Nova Titan Invitational
2022 — Nova High School, Davie, FL/US
Congress Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
My favorite event is Extemp, so I treat all debaters like I would a national finalist in Extemp. Talk at a human pace so that the audience can understand the debate, but feel free to extend your impacts as far as possible pending you keep up the warrants for each claim. Impact turns make debate more fun, try to turn them. Work to cross apply your contentions to your opponents impacts. Making voting claims that I missed during the round won't be used to judge the round. The speakers have a duty to communicate what they want the audience to hear, the judge has a duty to listen to the best of their ability and shouldn't feel burdened by advanced debaters who go beyond the judge's means. I've got a PhD in Communication Studies and embrace a qualitative perspective, values matter. Be smart, be concise, and be respectful. If you can deliver the argument well, feel free to also be creative. For what it's worth, demanding language is a peeve, as opposed to suggestive; in voters, please tell me what I should(n't) do rather than what I can't do.
I’ve been a debate coach since 2011, first at the middle school level, then managing debate operations as an assistant principal, and since 2020doing what I love as the proud coach of Everglades HS forensics from Miramar, FL. I have a B.A. in English / B.S. in Biology and a Masters in Ed. Leadership. I’ve judged everything from locals to NSDA Nationals. Four time NSDA national finalist coach. NSDA Speech school of excellence 2023. Follow us on IG @evergaldesdebate
Rule #1 – Play Nice.
If cross gets ugly and rude, I will destroy your speaker points. Debate is about building community and showing others that we don’t have to be as vile and divisive as those holding political office. Seriously, you all are the future. Make it awesome.
Argumentation & Evidence
I will be flowing your arguments and I do not want to be part of an email chain. I will judge off your flow. Having said that, please sign-post and don’t spread. I’m fine with rapid talking, but honestly, it is all about quality of argumentation over quantity.
Having solid warrants is great; but warrants without extension or analytical impact is fail. Just because you can rattle off stat after stat doesn’t show me you are an excellent debater and should win a round.
While it is very doubtful that I will be calling for cards, make sure you have exchanged cards with your opponents prior to the round so we don’t need to waste time with that in session. If you are unable to provide a requested card within 15 seconds, speaker points will drop and I will strike that piece of evidence from your argument.
I've seen a trend recently where competitors try to spread five or six contentions. If you elect to do this, be prepared for me to either a) review written case (time permitting before decision deadline) or b) not penalize your opponent for "dropping" Cs. Again, quality over quantity for me as a judge.
I am comfortable with counter-plans in most cases; however, I don't coach kritik's or "Ks" specifically; although I do my best to read the literature contained in topical case briefs. While I would never outright fail a position for running a "K", you will more than likely need to be super-awesome to win as I prefer traditional LD rounds. If you plan to run straight theory, please strike me.
World Schools Debate (WSD)
I'm thrilled to see WSD being brought to more and more tournaments. Having said that, many don't have a clear understanding of the format. Please make sure you have reviewed the NSDA guidelines, FFL Rules (if Florida), and / or tournament specific rule-set for the event.
As a judge, great cases for me will begin with defining and contextualizing the motion from the prop / opp's position. Furthermore, if the motion does not specifically give us what "this house" represents, define / clarify it for me. Make sure you introduce a clear, believable framework,before beginning the body of your case. As the case moves forward, all substansives, observations, and evaluations should be presented with specific, concrete examples. I don't by hyperbolic, generic, or slopply linked pieces of evidence. Having said that, do not turn WSD into a PF round, I'm really not interested in seeing how many cards you can (prepared motion) throw into your case.
As the round moves on, both sides have a duty to settle the framework debate, by either furthering clash over framework or moving on and accepting your opponent's framework. Don't weight til the reply speech to attempt to resolve framework issues or I will ignore your response and pref the team that provided a clear framework weighing mechanism earlier in the round.
Having listened to all three speakers, your content score will be reflective of how well your team not only presented your case, but how you chose to respond to your opponent's position. Again, I prefer specifics with well-thought out analytics, then simple summary of an opponent's substansive and then telling me (with non-specific or simply summarized evidence) how they fail to meet the metric of your framework. Dig deeper then that.
