Commonwealth Season Opener Debate and Speech

2016 — Alexandria, VA, VA/US

Dear Coaches:

Please join us on October 7-8, 2016, for the Virginia Commonwealth Season Opener at Hayfield Secondary School in Alexandria, VA.  Fairfax County Public Schools will be sponsoring the tournament.  The tournament is open to all schools, from Virginia, DC, Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, wherever.  

We'll have Debate AND Speech events; and we'll have Varsity AND Novice divisions so that you can bring your experienced students AND your rookies to get them started.

Students must be enrolled at the school they are representing.  Students must be in grades 7 through 12.  Students entered as NOVICE must NOT have competed in any forensics event at any tournament before July 1, 2016. 

Please join us for for a weekend of speech and debate competition in a safe, secure, and welcoming environment.

We look forward to seeing  you on October 7-8.

Thank you.

Roland Burdett, Tournament Director

Meghan Nugent, Tournament Director


We want to provide a forum for all levels of debate and speech competition so you can bring your entire team including your veterans and your rookies.  We will offer Open (Varsity & JV) and Novice levels of every event in our tournament  

We will offer competition in all four debate events:

  • Policy Debate
  • Lincoln-Douglas Debate
  • Public Forum Debate
  • Congressional Debate

We will offer competition in seven speech events:

  • Dramatic Performance (Serious & Humorous)
  • Duo Interpretation of Literature (Serious & Humorous)
  • Extermporaneous Speaking
  • Impromptu Speaking
  • Oral Intepretation of Literature (Prose & Poetry)
  • Oratorical Declamation
  • Original Oratory
  • Storytelling

Entry Fees are $10 per student, $20 for Team entries, and $20 for Double Entry (in Speech Only).

Judges are required for each event.

  • One judge for every 2 Policy Debate entries, or fraction thereof
  • One judge for every 3 L-D Debate entries, or fraction thereof
  • One judge for every 3 Public Forum Debate entries, or fraction thereof
  • One Judge for every 5 Congressional Debate entries, or fraction thereof
  • One Judge for every 5 Speech entries, or fraction thereof

We WILL use OnLine Balloting and will distribute pairings via text and email.  Please be sure that your Judges and Students have accounts and are linked/approved for your school's account.  

All All events will use NCFL rules, time limits, speech order, and will use the NSDA topics for Policy, LD, and PF.  Impromptu & Storytelling will use VHSL rules.  

  • Double entry is not allowed in debate events, including Congress.
  • Double entry is allowed in speech events.
  • Public Forum Debate will flip for sides and speaker order.
  • L-D and Public Forum Debate will use the NSDA topics for October.
  • L-D will NOT use the Novice Topic.  All divisions of L-D will use the SAME topic.
  • Policy Debate will use the NFHS Topic for 2016-2017. 
  • Congressional Debate will follow NCFL rules and procedures.
  • Congressional Debate topic areas are listed on another page of the website, see the link to the right.  Legislation can be on any of the topic areas provided.  Please bring 30 copies of your legislation to the tournament with you to distribute to the competitors in your chamber.