Civics First MS Tournament

Wednesday, April 25th, 2018 Tournament starts: 3:30pm

John Winthrop MS, 1 Winthrop Rd, Deep River, CT 06417

All Middle Schoolers

Registration is closed

(All middle schoolers are strongly encouraged to compete in this Tournament even those who began this year and have not yet competed.)


"The government should ensure that both public and private employees are free to express their political views without interference from their employers."

Steps for Preparing for a Policy Debate

Debate Materials


  1. Eira and Nidhi
  2. Simran and Samantha
  3. Jacob and Varun
  4. Sneha and A.J.
  5. Charles and Seerat


The total cost per debater is $46 (register at bottom of page). If you need a judge, an extra $20 will be added to your registration fee.

JUDGES and timers

(If you sign up for judging but then find you can't, please leave us sufficient time to find a replacement judge for you.)

Each debater MUST provide one judge for one round. Judges must be over the age of 18. By only having to judge one round, you can watch your student debate the other round! There is a possibility that you might be able to hire a judge to cover your judging responsibility if you are not available, though we cannot guarantee this. The cost for hiring a judge will be $20 per debater who hires one which will be added to your registration fee. 

We must also supply timers, who can be siblings, students or adults. Time keepers must have their own stop watches or other timing device. If you are willing to judge or time, or have a volunteer in mind, please enter that information upon registering.

Although no judging or timing experience is necessary, each timer and judge must review the following guidelines prior to attending.


These competitions use a switch side, Policy Cross-ex format. 


All middle schoolers are strongly encouraged to compete in this tournament. We have traditionally done extremely well in these state tournaments.  Westfield has competed in this State Middle School Competition for nine years. Westfield students have won this competition seven times and last year Ryan and Panchali were Finalists and Second Overall team and Ryan won Best Middle School Debater in the State. 


The Parent Coordinator will help arrange transportation for your student if needed.


Western business attire.  Boys wear a jacket and tie; girls wear a skirt, pants or dress and a sweater or jacket.  If you are in need of any article of clothing please let us know so we can put out a group email.  We have been pretty good at coming up with clothing to share.  


Since this tournament runs late, please ensure your student brings something for dinner. Students may also want to bring snacks for between rounds and a water bottle to prevent dry mouth during the rounds.


The more the kids work on their arguments, the better they will do. Encourage them to delve into this. There are a number of other things you can do to help your child prepare. Let them practice their debates with you. One of the best things you can do is help them not read. This is a debate and not a speech. They need to be flexible enough to react to what is happening in the debate.  The more familiar they are with their prepared comments, the more comfortable they will be listening to the other side and debating. Listen to their arguments. If you are not persuaded, tell them why. Play the devil's advocate. Remember they each have to argue both sides. Remind them that they should use their strongest arguments for each side to expose weaknesses in the opposing side's arguments. Have them practice without any notes. Help them pare their comments down into an outline. We will talk in class about what they should bring up with them. The more organized their binders are, the better they will do. The other help you can provide is helping them meet frequently with their partner. This is really important.  

Parents are warmly welcome and encouraged to attend. This is a wonderful opportunity to watch your kids in action.  You can judge one round and watch the other.


"I think competition, with the proper attitude and under the guidance of loving, respectful adults, is a wonderful, positive thing for our children. It encourages each of them, as it does each of us, to push themselves and strive to improve. Doing one of these competitions, especially for the first time, is very challenging. It requires a lot of hard work, dedication and courage. In my book, any student who does a competition, after preparing diligently and trying his or her best, is a winner. Yes, at the end of the competitions, they will announce who has won both rounds and will move forward and, of course, we will celebrate with any of our students who do, but we will most of all celebrate the efforts of each and every one of our competitors.  This brings me to..


We have a tradition that we all go out together for ice-cream in an adorable ice-cream shop in Deep River they open just for us! This is, of course, everyone's favorite part! Family and friends are all welcome to join in the celebration of the efforts of all our competitors."

To register and pay, click on the icon --->