To earn maximun style points from me as a judge, speakers should be engaging and passionate about their assigned position. The speaking delivery style of this event is much closer to OO and Congress then it is to more traditional debate formats. Inclusion of rhetorical devices, proper speaking tone / inflection, and stage presence will have a huge impact on my ballot. Also, if you spend your time with your head in your case and not engaging with the round, you'll bore me and your speaks will suffer.
For strategy points, make sure to make use of PoIs outside of protected time. This should be spread around the team and not just be one person. Furthermore, how you respond to PoIs to further develop clash within the debate and use as a opportunity shift course mid-speech is total win.
I give significant weight to how debaters handle cross, summary, and final focus (PF) or rebuttal in LD. I’m sure you all have meticulously prepared constructives / cases and rebuttals. However, I want to see what you can do when presented with your opponent’s case that is unique and entertaining.
Please make sure to weigh your arguments; but do so with thorough explanation. Please don’t tell me “aff outweighs on magnitude of impact” and leave it at that.
Also, if you've read this far, congrats! You get to hear my judging pet-peve - climate / nuclear war / extinction arguments. They feel like such an easy out. I'll certainly consider them, but I'm thinking we can be more original than that.
I will not disclose at the end of round, nor will I give feedback outside of the ballot. However, my ballots, like my paradigm, tend to be wordy.
If you can slide in a reference to any of the following, I’ll give your speaker points a little bump:
- Rick and Morty - Must be a Season 7 Reference ... or something involving Mr. Nimbus.
- Bad / Silly / Campy Horror Movies
- Why Dune was seriously phenomenal and your expectations or thoughts on Part II (Either movie, or better yet, the novel)
I like to be entertained. This is my weekend I’m giving up so you all can participate in a great tournament. Make me laugh and keep me engaged when you speak and the world will be an almost beautiful place.
I am the Debate Coach at Piper High School. This is my second year teaching debate. My first time judging will be during Titan Invitational @ Nova High School. I have experience preparing for Student Congress, Dramatic Interpretation, and Impromptu Speaking.
If you’re aff, your job is to tell me why this bill helps people. If you’re neg, your job is to tell me why this bill harms people. Whoever does that best gets my 1.
-I want to see a good speech AND good arguments, but if you can’t do both, I rank good arguments over a good speech
-Don't be the second aff or second neg speech in a row. Flip if needed!
-Be active in questioning. But I’d rather see you ask a question every other cycle that really gets at the warrants and impacts of a speech, than ask a lot of questions just for the sake of asking questions.
-Have a lot of ref unless you’re first aff. Don’t refute claims, refute warrants and impacts. If you crystal, that requires ref AND analysis of how major arguments shape the context of the round AND analysis of the merits of the major warrants and impacts on each side based on your own framework AND the supplementation of that analysis with your own data. Point is, it’s not just a way to get out of giving a prepared speech. And it’s not just a lot of ref added to a speech you were already planning to give. There’s a science to it.
If you PO, as long as you do it right 90% of the time, you’ll see a bump in your rankings. A few minor mistakes isn’t really a problem for me.
-only PO one round, obviously
-POing is important, but don’t treat it as a way to get out of giving a speech.
I am a 2nd-year Speech and Debate coach for Flanagan High School. A majority of my judging experience is in Congress and Public Forum.
For Congress: Clear claims and impacts are very important for high scores. Speakers must speak clearly, look up from their legal pad, and remain composed during cross examination. PO's receive high ranks for understanding procedures and running the chamber accordingly.
For PF: Final focus and summary speeches are most important. It's also vital that each competitor give clear data, warranting, and impacts. Spreading is okay, but anything I am unable to flow will not count towards my final score, so it is in the debaters best interest to speak clearly enough where the speeches can be flowed appropriately. Any points not refuted by the opposing team will be considered factual and count towards the final score. Decorum is important, so no profanity or rude behavior (such as eye-rolling, scoffing, etc.)
I evaluate based on flow. Stay topical and be respectful, but also provide clash. Jokes are appreciated.
I’m the Director of Speech and Debate at American Heritage Schools, Palm Beach Campus (since 2018). Formerly, I competed for Suncoast High School in Congress and Extemp, coached at multiple schools in Florida, and worked at summer institutes. I teach all events, except LD and Policy, and primarily coach Congress, Extemp, Oratory, and Info.
