Student Speech & Debate

John C. Stennis National Student Congress

With each new Congress, the entire United States House of Representatives and one-third of the United States Senate take the oath of office. The same oath of office is administered each year to more than 600 high school students from across the country at the annual John C. Stennis National Student Congress competition. The Stennis Center for Public Service has sponsored National Student Congress since 1991 as part of the National Speech & Debate Association’s National Tournament. The country’s top high school debaters assemble every June to compete for the honor of the nation’s best.

John C. Stennis Novice Speech and Debate Tournament

The Stennis Center for Public Service’s annual John C. Stennis Novice Speech and Debate Tournament at Mississippi State University recognizes the value of high school debate and helps prepare future public service leaders. The tournament, established in 1995, focuses on high school students who are new to speech and debate competition. For many participants, the tournament is their first debate experience. It attracts students from Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee.

The Stennis Center sponsors the Stennis Novice Speech and Debate Tournament because it develops useful skills and civic awareness in young people as well as introduces them to the value of public service. Betty Whitlock and Billy Tate first organized the tournament. 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.

Cowbell Classic

Mississippi State University’s annual Cowbell Classic is a varsity tournament that offers speech and debate events for the National Speech and Debate Association and Mississippi High School Activities Association. The tournament, established in 2017, attracts students from 25 high schools across Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee. The Stennis Center for Public Service sponsors the tournament, which consists of several speech and debate events as well as Student Congress.

One Research Boulevard, Suite 104, Starkville, MS 39759

(662) 325-8409 • Fax (662) 325-8623

201 Massachusetts Avenue, NE, Suite C-7, Washington, DC 20002 

(202) 546-1837 • Fax (202) 546-3841

One Research Boulevard, Suite 104, Starkville, MS 39759

(662) 325-8409 • Fax (662) 325-8623

201 Mass. Avenue, NE, Suite C-7, Washington, DC 20002 

(202) 546-1837 • Fax (202) 546-3841