Speech and Debate

The Quarry Lane Speech and Debate program has become one of the largest programs at Quarry Lane, including students from 7th grade up to 12th grade. From 7th grade, students begin learning the fundamentals of public speaking before branching out into many different categories of competitive speech and debate that they will focus on in local, state, and national tournaments. Each student chooses their speech or debate category based on their own interests and expertise, giving them the opportunity to grow as speakers as well as experts in topics that are intrinsically rewarding.

Since 2015, the Cougars have maintained their rank as the No. 1 Bay Area small school in Public Forum debate. Quarry Lane students have also advanced to the California State Championship, the National Catholic Forensic League Championship, the National Tournament of Champions, and the National Speech and Debate Association tournaments. This year, our first-time speakers have already brought home first place prizes, and our experienced debaters have advanced to elimination rounds in multiple national tournaments.

Quarry Lane Speech and Debate Record


Year Tournaments States Students  Entries National Rank
2012-13 1 1 7 4 677th
2013-14 1 1 10 6 692nd
2014-15 2 1 15 11 811th
2015-16 10 4 53 66 460th
2016-17 19 9 40 102 402nd
2017-18 30 12 59 132 399th
2018-19 37 13 73 247 228th
2019-20 37 9 86 355 133rd (5th in CA)




What is Speech and Debate?

Speech and Debate is a team and individual sport that collectively includes public speaking, philosophy, current events, and literary/dramatic performance. These activities teach students to work collaboratively, build confidence, improve reasoning, research and organizational skills, and enhance presentational techniques.

Speech and Debate FormatsSpeech Formats:

  • Duo Interpretation
  • Extemporaneous
  • Speaking
  • Humorous Interpretation
  • Impromptu Speaking
  • Oral Interpretation
  • Oratory
  • Original Prose & Poetry
  • Thematic Interpretation

Debate Formats:

  • Public Forum
    • Opposing teams of two, debating a topic concerning a current event
  • Lincoln-Douglas
    • One-on-one format with pre-researched topics
  • Parliamentary Debate
    • Specified topic with limited preparation time
  • Congressional Debate
    • Simulation of US legislative process with bills/resolution

How Has Speech and Debate helped our Students?

  • Gain confidence in front of an audience
  • Become a polished public speaker
  • Organize your ideas effectively
  • Develop creativity & critical thinking skills
  • Meet students from across the nation
  • Think quickly and speak clearly