September: School Year Begins and World Teachers' Day (October 5th)

In September, most schools and teachers across the world kick off the new school year. The United Nations recognizes October 5th as World Teachers' Day to celebrate and honor teachers across the globe. We owe everything to our teachers who empower us, question us, support us, and inspire us. Educators are one of society's most critical careers. Indeed, I owe so much to my own teachers. Mr. Lindsey challenged me to be on my school's speech and debate team. And the rest was history as I devoted the rest of my life to speech and debate. I learned more on our school's speech and debate team than all my classes combined. And so this month we celebrate our teachers!

Topic Choice #1: Select one of your most influential teachers or educators. Why did they make such an impact on you? (You can select a classroom teacher or someone else who has helped in your education. Examples: teacher, friend, family member, parent, coach, author, someone from history). Completely up to you!

Topic Choice #2: Historical Teacher. Select a teacher, coach, instructor anytime in history who has made an impact on the world or you.


It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.

Albert Einstein

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.
– William Butler Yates

Education breeds confidence. Confidence breeds hope. Hope breeds peace.
– Confucius


Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher.
– Japanese Proverb

If we expect students to be winners and expect them to do well, they will rise to the occasion. - Jaime Escalante

Deadline: September 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. Please review our guidelines before you submit your speech. Students can participate in both Tournaments 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 Tournaments of Original Oratory and Speechwriting. 


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! 

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!

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

* 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