CIvics First HS Tournament

Monday, March 27th, 2018  Competition starts: 3:30 PM

High Schoolers: 9th graders and up

New Britain High School, 110 Mill Street, New Britain

Registration is closed

(All high schoolers are strongly encouraged to compete in this High School tournament even those who began this year and have not yet competed.)







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We have traditionally done extremely well in these state tournaments. Six years ago, we won the High School tournament with all 4 semi-finalists from our school and have been Finalists the following 4 years. Three years ago, we had a high school team as Finalists and another as Semi-finalists! Five of our high school teams broke to the quarter finals. Two years ago, we won the whole thing!


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


The first round usually begins at 4:00 and the second round at about 5:30. Teams that win both rounds will go to a third round beginning at around 7:00 p.m. Please be prepared to stay for this third round.

Usually, the top 4 winning teams from the third round go to a semi-finals at the Old State House in Hartford at 9 a.m. immediately followed by the State Finals in the same location. They have not yet provided us with this information. Usually, these final rounds are within a couple weeks from the date of the tournament.


The total cost per debater is $ (register at bottom of page).


Each debater MUST provide one judge for one round. By only having to judge one round, you can watch your student debate the other round! We must also supply timers, who can be siblings. If you are willing to judge or time, please enter that information in the registration form below. There is a possibility that you might be able to hire a judge to cover your judging responsibility if you are not available. We cannot guarantee this. If you need a judge let the PC know. The cost for hiring a judge would be $20 per debater who hires one.

Time keepers must have their own stop watches or other timing devices. Judges and time keepers will gather for a brief orientation at 3:45 p.m. There is no judging or timing experience necessary. Judges must be over the age of 18 and timers can be students or adults.


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 or dress and a sweater or jacket. If you are in need of any article of clothing, don't hesitate to put out a group email. We have been pretty good at coming up with clothing to share. 


Food will not be provided and there will be no specifically set aside food break per se. However, people may bring their own food and drinks and consume them during down time between rounds. Since this competition 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.  Please be sure you clean up after yourselves.

PARENTAL Support and Attendance

Parental attendance at this competition is very welcome and very encouraged!!

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.


Mrs. Henderson must meet with each team privately before the tournament to work on their arguments individually. Both teammates should come at the same time. Mrs. Henderson used to spend a tremendous amount of time trying to organize these meetings and then sometimes only one of the team members showed up requiring her to then have to schedule another meeting with the other person. Other people were significantly late in showing up. Mrs. Henderson has a very full schedule each week and not tremendous flexibility. This process now works much better since it has been streamlined. 


Once the competitors have registered, Mrs. Henderson will assign partners, followed by a schedule of the times she is available to meet with the individual teams. Teams can sign up online on a first-come, first-served basis. It will be the team's responsibility to arrange a time. Mrs. Henderson will not be tracking people down. Just know that this meeting is very important to doing well. It is important that both team members come at the same time so you will need to coordinate with your teammate before signing up. Students can meet virtually if they need to. The charge for the meeting is $25 per student and will last approximately an hour to an hour and a quarter (sometimes we go over depending on how much work is needed). When each team feels they are very well prepared, they will be given an opportunity to schedule a time to do a full debate with another team 2 v. 2 and receive individual feedback. This usually takes about an hour and a half (again sometimes we go over). Mrs. Henderson will have time slots available for this as well. When we get to this point, she will advise teams as to which team would most benefit from debating. The charge for this meeting will be $14 per student. This system has worked exceedingly well these past years - both from an educational standpoint and from a competitive one. If these fees pose a hardship, please do not hesitate to talk to Mrs. Henderson. She sincerely wants all students to be well prepared.


"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...

The most important part!

We have a tradition that, after both competitions, we all go out together for ice-cream at A.C. Petersen's at 240 Park Road in West Hartford. This is, of course, everyone's favorite part! Family and friends are all welcome to join in the celebration of the efforts of all or our competitors."


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