I’m “old fashioned” when it comes to Congress. I like solid argumentation (read: have warrants and impacts) and clash. I expect every speaker after the author/sponsor to refute. As the debate progresses, the pendulum should swing from mostly new arguments in speeches to mostly refutation in speeches. Congress is not designed to be a “fully prepared beforehand speech” event; you MUST react to what’s happening in the debate. In terms of speaking, I’m open to a variety of styles ranging from faster/more aggressive debate-y speakers to more oratorical speakers. I tend to prioritize content over speaking. The PO usually makes my top 6 and, on occasion, gets the 1.
Speech students rarely read paradigms, so I’ll keep this brief. In Extemp, Oratory, and Info, I will flow your content and will reward speakers with sound structure and clarity of thought. In the Interp events, I look for a storyline, blocking, and characterization. In all IE events, I always rank speakers who are genuine, confident, and showcase true emotion over those who are fake, overly practiced/scripted, and uncertain.
I don’t judge a lot of PF, but you need not be scared if you see me in the back of a PF round. I teach PF all the time and have judged many, many rounds. I do my best to flow all speeches in the round (not CF), but only if I can understand what you’re saying. I can handle a little speed, but not a lot (I will motion for you to slow down if you’re going too fast). It will work in your favor to signpost contentions and sub points. I like line-by-line Rebuttals that clearly line up with the opponent’s Constructive. You should collapse in the Summary and weigh in the Final Focus. A few general guidelines: 1) PF is an evidence-based event, 2) don’t drop arguments, 3) don’t say outlandish things like “my opponent dropped all our arguments” when they didn’t, etc. I will always disclose unless the tournament has a strict policy against it.
It’s HIGHLY unlikely (I can count on 1 hand the number of LD and Policy rounds I’ve judged in the past 11 years) that you’ll see me in an LD or Policy judge pool.
**Updated November 2021**
CONGRESS PARADIGM I am a parent judge who has been judging congress at a local, state, and national level for 2 years. I hope this paradigm tells you a bit more about what I'm looking for.
If you deliver a speech I already heard a different competitor give before, I will give you a lower rank. There is no good reason to copy your teammate's speeches, especially at prestigious bid tournaments. This goes for authorships/sponsorships, too.
PRESENTATION Congress is partially a speech event. Your presentation and delivery will factor into my judging. I love when people take more interesting, performative approaches that break up the monotony of a congress round. Please don't speak too quickly. I will hold it against you if you are reading too much from your pad and have poor eye contact. You should be familiar enough with the content of your speech to not be completely dependent on your pad. I have nothing against electronics. An iPad instead of a legal pad is perfectly fine as long as you don't let it hamper your performance.
CONTENT If you are making claims, make sure they are substantiated with evidence, especially if they are provocative or important new claims in the round. Round adaptation is extremely important. If you're just saying the same things as the previous five speakers before you, I have no reason to give you a good rank. Debaters have an obligation to engage with, build on, and refute what has been said by others in the round.
Always 1. link to the bill and 2. terminalize your impacts. Every speech needs to explain how passing this bill specifically causes a distinct harm or benefit. I don't have strict requirements for how you structure your speeches because I think that stifles innovation in this event, as long as it's a clear, understandable, effective speech.
RHETORIC I love an interesting rhetorical narrative. I think cookie cutter intros are boring. In the best case, each speech has an introduction relevant to the bill or even what has been previously said in the round. Rhetoric is not a substitute for substance. I've heard many brilliant rhetorical performances with very little content, and as much as I enjoy them, I can't rank them very high in the context of a congress round.
I always rank competent POs well. A congress round can't run without a PO, and I will never punish someone who knows what they're doing for stepping up to perform this vital function. Please don't PO if you don't know what you're doing. Yes, everyone has to PO for the first time at some point, but you should still be coming prepared and as someone who is already familiar with how congress works. POing should not be a cop-out for being underprepared.
Some notes for novices/people who are new to congress:
- Memorize parts of your speech
- If you're speaking later in the round, don't just deliver the speech you came prepared with - adapt!
- Be prepared to switch sides on a one-sided bill: you're doing the chamber and your judges a favor
- Be courteous: don't use parliamentary procedure as a tool to exclude or disadvantage others
- Enjoy yourself! Winning 1st place doesn't mean much if you didn't have fun
I've judged rounds of: Public Forum, Congress, Lincoln-Douglas, Extemporaneous Speaking, Original Oratory, Informative Speaking, Interpretation of Literature, and Impromptu Speaking.
