Civics First MS Tournament

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

John Winthrop Middle School in Deep River, CT

1 John Winthrop Jr High School Dr, 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."


Select one *


We NEED judges:  By only having to judge one round, you can watch your student debate the other round!

Each debater MUST provide one judge for one round. We must also supply timers, who can be siblings. 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 are not debating but are willing to judge or time, please enter that information in the registration form to the right. 


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. 


The total cost per debater for participation and a judge is $. The judging fee of $20 will be refunded after the competition if you judge or supply a judge. 


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 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.  

Parental attendance is very welcome and very encouraged.

MEETINGS WITH Mrs. Henderson

Each team will meet privately (either in person or virtually) with one of our coaches before the competition to work on their arguments individually. Both teammates must come at the same time. You will receive an email with possible meeting dates closer to the event.


Once the competitors have registered, Mrs. H. will assign partners, followed by a schedule of the times the coach 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. We 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. The charge for the meeting is $25 per student and will last approximately 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). You will be given time slots available for this as well. When we get to this point, your coach will advise teams as to which team would most benefit from debating. The charge for this meeting will be $12 per student. This system has worked exceedingly well in the past - both from a logistical standpoint and from a competitive one. If these fees pose a hardship, please do not hesitate to talk to Mrs. H.. 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..


We have a tradition that, after both tournaments, 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."