John C Stennis Novice Invitational

2022 — Starkville, MS/US



Brian Pugh

Executive Director


Andrea Myles

Assistant Director for Programs/Tournament Liaison 

Sonya Harvey – Tournament Director 

Rachel Clapper-Davis and Micah Everson – Tabroom Staff

 Please consider this your school’s invitation to attend the 2022 John C. Stennis Center for Public Service Novice Tournament on September 16 -17.  The Stennis Center has long been affiliated with the National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA) and is the sole sponsor of the competition in Congressional Debate at the NSDA National Tournament.

 To foster and promote Forensics in the South, the Stennis Center agreed in 1995 to underwrite the costs of a novice tournament.  As a result of the commitment of the Stennis Center, each school must still furnish enough qualified judges to cover its entries, but there will be NO FEE to compete.

The focus of the tournament will be on getting new students involved in Policy Debate, Lincoln-Douglas Debate, Public Forum Debate, Speech Events, and Congressional Debate.  This year’s tournament will continue the tradition of Workshop sessions led by Mississippi coaches in the tournament’s Speech Events by offering in-person workshops.

Students competing at Stennis must be novice competitors in high school (9th-12th grade only).

 Definition of Novice: A novice student is a student that has never competed in speech or debate events prior to this academic school year on the HIGH SCHOOL level. A novice student may be in any high school grade (9-12) as long as they meet the condition in the previous sentence.

 A student who has previously competed in middle school is still considered a novice when they enter high school, as long as they only competed against other middle-school students and never competed against high-school students while in middle school.

 There is no distinction between types of events in the definition of a novice. A student who competed in Speech as a freshman is not a novice for purposes of Debate events. A student who competed in high school debate last year is not a novice in Speech events.

Please review this definition carefully, and please enter only those students who truly qualify for novice status. Any competitors who violate the rules above will be disqualified immediately. Please email the Tournament Director with any questions about novice status or eligible students for the Stennis competition at