Strong debaters have a balance of facts, statistics, engaging rhetoric and clear delivery. Help me flow! I like lots of taglines and signposting, even during cross ex. If you're speaking fast, make sure you're not sacrificing clarity. Although I don't prefer when competitors spread, I can understand what they are saying (during the cross examination sessions). If you're interrupting your opponent habitually, it may count against you.
The winning team / debater is able to deliver and extend strong, well-supported, and prepared arguments while pointing out and breaking down flaws in the opponent's arguments.
Mr. P. J. Samorian
Mr. Samorian is the Communications Department Chair at American Heritage Schools Palm Beach Campus. His teams compete in Lincoln Douglas, Public Forum, Congressional Debate and Individual Speech Events, Worlds School Debate with possible Policy Debate addition. AH Achievements: LD State Champion, Declamation State Champion, Sunvite PF Champion, Emory PF Champion, NSDA/NCFL Finalists in IE and Congress, Grapevine PF Champions, Bronx Congress RR Champion, Blue Key PF and LD Champions, GMU Congress Champion, Blue Key 3rd Place Sweepstakes, NSDA district champions. He is the former Director of Forensics at New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois. He was the Director of Forensics at Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Illinois for 18 years and before that was an Assistant IE Coach at Glenbrook South High School in Glenview, Illinois under the direction of William (Mark) Ferguson. He coached the NFL Poetry Reading National Champion (1993), NFL Congress(Senate) Runner-Up (2000), ICDA State Congress Champions (2000), IHSA State Congressional Debate Runner-Up (2008), and his team won one of five NCFL Eleanor E. Wright Debate Awards (2009). He has coached finalists and champions at Wake Forest, Grapevine, The Glenbrooks, Blue Key, The Barkley Forum, U.C.Berkeley, Sunvite and Harvard. Mr. Samorian is an NSDA Triple Diamond coach. He holds a B.A. from Northern Illinois University and a M.Ed. from Loyola University Chicago. He attended Glenbrook North High School in Northbrook, Illinois where he was involved with drama and music. He was involved with hosting five NCFL National Tournaments in Chicago, and was the President of the Chicago Catholic Forensic League and has served on both the Northern Illinois NFL District Committee as well as the IHSA State Debate Committee. He was the director of public forum for Millennial Speech and Debate (Georgetown and Boston College) and was the Co-Director for Public Forum Debate at the Harvard Summer Workshop. He has hosted NSDA webinars on different aspects of congressional debate. He has been the director of public forum at Georgetown as well as teaching and directing programs in Business, Stem, and Debate for Capitol Debate at Notre Dame Baltimore, American University Washington DC, Yale University, Babson College, Dartmouth College, The Hun School. He is currently the PBMSFL Treasurer and serves on the congress TOC advisory committee.
FOR ALL DEBATE EVENTS, the flow is so important. You have to listen and make note of what your opponents are saying. I am flowing, so you should be as well. Then it is important that you DO something with that information.
I am open to any argument you may make and then ask that you support that idea.
If you are going to spread, please sign post and accent key terms you want me to get down on my flow.
I work hard to not let any of my personal opinions have any place in the round.
I prefer that debaters be strong in their conviction but not be abusive in their treatment of others.
I also require you to be truthful. Present accurate evidence. I have been witness to false information and it really bothers me that you would just present it as though it is true and keep going until someone questions it.
Persuade me that you are right and your opponents are not.
I DO NOT SHAKE HANDS AT THE END OF A ROUND (Obviously in person debate) This was posted BEFORE Covid and still applies now.
I prefer that contestants stick to the philosophical arguments in the round. It bothers me when LD turns to a plan of action. (With exception of a topic that requires a plan...) While topics are sometimes hard, I am looking for the theory that is supporting what you are saying. To this end, you may consider me "old school" when it comes to LD. Yes, I do think that Locke, Hobbes, Rousseau and others should provide foundation for the direction you are going. That doesn't mean I am not open to other theories and philosophies, however if you do run theory or other arguments, know why you are running them. Please don't run them because you do that at every tournament so you don't have to prep each topic!!! An entire round of arguments not related to the topic will not win my ballot. Ignoring a judge who says "clear" when you are spreading, will not win my ballot. Clear, persuasive arguments will win my ballot. Arguments that are constructed and carried through the debate will win my ballot. Weighing at the end or your final rebuttal could win my ballot. I do not shake hands at the end of a round.
