RIPON, Wis. (June 6, 2013) – The National Forensic League, the speech and debate honor society for students, announces the 2013 Lincoln Financial Group/National Forensic League National Speech & Debate Tournament. The world’s largest academic competition will be held June 16–21 in Birmingham, Ala.

“The National Tournament is an opportunity to bring together middle and high school students from across the country and showcase their speech and debate talents,” said Executive Director of the National Forensic League, J. Scott Wunn. “Students put in hours of hard work throughout the school year to qualify, and competing in the Tournament is the culmination of their dedicated efforts.”

The Tournament marks the capstone of high school speech and debate activities for nearly 120,000 students around the nation. This year, more than 3,000 high school students from 967 high schools and more than 700 middle school students from 91 schools will participate in the Tournament, in addition to students from 20 international schools located in countries such as China and Korea.

To attend, students must place among the top competitors at one of 109 District Tournaments. Qualifiers compete for $200,000 worth of college scholarships in one of 11 main events—Policy Debate, Lincoln-Douglas Debate, Public Forum Debate, Congressional Debate-House, Congressional Debate-Senate, Original Oratory, United States Extemporaneous Speaking, International Extemporaneous Speaking, Humorous Interpretation, Dramatic Interpretation, and Duo Interpretation—as well as seven consolation and supplemental events.

Rounds will be judged by blue ribbon panels that feature: Dr. Jeff Cain, president of the Arthur N. Rupe Foundation; John Cooper, Alabama director of transportation; Dr. Lawrence Korb, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress; Robert McMahon, editor for the Council on Foreign Relations;
Andrew Toftey, vice president and general counsel for U.S. Bancorp; and Stephan Turnipseed, president of LEGO Education North America.

“The Tournament unites students from diverse backgrounds under the common banner of speech and debate,” said Cherian Koshy, assistant National Tournament director and director of development for the National Forensic League. “It’s rare to see so many students gather in one place to express their passion for the same activity.”

The National Forensic League will also recognize the Honorable Terri A. Sewell, congresswoman for Alabama’s 7th District, who will be in attendance to accept the Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition, the late William Woods Tate, Jr., her former debate coach, will be honored posthumously with the Brother Gregory “René” Sterner Lifetime Service Award.

The National Forensic League has held the National Speech & Debate Tournament continuously since 1931 (except during World War II). Events and rules have changed with the growth of the League, but the League’s commitment to honoring the best competitors in the world has remained constant. For more information about the Tournament, visit

About the National Forensic League
The National Forensic League is the honor society for middle and high school speech and debate. The nonprofit organization recognizes participation and progress in public speaking and debating activities as a means to meet the Common Core State Standards in listening, speaking, reading and writing. The League empowers students to become effective communicators, ethical individuals, critical thinkers, and leaders in our democratic society. Since 1925, more than 1.4 million students have participated in the League, with more than 120,000 active members representing nearly 3,000 schools. The League awards more than $200,000 in college scholarships at its annual National Tournament, the largest academic competition in the world.

Media Contacts
• Vicki Pape, National Forensic League, 920-748-6206,
• Emily Embury, C. Blohm & Associates, 608-216-7300 x19,

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