We always welcome parents to ride along on the bus with us.

Q: How do I volunteer for the team?

A: We always need volunteers to help us judge. Our volunteers are not compensated for their participation at tournaments other than the Virginia High School League tournaments. You can find out more about volunteering at www.yhsds.org/volunteer

Q: I would like to donate to the team, what should I do?

A: Thank you for your interest in donating to us.
We have more information about donations on our Give page, but please feel free to contact us as well.

Q: I would like to sponsor the team, what should I do?

A: Thank you for your interest in sponsoring us.
We have more information about donations on our Give page, but please feel free to contact us as well.