Invitation: Portland (Maine) NCFL Speech and Debate National Qualifiers

To all member coaches of the Maine Diocese of the National Catholic Forensic League:

Please read through all the information in the invitation carefully in order to facilitate a safe and speedy tournament.

The Portland (Maine) Diocese of the National Catholic Forensic League  and Poland Regional High School cordially invites all members of the Portland CFL organization to attend the national qualifying tournaments:

  • Student Congress on January 27, 2018 in coincidence with the Maine State Championship Tournament at Bangor High School
  • Speech and Debate at Poland Regional High School on February 3, 2017

Note: There is separate registration on for the two dates.

Events and entry limits

At this time, the diocese has four qualifiers this year in each category so the tournament will not have entry limits.

There is no double entering at this tournament.

There will be qualifiers to the National Catholic Forensic League’s Grand National Tournament in the following categories:

  • Student Congress
  • Lincoln Douglas Debate
  • Public Forum Debate
  • Extemporaneous Speaking
  • Oral Interpretation of Literature
  • Dramatic Interpretation of Literature
  • Duo Interpretation of Literature
  • Original Oratory
  • Oratorical Declamation.

There are no novice levels at this tournament. However, Oratorical Declamation is only opened to freshman and sophomores.

Every attempt will be made to run every category and all students should be prepared to compete during the tournament. If a category is not full, the students entered into the category are default national qualifiers. A student must be entered and present in order to obtain their spot to nationals.

Category descriptions

Since NCFL recognizes some competitive categories that are different than those run at the regional level, note the category descriptions and distinctions. If you have any questions or want a more detailed description of the event along with ballots and the judging criteria, please go the National Catholic Forensics’ League website.

Dramatic Performance: Students present selections from published plays, screenplays, fictional or non-fictional work that are either serious or humorous in nature. The selections must be memorized with a maximum length of ten minutes.

Duo Interpretation of Literature: A presentation by two participants of a single selection of literature. Each performer may present one or more characters. Each character should be sufficiently developed and should interact meaningfully with the other characters. The sections must be memorized. Movement should be limited and suggested rather than exaggerated. The maximum length is ten minutes.

Extemporaneous Speaking: Each student draws three topics on current issues, chooses one, and has thirty minutes to prepare a speech of a maximum length of seven minutes. Any periodical or other published material is permitted in the preparation room. Students may not refer to any written notes during the speech.

Oral Interpretation of Literature: Students present selections in two categories — prose and poetry. Each selection must be a maximum of ten minutes in length. The student must hold a manuscript and appear to be reading. The students alternate between rounds of prose and rounds of poetry.

Oratorical Declamation: Open to students in the ninth or tenth grades only. Students must use a speech or portion of a speech previously given by another person. The speech must be memorized with a maximum length of ten minutes.

Original Oratory: Students prepare original orations, usually persuasive or informative on a current topic. Any topic is permissible and any form of oration is permitted. The presentation must be memorized, with a maximum length of ten minutes.

Lincoln-Douglas Debate: Individual students debating issues of values and philosophy.

Public Forum Debate: A team event that advocates or rejects a position posed by the resolution. The focus of the debate is a clash of ideas in a persuasive manner that can be understood by a “lay” judge. Good debaters should display logic and analysis. They should use evidence when needed. They should win their case and refute that of their opponents. They should communicate effectively, using the fundamentals of good speaking. There are no burdens on either side.

Student Congress: Permits students to participate in parliamentary debate. Legislation is prepared by the students in advance in the areas of Domestic, Economic, and Foreign Affairs. Students debate the merits of the legislation presented.


Extemporaneous Speaking

Topics similar to the ones used at the Maine State Championship Tournament.

Lincoln Douglas

Use the February resolution as issued by the National Speech and Debate Association:

Resolved: Plea bargaining ought to be abolished in the United States criminal justice system.

Public Forum

Use the Jan/Feb resolution as issued by the National Speech and Debate Association:

Resolved: The United States should abolish the capital gains tax.

