Program Update: 2020 Stennis Novice Speech and Debate Tournament Goes Virtual

Hundreds of students from 17 high schools across Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Oklahoma gathered for a virtual tournament on October 2-3, 2020, for the 25th Annual Stennis Novice Speech and Debate Tournament through, a project of the National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA).

In 1995, the Stennis Center for Public Service established the Stennis Novice Speech and Debate Tournament at Mississippi State University. The competition’s unique feature is that its focus is on high school students who are new to compete in speech and debate. The tournament is one of the many speech and debate activities that help develop students’ leadership skills and introduce them to the value of public service.

The tournament began with the help of Betty Whitlock, formerly of Clinton High School in Clinton, Mississippi, and Billy Tate, formerly of Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville, Tennessee, who also served as president of NSDA. Their vision was to allow new students in speech and debate an opportunity to compete with each other before they take on more accomplished competitors.

The Stennis Center would like to thank the 2020 Tournament Director, Scott Waldrop, and Rachel Clapper, Shane Cole, and Micah Everson for their work throughout the tournament.

Schools who competed in the 2020 tournament were:

Austin East Magnet High School, Tennessee
Belen Jesuit Preparatory School, Florida
Bixby High School, Oklahoma
Desoto Central High School, Mississippi
Hattiesburg High School, Mississippi
Jackson Preparatory School, Mississippi
Laurel Christian High School, Mississippi
Madison Central High School, Mississippi
Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science, Mississippi
Murrah High School, Mississippi
Northwest Rankin High School, Mississippi
Oak Grove High School, Mississippi
Oxford High School, Mississippi
Pascagoula High School, Mississippi
Ridgeland High School, Mississippi
Starkville High School, Mississippi
St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, Mississippi

The official results of the tournament can be viewed here.

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