I like the original intention of this event that it should be a debate that would take place in a public setting and would have ideas and delivery that any person off the street could understand. To this end, I don't want you to be a policy debater. While I do want structure to what you are saying and evidence to support your ideas, it is the PUBLIC approach that I prefer. Are you clear? Do your points make logical sense? Are you able to persuade me that your side is the side that is best for our current population? I have been extremely bothered in the past few years with students who are falsifying evidence. I judged a semi-final where one team built an entire case around one key piece of evidence. Their opponents called for the evidence during the round, but it was never produced. The judge next to me called for the evidence after the round and sure enough, they were blatantly misquoting the evidence. I have also researched evidence that simply does not exist. Have some integrity. Do the work needed to prepare yourself for the topic. I do not shake hands at the end of a round.
Yes, I was around when the event was called Student Congress and it has been an honor to have been a part of the evolution of the activity. I think there are many roles that congressional debaters play. To that end, there are many styles of speeches that I enjoy when judging a congress round. The authorship should explain the legislation and set the tone and standard for the round. The first con should be equally as strong. Both should have strong supportive evidence and equally strong explanations. Every speech after that should further debate with new evidence and should also extend or refute previous speakers. For me, politics are a waste of time. That being said, I also don't like it to be a speech competition. It should be a series of debate speeches on both sides so that at the end of debate on each piece of legislation, I have a better idea of the issues and in a sense; I have been persuaded to one side or the other. If you are speaking near the end of the debate, then a top-notch crystallization is in order and very much enjoyed when done well. If you are a presiding officer, I want it to run so smoothly and fairly that I never have to step in. A good PO brings energy to the room and fosters an atmosphere of healthy debate. I enjoy students who have their own unique style and don't just copy what everyone else is doing and saying. Play to your strengths. Recent developments in more complicated scenarios have been interesting as has the development of 30 second questioning periods (direct questioning). Traditional questioning is one question one person, it should not be called indirect questioning.... Congressional Debate is still evolving and I think we should enjoy the growth. Some styles work better than others, but I am not convinced there is just one way to speak or preside. I enjoy some of the regional and league differences. I serve on the TOC Congressional Debate Advisory Committee. I do not shake hands at the end of a round. Can we please put an end to frowning chairs? Congress does not have an equal number of speeches for or against a piece of legislation so why should we. It is natural that one side will have more than the other. So stop frowning. If you cannot extend, refute, or produce new arguments, then don't rehash, vote to move on to the next legislation and speak early on that. EVERYONE SHOULD BE PREPARED ON BOTH SIDES. Then strategically you should choose which side will benefit you the best and speak on that side.
I don't think anyone checks the wiki for IE philosophy. LOL I mean, its not like you could change your cutting of speech because I am in the back of the room. IE was my first love and passion. Do well in performance. Be honest and true and you will win me every round. I often write an IE ballot as though I am coaching you. So, if I give you ideas and then see you a month later and have to just write the same exact ballot again, what did you learn and do my notes even matter at that point. IE students often try to read the judge. You can't really read me. I may be writing feverishly to give you as many suggestions for improvement as possible, I may be writing how much I am enjoying every moment, or a may stop writing because I don't have much to say because you are so amazing. I also rank as I go so there is no advantage or disadvantage to your speaking order.
ONLINE SPEECH AND DEBATE - At first, I had enjoyed moving to online speech and debate. I was involved in rules development, ideas for communicating online and framing ideas. I worked all summer with online speech and debate and so understand glitching etc but you also need to make sure no other devices in your home are on and that your framing doesn't include anything moving, like a ceiling fan, as they will detract from the strength of your signal. FOR DEBATE EVENTS, I prefer that you present your speech seated. I think in person standing is fine, but when you stand online we often lose facial expression, gestures are hard to see, walking off camera isn't good, and your voice may drop off. FOR SPEECH EVENTS-For many, ok, most, events you must stand and that is perfectly fine. Have fun and enjoy that we are still able to keep our activity vibrant and growing. 2022 Update - I am tired of being online and I am crossing fingers we will soon return to in person speech and debate. I AM IN FAVOR of students who are finding creative ways to perform online and I am not in favor or adults making new online rules that limit creativity. (Ex: Moving toward or away from the camera for emphasis)