SPEECH & DEBATE
The challenges of the 21st century demand the development of critical reasoning and communication skills. The Jesuit tradition has been committed to such development for centuries. This is one of the reasons that Strake Jesuit supports the largest speech and debate program of any private school in the Houston area. Currently over fifty students in all grade levels are members of the SJ debate team. Strake Jesuit competes in sixteen to twenty tournaments per year. Every year the Jesuit debate team competes in each of the following prestigious national tournaments: the Greenhill Classic held in Dallas every September; the St. Marks Heart of Texas invitational, held in Dallas in October; the Silver and Gold Tournament held in Salt Lake City, Utah every December; the Westside Forensics Tournament held in Omaha, Nebraska in January; and the Harvard University Invitational, held in Cambridge, Massachusetts in February. Additionally, the team regularly qualifies students to compete in the Texas Forensic Association state tournament, the Catholic National tournament, and the National Forensics League national tournament held at different locations every year.
Strake Jesuit is a member of the National Forensic League (NFL), which is a distinguished society represented in over 2700 high schools in the United States; the Catholic National Forensic League(CNFL), which has expanded the possibilities for competition at the national level; and the Texas Forensic Association (TFA), which includes the best public and private schools in the state of Texas. Every year the TFA holds a state-wide tournament in March. Additionally, beginning with the 2001/2002 school year, SJ began competing in Tournament of Champions (TOC) qualifying tournaments. TOC is the national circuit for high school debate and is considered in debate circles to be the "best of the best" debaters in the country from both public and private schools. In order for a debater to qualify to compete in the Tournament of Champions held every year in May at the University of Kentucky, a student must compete and win at least two TOC qualifying tournaments.
Each summer the SJ debate team attends debate camp for two weeks in June and one week in July. The camps are paid for by the students and attended and supervised by one of the debate team coaches. During the summer of 2002 nine SJ debaters attended the two week Victory Briefs camp held at UCLA with Coach Murvin Auzenne. Also in 2002, seven SJ debaters attended the Cameron University one week camp in July with Coaches Auzenne and Crist and former SJ debater Brian Carl (‘01). During the Summer of 2003 SJ coaches will be transporting and chaperoning team members to a two week debate camp at the University of Texas in Austin and the Cameron University camp in Oklahoma.
Strake Jesuit competes in the University Interscholastic League (UIL) as a 5A debate team. The team maintains it’s rigorous TFA and TOC schedule while adding competition in the Spring in the UIL.