140 students from 17 high schools in Mississippi gathered at Mississippi State University in Starkville ,MS, September 7-8, 2018, for the 24th Annual Stennis Novice Speech & Debate Tournament.

Recognizing the value of high school debate in preparing tomorrow’s leaders, the Stennis Center in 1995 established the John C. Stennis Novice Speech and Debate Tournament at Mississippi State University. The unique feature of the competition is that its focus is on high school students who are just beginning to compete in speech and debate. For many participants, this tournament is their first debate experience.

The Stennis Center sponsors the Stennis Novice Speech and Debate Tournament because it develops leadership skills in young people and introduces them to the value of public service.

The tournament began in 1995 with the help of Betty Whitlock, formerly of Clinton High School, and the late Billy Tate, a teacher at Nashville’s Montgomery Bell Academy and who was also the president of the National Speech and Debate Association. Their vision was to provide an opportunity for new students in speech and debate to compete with each other before taking on more accomplished competitors.



Schools competing in the 2018 tournament were:

School City State
Columbia High School Columbia MS
Desoto Central Southaven MS
Germantown High School Madison MS
Hernando High School Hernando MS
Jackson Academy Jackson MS
Laurel Christian School Laurel MS
Madison Central High School Madison MS
Mars Hill Bible School Florence AL
Murrah High School Jackson MS
Northwest Rankin High School Flowood MS
Oak Grove High School Hattiesburg MS
Olive Branch High School Olive Branch MS
Oxford High School Oxford MS
Presbyterian Christian School Hattiesburg MS
Sacred Heart Catholic School Hattiesburg MS
St. Andrew’s Episcopal School Ridgeland MS
Starkville High School Starkville MS


Official results of the tournament can be viewed here.