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.
The tournament director is Scott Waldrop, director of forensics at Hattiesburg High School and the former Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) Coordinator for Speech and Debate. The previous tournament director, Randy Patterson, who retired from St. Andrews Episcopal School, also helps organize the tournament each year.
This tournament attracts students from Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee. The most recent tournament was held on September 16-17, 2016 on the campus of Mississippi State University.
Register on-line at: www.joyoftournaments.com
For more information, call the Stennis Center for Public Service at (662)325-8409 or
email Shane Cole of Oak Grove High School at firstname.lastname@example.org.