Poly Speech and Debate

Poly Speech and Debate is committed to training effective and passionate advocates who know how to stand for what's right. With the beginning of Virtual Poly, our program has remained committed to that goal, offering a number of different ways that students can learn skills to become a more persuasive debater. While current circumstances seem daunting, the debate community’s practice of tackling global problems has fostered a spirit of resilience. This has led to the development of entirely virtual speech and debate experiences and tournaments.

Accomplishments: Since the beginning of Virtual Poly Speech and Debate

  • Claudia ‘22 and Abby ‘21 went 6-0 and were the top seed of the Georgetown Spring Tournament.

  • Jonah ‘23 and Niko ‘23 made quarterfinals at the National Tournament of Champions.

  • Three Poly qualifying teams competed at the National Tournament of Champions with an overall winning record. TOC was the first ever virtual national championship with over 1,100 students from 300 schools across 37 states and 4 countries competing in this four day event.

Speech and Debate is one of the most rewarding activities a student can be a part of in Middle and Upper School. No matter what level of achievement a student experiences, they will learn to develop essential skills of critical thinking, research, and public speaking and performance. Learning through trial and error, the path to becoming a successful debater or speech student teaches the value of working hard through adversity.

Middle School:

We host two virtual practices a week divided by grade and experience. Students have the opportunity to learn from coaches and staff about current debate resolutions in preparation for virtual debate rounds and tournaments. During practices, students also collaborate with high school mentors on arguments and speaking skills. Our current debate topic is about reducing the United States’ international military presence. After this topic, middle schoolers will end the year learning about and competing in different events offered by the speech community.

Upper School:

Students have been competing virtually since our return from spring break in a number of tournaments. Students and coaches have collaborated to produce hundreds of pages of evidence and cases related to our topic concerning the United States military presence in the Persian Gulf. Having qualified 3 teams to the Tournament of Champions, Poly competed in the first ever virtual national championship. Over 1,100 students from 300 schools across 37 states and 4 countries competed in this 4 day event. Poly reached the quarterfinals, continuing our streak of a quarterfinals appearance in 4 of the last 5 years.

While Public Forum is an activity centered around an in depth analysis of government and public policy, and is what most of our students compete in, we are growing our Lincoln Douglas and Congress teams as well. Lincoln Douglas approaches questions of policy through a moral lens to discuss philosophical and ethical questions. Current students are taking a class, race, and gender-based approach to this scholarship. Congress provides the opportunity to role play as policy makers. Students draft bills, propose resolutions, and debate legislation culminating in a vote for or against the law.

Virtual Poly Speech and Debate Schedule:

Middle School Practice:

  • 5th and 6th graders – Monday 3-4

  • 7th and 8th graders – Tuesday 3-4

High School Practice:

  • Public Forum and Lincoln Douglas– Wednesday 2-4

  • Congress – Thursday 2-3

  • Melanin Minds Club – 2:45 - 4

Our Facebook page follows the team’s tournament success and stories:


For more information please email Mr. Fitzgerald efitzgerald@polyprep.org and Ms. White jwhite@polyprep.org.