Vestavia Novice

2021 — Birmingham, AL/US

This tournament plans to be in person. Below you will find our covid safety protocols. 

-The Vestavia Hills School District has a mask mandate in place for its students that extends to all visitors. Therefor, you will be required to wear a mask inside the building at all times, except when eating or giving a speech and socially distancing is possible.

-Due to crowding in the cafeteria, I will arrange for additional space so you can socially distance while you eat. I cannot promise each school a different 'team room' because we cannot have food in the classrooms, but I will arrange for outdoor seating and possibly the practice gym for overflow. There will be space for you to socially distance while eating.

-Extra time will be given for lunch this year to avoid the huge clump in the cafeteria getting food. You do not need to rush to get in line to get food.

-There will be no opening ceremony or awards ceremony. We still want to give awards and such, so this is how we will do it. At the beginning and conclusion of the tournament, each school will have a room (or two rooms if a large team) designated to them. I will use the intercom system for announcements and awards, which is transmitted to every room. Awards can then be picked up on the way out in the front lobby.

-Hand sanitizer stations are located throughout the building and its use is encouraged


*If you or your students disagree with any of the covid safety protocols listed above, please do not come. Masks are required. I don't want any conflict, but if you come and refuse to oblige with our tournament's rules you will be asked to leave.*


Hello coaches and competitors! Thank you so much for considering and/or registering for the Marilee Dukes Vestavia Hills Novice Tournament. We will offer a quick 5 rounds in PF/LD and 4 rounds in speech (no breaks). This should serve as some great experience for your novice to start the year and a great team building experience for your entire team. Below you will find some important information and rules about the tournament. Please also check out the tabs to the right for further information on the schedule.

1.         Definition:  A novice is defined as any competitor in their first year OR who has had less than 10 rounds of competition prior to the current school year (excluding workshops).  Experienced PF debaters who switch to LD are NOT NOVICES,  and experienced LD debaters who switch to PF are NOT NOVICES. Individuals who have experience in IE only would certainly be novice debaters.  In individual events, a competitor who is doing individual events for the first time IS considered a novice.  No other students should be in competition. If you have any question about this, please email me.

2.         Topics: We will use the NSDA LD VARSITY TOPIC:

Resolved: The member nations of the World Trade Organization ought to reduce intellectual property protections for medicines.

            We will use the NSDA PF Topic as well: Resolved: The North Atlantic Treaty Organization should substantially increase its defense commitments to the Baltic states.


           Extemp will alternate between domestic and foreign, starting with domestic round 1


3.        We will follow all NSDA rules for all events. See the NSDA high school unified manual for more information. As it regards to Public Forum, we will be using the new PF changes, which adds an extra minute to both Summary speeches (now 3 minutes) and both teams' prep time (now 3 minutes). For ALL events, we will also be allowing the use of internet in round. However, do not be reliant on this in case of technology failure.

4.         Judges:  In order to get more rounds in for your novice, we are trying to single flight the tournament. This means for debate events, we ask you provide one judge for every two debate entries. In individual events, one judge for every five entries (or fraction thereof).  These quotas should not be a problem given the fact that your varsity members are able to judge. A varsity member with 200 NSDA points is recognized by the NSDA as eligible to judge novice.  Certainly, no one who will compete in novice division during the upcoming year or even last year should be judging. Students judging should be in 3rd year or above. It is important that you realize that one of the additional benefits associated with this tournament is to allow varsity people to judge so that they can build NSDA point totals.  Please advise with your student judges about writing constructive ballots.

            Do not hire judges if you are an established program with varsity debaters. This tournament is designed not to just be for your novice debaters, but your whole team. We encourage varsity to come as well to judge rounds, help their own novice in between rounds, and build team cohesion and bonding to start the year. It will be difficult for Vestavia Hills to provide additional judges or to hire judges EXCEPT as deemed necessary to assist programs which have no varsity students to draw upon.  If, for some reason, this presents a problem for your program, please email us as soon as possible.  If we can help by hiring judges for you, we will.  Judge availability will be the determining factor.  Cost per hired judge is $50.00.  Coaches, please do not judge yourself unless you must; let your varsity people get the NSDA points.  Of course, you may judge if you like.

             Judge requirements: 1 judge for every 2 Public Forum Teams

                                               1 judge for every 2 LD entries

                                               1 judge for every 5 IE entries

All judges, including student judges, should have a account with a valid email to be able to register them.

5.         Ballots: ALL ballots (including IE) will be done online. All judges should have a tabroom account so that they get access to their ballots online. This will also mean they need to bring a device to the tournament. We will provide the WiFi.

6.         Double Entries:  Students may only enter one type of debate. Students may enter up to two IE divisions. No student may compete in debate and IE.

7.         Fees:  Fees for this tournament will be $8.00 per person per event (this means $16.00 total for a PF team).  Make all checks payable to Vestavia Hills High School. Judges fees will be $50 per judge. Please do not hire and let your varsity judge. We don't want your money.

8.         Deadlines:  All entries must be received by Monday, September 13 at 5:00pm.  However, we would love your entries much earlier. The sooner you enter entries, the better it is on us to plan. If there are any changes after this time, please email it to me. You will also be assigned a $10 late fee so plan accordingly.

9.         Awards:  Appropriate awards will be presented for all students placing in their respective events.  However, the emphasis for this tournament is experience, not awards. Our awards are fun and cheap, and thus, allows the entry fees to stay low.

10.         Food:  Food will be available for sale from our concessions.  Please ask your students to support the snack bar.  A successful snack bar keeps the fees low.  We do have to pay to keep the facility open. Certainly, we would assume that no food from an outside source would be brought into our school. The only exception would be if you or a competitor has strict dietary restrictions. Our snack bar will accept credit card.

11.     All students and judges must have valid, linked accounts. 


If you should have questions regarding the tournament or information contained in this invitation, please feel free to contact us at your earliest convenience. 

We look forward to seeing you!

Nate Conoly

Best contact:
Vestavia Hills High School