Judges & Students: What to Expect at Tournaments

  • Judges & Students: What to Expect at Tournaments

    Welcome to the Cold Spring Harbor High School Speech and Debate Program!  Without the enormous and generous support of CSH parents, our team would not have become a regionally and nationally-recognized team of about 100 participants. 

    Several items will help you to help your child and the rest of the team to succeed. 

    1) Judging

    Many parents new to Speech and Debate are understandably a bit reluctant to judge at tournaments.  Please feel assured that you are fully qualified.  The vast majority of judges at any tournament are parent volunteers.  As one judge is required to register every one or two competitors, we typically need about ten to fifteen judges per tournament!  After our team's coach confirms the registration of our judges and students, a league official will explain how to judge before most tournaments begin so that all of the judges from the various schools at tournaments receive consistent instructions. 

    We, the CSH Speech and Debate coaches, ask that each family commit to judging at least one tournament (or more if your son or daughter is a frequent participant). 

    Please realize that when your son or daughter signs you up as a judge in the week before a particular tournament that you usually become irreplaceable.  We need you to judge the whole day; judges cannot be found to substitute for you and are not considered interchangeable during the day.  Of course, true emergencies do occur; but if you cancel, the league may have to drop some of our participants from the competition. 

    Typically, we ask you to follow our school bus to the tournament site; if you are late to a tournament site, we cannot register, the tournament's commencement is delayed, and we risk having to drop students from the competition.  We usually leave the high school between 7:00 and 7:15 A.M. and return anywhere from 5-8 p.m., usually on the earlier end. 

    If a student's attendance is required at an event that evening, then the student should not sign up for that tournament; students who sign up for a tournament are expected to compete for the entire tournament.  (Please see this year's Cold Spring Harbor H.S. Speech and Debate Team tournament schedule posted on this website or check with the team coach for the latest details.)   

    Please bring reading material for "down-time" before and between rounds.  Turning in your ballot promptly after each round is finished will help to speed the day along; however, all judges must turn in their ballots before some subsequent rounds and awards can be computed. 

    If your son or daughter qualifies for the State and/or National Championships, he/she may need what the league calls "a qualified judge" at the Championship tournament(s), i.e. a judge who has judged at least two Debate tournaments if your child qualifies in Debate or at least two Speech tournaments if your child qualifies in Speech.  Please do not wait until late in the season to obtain some judging experience Our need for judges fluctuates depending upon how many students register for a particular tournament.  (Typically, league requirements are one judge for the first debater and then one judge for every two debaters thereafter.  We need about a dozen parent judges at most tournaments.)   

    2) Dress Code

    While student competitors are expected to adhere to the Speech and Debate Team dress code of modest, standard business dress (including jackets, ties, and dress slacks for gentlemen; dresses, suit outfits, or skirts which are at least knee-length for ladies; dress shoes for both ladies and gentlemen; no jeans, sneakers, flip-flops, etc.), judges may dress more casually.  (A good rule of thumb for students is that they should try to dress like an attorney who is arguing a case in court.)

    3) Student transportation to and from tournaments

    Team members are expected to ride both to and from the tournament site and the high school in the school bus with the rest of the team.  Whether they win or lose, it's good for team spirit. 

    Although we encourage all to stay for the awards assembly at the end of tournaments, parents who are judging that day may take their children home directly from the tournament site, if they wish, provided that:  (1) the entire competition is over; (2) the coach is given a signed and dated note beforehand saying that they are doing so; and (3) one of the coaches has seen the parent actually leave with the child from the tournament site.  (Students should not just leave the tournament site simply because they submitted a note earlier.) 

    We cannot have parents who are not judging that day arrange to pick up their child from the tournament site because we cannot predict when tournaments will end and we cannot delay the departure of the whole team to wait for a parent to arrive at the tournament site. 

    We cannot allow your son or daughter to be transported away from a tournament site by another parent, relative, or friend, regardless of outside personal commitments.  If a child must leave a tournament site early and cannot be picked up by his/her own parent, then that child should not compete that day. 

    In exceptional circumstances, a high school senior with driving privileges may, with the prior permission of the head coach and a previously submitted written, signed, and dated note granting permission from his/her parent, drive him/herself to and/or from a tournament, but may NOT drive another student(s), regardless of the circumstances. 

    Please be aware that the district provides no insurance for any private transportation and bears no responsibility for accidents involving private vehicles

    Ballots indicating how students performed at the tournament will be distributed on the bus ride back to school.  Students who do not go back to the high school on the team bus will have to wait until Monday to receive their ballots; it is not fair to keep the entire team waiting to go home in order to distribute ballots. 

    On days in which your child competes at a tournament, please have someone home after 4 P.M. and available to receive a phone call from your child when we finish the tournament so that you are ready to pick up your child from the high school upon his/her return.  If you are not available to pick up your child, your child may not be allowed to compete at future tournaments. 

    4) Food and drink at tournaments

    Typically, continental breakfast and lunch are provided for judges.  (Students should bring their own snacks, food, and drinks as league/tournament fees do not cover student meals.  Some schools also sell food to students.  Students should be sure to clean up after themselves and to represent their school well at all times.)   

    5) Qualifying for the State Championships

    While several students may receive trophies for their performance, the student(s) who as the highest ranking (or one of the highest rankings) at a particular tournament can earn what is called "a half-qualification" (in addition to a trophy).  Earning two "half-qualifications" in the same event qualifies a student for competition in the State Championships.  (There are also State Qualifying tournaments in the Spring - after the Fall course is over - at which students may be able to earn "a full qualification" for the State Championships at a single tournament.) 

    6) Questions?

    Please do not hesitate to contact the coaches if you have any questions.  The email for the Head Coach, Dr. Michael Andrews, is mandrews@csh.k12.ny.us