VassAr College Parliamentary Debate Competition

November 4, 2017 8:45AM - 10PM

124 Raymond Ave, Poughkeepsie, NY 12604

High Schoolers, 9th grade and up

(interested 8th graders please email with interest)

Registration is closed



Karen Koh


Vassar will follow the collegiate APDA style with the 7-8-8-8-4-5 format. We will provide a more detailed style guide for debaters and judges once it is provided to us. Vassar will release one or more straight-link motion 15 minutes before the start of each round. Some rounds, teams may be assigned sides, others, motion and side will be determined by a coin toss. Teams will prepare their cases during the 15 minutes prior to the round start. The format is extemporaneous debate. Debaters are not permitted to use briefs, prepared cases, research material or the internet during their preparation period or during the debate. They may use laptop or tablet computers to take notes during preparation of the round, or to speak from, but they may not use research material stored on said devices. This does not mean that debaters cannot cite facts or references during the debate, only that these facts be generally well known or fully explained in the speech to both the other team and the judge so they can be critically evaluated.

There will be a Varsity and a Novice division. Any student of high school age may compete in the Varsity division. For this tournament a Novice is defined as someone in their first year of high school debate and who is in their Freshman or Sophomore year. Students who have debated in middle school and are just entering their Freshman year count as Novices. Students who debated as Freshman and are entering their Sophomore year are not Novices and must debate as Varsity. Students who have never debated before but are entering their Junior or Senior years are not Novices for this tournament and must debate in the Varsity division.

They are hoping to have 5 rounds, followed by a break to quarter finals in Varsity.  There will also be a semi and then a final.  That means every competitor will do at least 5 rounds which is great practice. Based on attendance last year, Novices will likely have four rounds and break to semi-finals.


This is going to be a very long day. We will meet at the Hendersons (11 Westfield Rd., W. Hartford) at 6:45 AM. If the debate tournament finishes on time - which is highly unlikely - we will be home at 10:00 PM. If our teams make the break, it may be considerably later especially since we will need to stop for food.


The registration and participation cost for this tournament is $50 per student.  The total cost including judging and coach expenses is $99. If you are willing and we need you to judge, you can have a portion of this fee waived by volunteering to judge. See below for details.


Each school has to provide a certain number of judges depending on how many teams they bring. Competition organizers take these responsibilities very, very seriously. They are very clear that they will blackball any school that does not fulfill their responsibilities.  We never want that to happen to us! If you are interested and able to judge, please indicate this when you register. Once registration is complete, we will know how many judges we need and we will contact you if we need you. I know this is a very big time commitment but this is the only way our kids can participate in debate tournaments.  As we normally do, we will distribute the judging responsibility among all our debaters who are competing.  Each of our competitors will be assessed a $35 judging fee for the tournament.  If that competitor's parent judges, that $35 fee will be reimbursed.  In addition, the person who judges will also be reimbursed their registration and participation fee of $50.  The fee also allows us to offer non-competitor parents, or friends or neighbors who judge a fee for their services. We do need to provide trained judges so I will plan to provide materials and meet or talk to the judges we will be providing prior to the competition to prepare them if they don't feel ready.


We secured spots very early and have more on the waitlist. But, please realize that, just because you sign up, it does not mean you will automatically be able to compete since we have a limited number of spaces. We don't know how many of our teams they will let off the waitlist. There is also no guarantee that, just because you indicate you want to judge, you will be able to do so.  How many judges we need depends on how many of our teams are accepted.  If you have indicated you would like to judge, we will let you know whether we need you as soon as we get our final numbers from Vassar.