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Participation, Events, and Topics

Debate and Speech

Updated January 30, 2021

All rules are per the MFA By-laws and Maine State Championship Handbook, which are subject to change by majority vote of member schools. The information below is based on the 2021 invitation.

Participation

Schools may participate in the State Tournament if they:

  • Belong to the Maine Principals’ Association.
  • Have no outstanding State Tournament fees from any previous year.

Tournament Events

The State Tournament hosts all MFA events including:

  • Debate: Lincoln Douglas in three divisions (Varsity, Junior Varsity and Novice) and Public Forum in two divisions (Varsity and Novice).
  • Congressional Debate: House(s) and Senate*
  • Speech: Dramatic Interpretation, Extemporaneous Speaking, Humorous Interpretation, Information Speaking, Oratorical Declamation, Original Oratory, Original Works, Oral Interpretation of Literature, Program Oral Interpretation, Novice Poetry Reading, Novice Prose Reading, and Storytelling.

*The results from this tournament’s Congressional Debate competition will inform qualifiers in Student Congress to the National Catholic Forensic League Grand National Tournament. Members of the Portland (Maine) diocese should keep an eye out for an invitation with instructions from Director D’Arcy Robinson.

Division Qualifications

Any coach may file for an exception to divisions assignments of a debater due to extenuating circumstances by submitting a written petition to the MFA President. The MFA President shall have the final authority in making decisions regarding debater assignment to debate divisions.

Divisions may be collapsed or categories may be cancelled due to low registration numbers.  If there are enough judges to hold a low-enrollment event, the category will still run, but not be counted toward sweepstakes calculations.

Coaches, competitors, and judges should read MFA event handbooks and manuals for complete rules. See maineforensic.org.

Lincoln Douglas Debate

Per the State Tournament Handbook:

  • Novice Lincoln Douglas is a division for students in their first year of forensics competition.
  • Junior Varsity Lincoln Douglas is a division for students with no more than one year of prior debate experience.
  • Varsity Lincoln Douglas is a division open to any High School debater.

Public Forum Debate (Team of exactly two)

Per the State Tournament Handbook:

  • Novice Public Forum is a division for Freshmen and Sophomores in their first year of interscholastic debate.
  • Varsity Public Forum is a division open to any High School debater.

Individual Events (Speech)

  • Novice Prose Reading and Novice Poetry Reading are limited to students in their first year of MFA competition.
  • Oratorical Declamation is limited to freshmen and sophomore competitors.
  • All other speech events are open to any high school student regardless of previous experience.

Entry Limits

Each school team is limited to:

  • 6 Lincoln Douglas entries in each division
  • 6 Public Forum teams in each division
  • 4 entries per Speech category

There is no entry limit for Congressional Debate, but schools should distribute their House entries equally among the chambers.

Competitors may double enter only in Speech categories.

Event Topics

Lincoln Douglas

Resolved: States ought to ban lethal autonomous weapons.

Public Forum

Resolved: On balance, the benefits of urbanization in West Africa outweigh the harms.

Congressional Debate

The docket will be posted on Tabroom and here when ready.

Extemporaneous Speaking

Domestic

Round 1: US immigration legislation
Round 2: SEC regulation
Round 3: Congressional gridlock
Round 4: COVID-19

Foreign

Round 1: Impact of immigration on EU
Round 2: China’s influence in the world
Round 3: Future of WHO
Round 4: Effect of COVID-19 on emerging countries