What We Do

We compete in four different styles of debate and three different types of speech events. The debate events are Lincoln-Douglas Debate, Public Forum Debate, Policy Debate, and Congressional Debate; the speech areas are Interpretation, Platform Speaking, and Limited Preparation Events.


Lincoln-Douglas debate, or LD, is one-on-one debate. Topics range from animal rights to universal healthcare to Constitutional questions. The topics, also called resolutions, change every two months.

Public Forum debate, or PF, is two-on-two debate. Debaters work with a partner to debate topics ranging from tax policy to Middle Eastern policy to climate change. The resolutions change every month. 

Policy Debate, often just called Policy, is also a partnered (two-on-two) event. Teams debate a single proposition throughout the entire year, exploring a variety of policy options on the issue. This year's topic is Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its non-military exploration and/or development of the Earth's oceans.

Congressional Debate, often just called Congress, is modeled after the US Congress. Students participate in a chamber of 18-20 students, debating bills and resolutions that they have written themselves. 


In Interpretation Events (Humorous Interp, Dramatic Interp, Prose, Poetry, Duo Interp, Humorous Duet Acting, Dramatic Duet Acting), students select a piece of literature to perform or interpret, then edit their script down to a set time limit, and perform the piece either by themselves or with a partner.  

In Platform Speaking Events (Oratory, Declamation, Informative Speaking, Special Occasion Speaking), students select a topic or pre-written speech that interests them. Then they write, revise, memorize, and perform that speech throughout the year.

In Limited Preparation Events (Extemporaneous Speaking, Impromptu Speaking, and Radio Speaking), students are given a question, prompt, or unedited script, and given a limited amount of time to prepare a speech in response.  

We participate in tournaments around the Chicagoland area, as well as across the region and even the country. See the map below for some of the places we travel to.

Some of our varsity members compete from September through June, though the bulk of our season occurs between October and March. There is no minimum number of tournaments a student must participate in; we help students find a competitive schedule that works for them. 
Students typically come to one or two practices a week after school in N-128. Our coaching staff has broad availability, and we work to ensure every student can find a practice schedule that works for them. 

Cities that the ETHS Debate Team travels to for competition