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(802) 878-6982

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2 Lincoln Street, 2nd Fl. Essex Junction, VT 05452

© 2017 by Essex CHIPS, Inc.

Essex CHIPS is proud to present the Essex High School Speech & Debate team.


What to Expect?
We will compete in several tournaments (10-12) through out the season. The season goes from October - February, with tournaments being on Saturdays.

- Practices will be scheduled when there is the most availability, however coaches will be available for 1-1 instruction in some cases when your time permits.  Attending practice is important for growth, but can be flexible. if there are 

- Tournaments will be on Saturdays from approx. 8am - 3pm. There are 10 tournaments, plus State & District Finals.

EHS Speech and Debate Links

Vermont Debate and Forensics League

National Speech and Debate



There are two main areas to participate in. Forensics & Public Forum Debate.

Public Forum Debate is an oral communication advocacy exercise done with a partner.  Each team of two advocate either in favor of (PRO) or against (CON) a resolution by proposing three to four arguments supporting their position.  With these arguments laid out in opening speeches, each side chooses the most important arguments to defend or attack.  Using skills in cross-examination and the introduction of evidence, the debaters clarify, extend their own points,and expose weaknesses and/or contradictions in the opposition’s arguments.  Through a series of constructive and rebuttal speeches, the PRO and CON sides will, in thirty-five minutes, seek to persuade a citizen judge of the merits of their position.  Past topics have included:  Resolved:  Commercial airline pilots should be armed in the cockpit;  Resolved:  The death penalty should be abolished in America;  Resolved:  That Congress should repeal the No Child Left Behind Act.

The Forensics (public speaking) events include eight activities.  They are the interpretation of prose, poetry, drama and duo interpretation, extemporaneous and impromptu speaking, original oratory,  A tournament competition includes three rounds where students present to a judge who then awards a rank as well as points to each speaker which determines the top speakers in each category as well as the top teams.

In prose, poetry and drama, the students select a piece from an established, published author to recite, generally about three to five minutes in length.  

Impromptu Speaking requires the student to select a short, broad topic from everyday life and present a two to three minute speech after one minute of preparation.  

Extemporaneous Speaking gives the student thirty minutes of preparation time to develop a five to seven minute speech on a topic of current national or international interest.  

Original Oratory requires the student to write and memorize a six to eight minute persuasive speech directed at having the audience take action. Radio Announcing involves a three minute presentation of news, sports,weather and a thirty second student written commercial.


What school are in your District?

Essex High School is in the  Iroquois (NY) district 
The schools included in this district are:

Academy Of The Holy Names - Albany, NY, NY
Albany HS - Albany, NY, NY
Andes Central School, NY
Antley Home School, VT
Athens Area HS, PA
Bethlehem Central HS, NY
Bishop Kearney High School, NY
Brideau Homeschool, VT
Burlington HS, VT
Canisius HS, NY
Cardinal Mooney HS - Rochester, NY, NY
Central Valley Academy, NY
Champlain Valley Union HS, VT
Christian Brothers Academy - Troy, NY, NY
Christian Brothers Academy Syracuse, NY
Clayton A Bouton HS, NY
Clinton Central School, NY
Colchester HS, VT
Cooperstown Central School, NY
Delaware Academy, NY
Deposit Central School, NY
East Syracuse Minoa Central HS, NY
Edmeston Central School, NY
Essex HS, VT
Fairport HS, NY
Fayetteville-Manlius HS, NY
Four Sprouts Learning Academy, VT
Franklin Central School, NY
Glens Falls HS, NY
Hancock Central School, NY
Hanover HS, NH
Hartford HS - White River Junction, VT, VT
Homespun And Hands-On, VT
Immaculate Heart Central HS, NY
Ithaca HS - Ithaca, NY, NY
Jamesville-Dewitt HS, NY
Lake Champlain Waldorf School, VT
Lake-Lehman HS, PA
Laurens Central School, NY
Liberty HS - Liberty, NY, NY
Madrid Waddington Central School, NY
Mansfield HS - Mansfield, PA, PA
Massena Central HS, NY
McQuaid Jesuit HS, NY
Milford Central School, NY
Milton Senior HS, VT
Montpelier HS, VT
Morris Central School, NY
Mount Markham Sr HS, NY
Mount Mercy Academy, NY
Mount St Mary Academy, NY
Mt St Mary Academy, NY
New Hartford Central School, NY
Niskayuna HS, NY
Nop Homeschool, VT
Northeast Bradford HS, PA
Oneonta HS, NY
Otter Valley Union HS, VT
Our Lady Of Mercy, NY
Preston Homeschool, VT
Proctor Senior High School, NY
R L Thomas HS, NY


Interscholastic debate in Vermont took on a new look several years ago with a switch from the traditional policy debate to public forum debate with monthly topics of national interest.  Now the resolutions are focused on current issues such as Resolved:Allowing deep water offshore oil drilling is in the best interest of the United States; Resolved: Affirmative action to promote equal opportunity in the United States is justified; and Resolved:That merit pay based on student achievement should be a significant component of K-12 teacher compensation in United States public schools.

Academic Skills– Debate teaches or refines perhaps better than any other class or activity (at least according to many experts and former participants)

  1. Oral communication skills

  2. Critical thinking skills

  3. Logic and argumentation skills

  4. Research skills

  5. Listening and verbal retention skills

  6. Note taking skills

  7. Writing skills

  8. Organization skills – written and verbal

  9. Teamwork

  10. Audience adaptation skills

Other Benefits

-Poise and confidence

-Interactions with students from other schools and, if desired, other states

-Improved understanding of current events

-An activity on a college resume that has been proven to have more influence than any other by several studies

-The skills above, especially the first two, are the ones shown by several studies to be the most valued by corporate employer.