Earth Day (April 22nd) Speech Tournament

Begins April 1st! Due April 30th!

April 22nd is Earth Day. We come together to celebrate the environment.  First celebrated in 1970, Earth Day includes events in over 190 nations and is coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network. Click here to learn more about Earth Day.  In our annual Earth Day Speech Invitational, students have until April 30th to submit their speeches on the topic of "What does Earth Day Mean to You." Indeed, the world is turning to youth like you to lead the way on environmental reform. Students like Greta Thunberg are now our environmental leaders. So stand up and share with us your views on Earth Day!

Topic: What does Earth Day Mean to You?

"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” —Albert Einstein

“The good man is the friend of all living things.” —Gandhi

“A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.” —Franklin D. Roosevelt


“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together … all things connect.” —Chief Seattle

“I only feel angry when I see waste. When I see people throwing away things we could use.” —Mother Teresa

"We children are doing this to wake the adults up. We children are doing this for you to put your differences aside and start acting as you would in a crisis. We children are doing this because we want our hopes and dreams back." - Greta Thunberg

Deadline: April 30th

Each of our tournaments will kick off on the 1st of each month and end on the last day of each month. Students have a month to prepare and submit a speech. Please submit all entries by the end of day. Unfortunately, we cannot accept late entries for fairness to all participants. 

Original Oratory Tournament

Students record and submit a 1-5 minute video speech delivering an original speech on the monthly topic. Students can participate in both events of Original Oratory and Speechwriting. 

Speechwriting Tournament

Students submit a written speech on the monthly topic. Elementary students should submit a 200-500 word count speech. Middle School, High School and College should submit a 500-1000 word count speech. Students can participate in both events of Original Oratory and Speechwriting. 


Announcement Date:  All submissions are reviewed by multiple panels of judges. Results are announced about two weeks after the tournament closes on the 15th of each month.  Awards are announced and feedback packets are emailed to all participants.  

Everyone is a Winner: The #1 fear of the majority of adults is public speaking. So whether you participate in one of our tournaments, or our tournaments every month - you are already a winner and developing lifelong skills. Public Speaking is one of the most powerful superpowers in the world that will benefit you in whatever you do. 

Certificates of Participation: Online Certificates of Participation for all students.

Medals, Ribbons, Trophies. Ribbons, Medals and Trophies are awarded and mailed to the top winners of each division. Divisions include: Elementary School Division, Middle School Division, High School Division, and Collegiate Division. *Please note because of the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine rules, we estimate we will be mailing out awards this summer (July/August). *

School Sweepstakes Awards: Trophies and/or medals are awarded to the schools with the most entries.  The First Place School in addition to their Sweepstakes Award will win a $100 Pizza Party Gift for their Great Debaters and Teachers!

Expert Judge Feedback.  After each monthly tournament, submissions are evaluated by our panels of judges. Each student is sent a comprehensive feedback packet. 

Public Showcase. Top awardees will be featured on our website, social media, and e-newsletters.

College Applications, Career Resumes. This is a great program and organization to add to your college and graduate school applications. Also a great program to add to your resume. 

Volunteer & Service Opportunities. All participating students can eventually serve as judges as well as volunteers with the Great Debaters Online program. 

* Please note that because this is a free program, we reserve the right at any time to change or cancel any events, awards, certificates. If the number of entries exceeds our volunteer and judge capacity, we reserve the right to limit the number of entries. Additionally, we are not responsible for any lost awards, ribbons, medals, trophies, gift cards, etc. Please understand as a free program managed by volunteers, we reserve the right at anytime to change or cancel any part of our program. And please share with us any feedback so that we can improve our program.

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2020 NYC Elementary School Speech & Debate League