Student Congress

Use the same Congressional Debate docket published for the Maine State Championship Tournament on January 27, 2018.

Sourcing and evidence

It is the coach’s responsibility to bring copies of all competitive material (scripts, evidence, citations) used by the students to the tournament in case of a challenge.


Entrants must be members of the National Catholic Forensic League. Members are those who have paid the qualifying entry fee for the 2016-2017 season to D’arcy Robinson.

Registration must be made through by:

  • Student Congress: 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 24
  • Debate and Speech: 6:00 p.m. January 31

No adds will be accepted after this time.

Judges’ names and area of expertise should also accompany the registration.

Please make sure that students have their codes before they come to the tournament.

Registration check-in will be from 8:00-8:30 in the front lobby. Please call ahead with any last minute drops.

Entry fees

  • All speakers: $7.00 per entry
  • Hired Speech or Debate  judge: $60.00 per judge (if available)
  • Drop nuisance fee (after 8:00 a.m. tournament day): $10.00 per entry dropped

An entire school drop on the day of the tournament will incur a penalty fee of the entire entry plus the nuisance fee.

There will be two separate invoices—one for Student Congress at the Maine State Championship and one for the Speech and Debate meet held at Poland. We will handle invoices during the tournament.

Checks and P.O’s should be made out to:

D’Arcy Robinson, CFL Moderator.
1457 Maine Street
Poland, Maine 04274

Entry drops

Drops may be done via Tabroom until 6:00 p.m. Friday, February 2 without fee or penalty. Entry fees will be frozen after this time, but drops can still be made in Tabroom until 8:00 a.m. Saturday, February 4.

Drops after 8:00 a.m. tournament day result in a nuisance fee—fewer drops means fewer delays! For drops on the day of the tournament please call D’Arcy at 207-583-7964 as soon as possible. Judge drops and questions can be emailed to D’Arcy at

Drops on tournament day will be accessed a $10.00 nuisance fee per entry. An entire school drop on the day of the tournament will incur a penalty fee of the entire entry plus the nuisance fee.


  • Speech: One judge for every three entries (Duo counts as one entry), or any fraction thereof. (e.g. 7 entries requires three judges).
  • Debate: One judge per every two entries in both Public forum (a team counts as one entry) and Lincoln-Douglas or any fraction thereof.
  • Student Congress: Not applicable; based on entries to the Maine State Championship Tournament.

Every other judge must be unaffiliated.

Note: You must provide the judge for all four rounds of speech and debate. If an affiliated judge departs early with no one to cover the remaining rounds, the responsible team will be penalized accordingly!


Awards of national qualification will be given to the three top contestants in each category. Two alternates will be recognized in case the national qualifier is unable to attend.

Tentative Schedule

Be early!

This is tentative because there may need to be adjustments due to the number of entries. If possible, schedule will be tightened up so please tell students and judges to be flexible.

All students are guaranteed four rounds in Debate and Speech.

8:00-8:30 Registration check in (get there early)
8:45-9:00 Tournament meeting in theatre
9:15 Round One: All events

Rounds will be posted as quickly as possible. There will be a lunch break after Round 3.

Lunch: There will be lunch available for students in the café along with snacks. Coaches and judges will have lunch supplied in the coach’s lounge.

Students must be either in the café or in rounds. The Tab room will be in the Information Center.

Directions to Poland Regional High School

Take Interstate 495 to the Gray-New Gloucester exit 63 for route 26. Take 26 North to PRHS which will be on the left side. It is just past the new Dunkin Donuts and Family Dollar and about nine miles from the exit.

Please respect the signs concerning food allergies in the building. We try to restrict peanut products to the cafe. Also, there is no food in the classrooms—water only.

We hope that we have covered all the bases. Feel free to call D’Arcy Robinson at any time if you have questions. We hope to make this a great CFL Tournament for all, and we hope that you will join us.

D’Arcy F. Robinson, Portland CFL Moderator

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