St. Sebastian Novice & Advanced Debate Competition

Sunday, February 19th  Competition starts: 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM

St. Sebastian's HS, 1191 Greendale Ave, Needham, MA 02492

All High Schoolers

(Interested 8th graders should contact Mrs. H.)

Registration is closed

(We have limited slots. Registration is not a guarantee that you can go. Please register early to maximize your chances)


Parent Coordinator

Karen Koh


Parliamentary Extemporaneous Debate Tournament

We will be debating straight resolutions and using only points of information (no points of order, personal privilege or heckling).

The maximum length and order of speeches are as follows:

  • Prime Minister – 5 minutes
  • First Opposition Speaker – 8 minutes
  • Minister of the Crown – 8 minutes
  • Leader of the Opposition – 8 minutes
  • Prime Minister’s Rebuttal – 3 minutes

A 30-second grace period will be allowed for each debater, after which the speech will be terminated. The Government will be given 2 minutes to define the terms in the room with the Opposition and the judge, followed by a 10-minute preparation time for both teams. The Government Team should repair to the hallway for the preparation period. Debaters are strictly forbidden from consulting any reference materials during the preparation period or during the debate. Violation of this rule will warrant disqualification from the Tournament.



Return: If they are running on schedule, we should be leaving at about 4:45 for an estimated return to West Hartford between 6:45 and 7:00 .  Students can call parents from the road to update them on their arrival time.

Dress Code

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 Ann know so she can put out a group email.  We have been pretty good at coming up with clothing to share.  


The kids are fed two nice meals:  A brunch and a dinner.  

Parental Attendance

Parents do not attend these competitions.  You are warmly invited and encouraged to attend the state competitions in the spring.  You are more than welcome to come judge although please realize this does not allow you to watch your own child debate.


We are required to provide trained judges. The number of judges we need depends on the number of competitors we bring. This is the way these competitions work: If we do not provide judges, our kids cannot compete. Judging is a very big time commitment. We leave early and return late. Judges are "on" for a big part of the day.  Judges also have to be prepared and willing to be trained before judging. Having said this, judging is very fun. Although it might seem intimidating the first time, people always want to do it again. In order to be as fair as possible, we distribute the judging responsibility among all those competing. Each of our competitors will be assessed a $16 judging fee for the tournament. If that competitor provides a judge, that $16 fee will be waived. In addition, everyone who judges will be reimbursed the registration and participation fee - that fee is paid for by the judging fees of the other competitors who are not providing a judge. This distributes the judging responsibility among all the debaters and ensures that everyone who wants to can compete regardless of finances. If we are short judges, we try to find non-competitor parents, or friends or neighbors to judge and offer them the fees for their services. We do need to provide trained judges so Ann will provide materials and meet or talk to our judges prior to the competition to prepare them. 

If we have more judges sign up than we need, fear not, there are many upcoming competitions so you will definitely get a chance!

If you have indicated you would like to judge, we will let you know within a few days after the completion of registration if we need you.


10:00 – 11:00 am:  Registration in the front foyer of the Birmingham Academic Building

10:00 – 11:30 am:  Brunch served in Ward Hall.

Dinner will be available after 3:00 pm

11:30 – 12 noon:  Judges’ and Debaters’ Meeting in Ward Hall

12:00 – 1:00 pm:  Round One

1:00 – 2:00 pm:   Round Two

2:00 – 3:00 pm:  Round Three

3:00 – 4:30 pm:  Dinner in Ward Hall

4:30 – 4:45 pm:  Presentation of Awards in Ward Hall


The total cost per debater is $89. This includes the participation cost, including two meals, travel expenses to and from Needham, Massachusetts and the judging fee.  


To register, click on the icon --->