Team Standards & Policies


Ethics & Behavior

Students involved in the MSJHS Speech and Debate Team are to uphold the highest ethical standards, both in the classroom and in competition. Unethical behavior by one person often reflects upon the entire group. A good reputation is difficult to earn and easy to lose. Good character is the most important thing we teach.  We must be respectful, non-disruptive, non-defiant, and kind to all involved in our activity: coaches, students, other schools, judges, drivers, chaperones, etc. Use appropriate language. Obey & respect the spirit of all rules as a part of team functionality. Remain positive with your words, your tone of voice, and your body language. Both attitude and behavior should reflect good character.  Members of the MSJHS Speech and Debate Team should conduct themselves in a professional, mature manner at all times. Any problems that arise should be taken directly to the coach.

Pursuit of Excellence

Hard work and self-discipline are essential to success.  Talent is no substitute for dedication to a task. Start by being prepared every week for and at tournaments with scripts, proper attire, etc. The only way to reach your potential is to continually strive to do your best.  You will never be asked to give more than your best but anything short of that will be challenged.

Team Unity

Unity is an essential component of the MSJHS Speech and Debate Team. In order to function as a team, we must all accept and work with other members. Please respect the property of the coach and other members of the team, such as binders, laptops, supplies, research, etc. Arrogance and ingratitude will not be tolerated. Remember to thank the coaches, teachers, and parents who give of their own time and resources for the program. Remember to thank squad members who go above and beyond what is asked of them.  Positive and constructive communication is essential. Individuals should restrain from bad-mouthing their fellow team members, especially to members of other programs. Upperclassmen should be willing to share their expertise and experience with the younger squad members.

Good Sportsmanship

Winning is fun and your coach and teammates recognize this. However, students should constantly learn from mistakes. MSJHS Speech and Debate Team members will accept judge criticism graciously, always looking on it as a chance to improve. Good sportsmanship will be demonstrated at all times, both in the competition room and out, as well as online.



While the majority of the work lies on the students, the fact is that this team can’t run without parent involvement.  We typically ask parents to help with transportation to and from tournaments, as well as judging at those tournaments. This commitment is usually no more than one weekend a month, and really helps show your students that you’re invested in the activities they care about.

In order to keep costs low, tournaments rely on parents to help as judges. Don't worry if you've never judged before—it's generally no more difficult than watching a play or public address, and you'll be given instructions before each tournament (also free food). If you have any concerns, please check out our page on Judge Training or contact the coach.

Students are required to sign up with a parent or other adult to judge at all local tournaments. Judges will not necessarily be required to judge at a given tournament, but must be available to do so. It is expected that parents will judge at least once for every two to three tournaments their child attends. We will endeavor to share judging obligations as evenly as possible. Additionally, for away tournaments, all judges registered must also be cleared by the school district as chaperones (See for more info about this process.



  1. Payment of fees:
    1. Students may turn in fees to a treasurer or coach at any time. These will be credited to their account and can be used to pay for any future tournament.
    2. All registration must be done online through the team website. There must be sufficient funds in the student's account before the website will allow their registration to proceed.
      1. For partner events, both partners must have sufficient balance to cover their portion of the fees.
      2. For away tournaments, only the registration fee must be paid in advance. Once final arrangements are made, travel costs will be applied to the student's account.
      3. Any outstanding penalty and/or travel fees must be paid before future registrations will be available.
    3. The current account of all fees owed and paid will always be available online. You may view this at any time by logging in to the team website and checking your Balance & Payment History page.
  2. Drops/Changes and Refunds:
    1. All fees are legally considered donations. As such, we are unable to refund any money turned in to the school.
    2. At the end of the year, any unused funds in a student's account will be carried over to the next year. Upon graduation, any unused funds will be considered donations to the school.
    3. Unless otherwise notified, students may drop or change their event for free before the drop deadline published on the tournament registration page. Drops or changes after this deadline may only be done by contacting thier coach.
  3. Penalty Fees:
    1. Late drops: Students who drop after the published drop deadline, or who fail to attend the tournament, will be charged a late drop fee, in addition to their regular entry fee.
      1. Late drop fees are a minimum of $25 ($50 for debate events) or the tournament's drop fee, whichever is higher. This amount will be clearly disclosed at registration, and is charged per entry.
      2. Students who drop from an away tournament after the drop deadline will also be required to pay their share of the travel costs.
      3. In many cases, students may avoid paying drop fees if they find another student willing to take their place (in the same event). The coach must be notified of this change prior to the start of the tournament, and any such changes must be made at least two days before the tournament start date (or two weeks for away tournaments).
    2. Late registration: If available, registrations after the publised registration deadline will be subject to the drop fee (listed above in 6.1).
    3. No judge fee: Students who sign up without a judge will be charged an additional fee, proportional to the tournament's judge hiring fee. This amount will be a minimum of $25 ($50 for debate events) per entry.
    4. Missed ballot fee: Judges who fail to show up for a round will be responsible for paying any fees the team incurs as a result of missing a ballot (typically $100/round).
  4. Financial Hardship
    1. We desire that all students should be able to participate in tournament competition. We also know that it can be expensive and not all are capable of paying tournament entry fees. In the event that a student is unable to pay fees for a tournament, we encourage that student and their parent to speak with the coach to see what alternate arrangements can be met.


Last updated 3 September 2019