Spring is the peak of the high school debate competition season. Students crisscross the country, visiting top universities hosting various debate contests. The most difficult and significant high school speech and debate event is the Tournament of Champions hosted by the University of Kentucky.
At this year’s Tournament of Champions, held April 25-27, Carroll senior Azhar Hussain was named 2015 TOC Congressional Debate Champion. Carroll students Emma Lin and Zain Aziz also worked long hours in advance of and during the weekend competition. Southlake Debate will conclude its season at the National Speech and Debate Association’s National Finals in June.
The Tournament of Champions is a high school debate championship tournament held annually at the University of Kentucky alongside Kentucky Derby events at the end of April. It is the most prestigious tournament on the “national circuit,” representing the most competitively successful debaters from the nation’s most prestigious individual debate tournaments. Founded in 1972 by Dr. JW Patterson, the Tournament of Champions has emerged as the premier championship for high school debaters who frequently compete nationally in Policy, Lincoln–Douglas, Public Forum, and Congressional debate. The Tournament of Champions represents a wide swath of the high school academic community, from public schools to private schools, including students from across the country, from Anchorage, Alaska to Miami, Florida.
Students qualify to compete at the TOC by earning “bid” legs based on their performance during the regular competitive season at national and regional tournaments. The TOC’s Advisory Committees decide which of the nation’s debate tournaments will serve as qualifying tournaments, seeking to strike a balance between the geographic diversity provided by regional tournaments and large tournaments that host a truly national draw.