Dr Martin Luther King Jr Open at EL Meyers

2020 — Wilkes-Barre, PA/US


69 Public Square

11th Floor

Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701

Phone (570) 822-3311             

Fax (570) 822-9894

e-mail address:  kborland@borlandandborland.com





December 5, 2019


Dear Coach:



The E.L. Meyers High School Speech and Debate Team is very pleased to invite you to the Twenty-First Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Open Speech & Debate Tournament to be held on Saturday, January 18, 2019 at E.L. Meyers High School in Wilkes-Barre, PA. In the event the tournament must be postponed for reasons of weather conditions, it will be held on the following day, Sunday, January 19, 2019.


We offer competition in sixteen different speech and debate events, five of which are unique to this tournament and bear special relationships to the life and legacy of Dr, King.  Because one of the missions of our tournament is to honor the memory of Dr. King, we permit double entries in order to encourage participation in the special Dr. King events.


Our speech events are declamation, original oratory, oral interpretation of prose and poetry, extemporaneous speaking, dramatic performance, dramatic duo, program oral interpretation and crisis management.  The special Dr. King speech events are Dr. King declamation (presentation of a speech or sermon from respected civil rights leaders, open to all competitors, manuscripts permitted); Dr. King commentary (limited prep on topics related to Dr. King's legacy and causes); Dr. King oratory (on topic related to Dr. King's legacy or causes); and, Dr. King original poetry (inspired by Dr. King's life, legacy or causes).  The speech events will have three rounds of preliminary competition followed by a final round, or, if the number of competitors in the event are sufficient, a semi-final and a final round.


Double entry is permitted for all events except policy debate, Lincoln-Douglas debate, public forum debate, congress and parliamentary debate. Double entry is not permitted between extemporaneous speaking and Dr. King commentary.  Students may double enter in original oratory and Dr. Martin Luther King original oratory, but they may not use the same speech for both.  The same is true for declamation and Dr. Martin Luther King declamation.


Registration shall be on a first come, first served basis through Tabroom.com. Our registration deadline is the close of business, Wednesday, January 15, 2019. However, due to potential space restrictions at both schools, we reserve the right to close events earlier. Should any event be closed, coaches will be able to place their students on wait lists in those specific events. Tournament day registration opens at 8:00 a.m. and closes at 8:30 a.m.


Registration fees are $20 for each policy debate team, public forum team and parliamentary debate team; and $10 for each entry in an individual event, including duo congress and Lincoln Douglas.  Checks should be drawn to the order of Meyers Speech & Debate.  To encourage participation in the MLK events, registration fees in the four (4) specialty events will be discounted by 50%. Drop fees in these events will not be discounted. There is no charge for drops on or before January 15.  After January 17 the registration fees will be frozen. The fee for each drop on January 16 or 17 is $5.  The fee for each drop on January 18 is $10. The drop fee is in addition to the registration fee for the student who drops.


Each team is required to provide one judge for each six individual event entries (or fraction thereof), including congress; and, one judge for every pair of entries in each debate event (or fraction thereof), including parliamentary debate.  Parliamentary and public forum debate judges will be drawn from the speech pool. Judging pools will not be divided between varsity and novice divisions.  Judges may be purchased at the following rates:  policy debate, $75; Lincoln-Douglas debate, $35; and, individual events (including parliamentary and public forum debate), $25.  All judges are committed through the final rounds of their respective pools and there are no exceptions to this rule. Schools with judges who miss preliminary round assignments will be fined $25. Schools with judges who miss elimination round assignments will be fined $75. Trophies and ballots will be held until payment arrangements are made.   


The rules of the National Catholic Forensic League shall apply, except for public forum debate, policy debate and program oral interpretation, for which the rules of the National Forensic League shall apply; parliamentary debate, for which the rules of the PHSSL shall apply; and, except for the special Dr. King events and crisis management.  Event rules and ballots and will be provided upon request. 


Tabulation rules for all speech events will be as follows:


For events breaking to semi-final rounds the total ranks in FINAL ROUND only will be used. Tie breakers will be judges’ preference, then reciprocals. For events not breaking to semi-final rounds cumulative ranks from the three preliminary rounds and the final round, if any, will be used to determine the winner. Tie breakers will be judges’ preference (if there is a final round), then reciprocals, then number of 1s. We do not school protect room assignments in preliminary speech rounds.

Awards will be given to the first six places in each event and to the top three ranked policy debate speakers.

            In addition to our event awards, we also offer a traveling, overall sweepstakes award; the Bob Crawford Memorial Award and the Public Affairs Award.  Mr. Crawford was a beloved teacher at Meyers and this award in his memory is presented to the school with the most sweepstakes points in the special events dedicated to Dr. King.

            The Robert Janosov Public Affairs Award is presented to the school which achieves the greatest number of sweepstakes points in our public affairs events:  extemporaneous speaking; Lincoln-Douglas debate; Dr. Martin Luther King commentary; Parliamentary debate; Dr. Martin Luther King original oratory; policy debate; public forum debate; crisis management; and, congress.

            For congress, you may submit bills of your students’ authorship, but are not required to do so as a condition of registration.  Because we will be sending to congress registrants a packet of bills to be used at the Tournament by Friday January 10, 2019, please submit any bills you wish to use by Wednesday, January 8, 2019, to allow us to include them in the packet.  No bills submitted thereafter will be considered at the Tournament.

Lunch will be provided in the Meyers cafeteria at the cost of seven dollars ($7.00) per person, which may be paid on the day of the Tournament.  Policy, Lincoln-Douglas and public forum debaters will eat lunch at Meyers after the completion of their preliminary rounds at Kistler.  Complimentary lunches will be provided for coaches and judges in the Tournament’s hospitality suite, and snacks and sodas will be sold throughout the day. 

A portion of the proceeds of the tournament will be donated to the Wyoming Valley Martin Luther King Committee.


In order to make the registration process more efficient on the day of the tournament, we are asking registrants to call us at our cell phone numbers, 570-357-5334 or 570-357-4860, Saturday morning with any drops or any other changes as soon as you know them.  We will have your registration packet with the changes available upon your arrival.  As an incentive, we will include all teams which do the "call ahead" Saturday morning registration in a drawing for a lovely and delicious snack basket.


Please call us with any questions at our office, 570-822-3311.  We look forward to seeing you at the Tournament on January 18, 2019.



                                                            Very truly yours,

Ruth S. Borland

Kimberly D. Borland


E.L. Meyers High School Speech and Debate Team