Hello Debaters and Coaches,

I am Carissa Stevens- alternative education and at-risk teacher with the Kenosha Unified School District. I debated Lincoln Douglas and Policy for Appleton West from 2007-2010. While there, I also participated in Oratory in the forensics season. Unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to participate in debate in college, but stayed active in the community through judging. Last year, I coached Novice Policy and Lincoln Douglas at Nicolet High School in Glendale, WI. This year I do not coach, but remain as an occasional judge for Appleton West and Appleton North.

The purpose of the speeches is to make clear and concise arguments that uphold the value and value criterion. Thus, using your speech to persuade the judge that you best uphold your value through your contentions is a must! In addition, while evidence is valuable, the most important part of the speech is to warrant your claims. Therefore, your speech should not just be evidence or straight analytics, but rather a synthesis of both to support the value and value criterion.

During the debate, I am fine with debaters spreading/speed reading as long as it is within reason and is not used abusively. If the arguments are lost during the spreading, then it will bear no impact onto the flow. In addition, if the rate off communication is not understandable, I will say ”clear” to give the debater an opportunity to clarify their rate and diction. However, I will only make this signal twice; two times I will no longer flow the speech as long as it is not understandable.

I find that cross examination is a time to gain clarification and understand the opponent’s arguments. It should not be used to read more evidence by those being examined or for the examiner to laundry list questions or overly interrupt, or attempt to talk over an answer out of reason. This type of cross examination lacks courtesy and class and may be deducted from speaker points. However strong and proper use of cross examination may also be noted in final speaker points.

With a Tabula Rasa philosophy, I firmly believe that both debaters share a burden of proof and responsibility to fully explain their case. In order to win, a debater must prove that they best uphold the value and value criterion through their analysis and evidence. This may also be done by disproving the opponent’s case and impacting those arguments back to your own.

Best of Luck in your tournament,
Carissa Stevens