About Us



                 MEYERS SPEECH & DEBATE  2016-17


The Meyers Speech & Debate team is open to all Meyers students because it is the belief of the team that everyone can benefit from experience in forensics. The team participates in a wide variety of forensic events and activities throughout the year. What follows is a description of how the team operates, which, along with our Mission Statement, explains the principles upon which the team is based.




Because none of the coaches work at Meyers, information about the team cannot be easily transferred there. We can't pull you out of class and you can't drop in on us in our classrooms. Intercom announcements are not usually practical for us. Therefore, we rely on our website

(www.meyersspeechanddebate.com) postcards, e-mail, Twitter and the phone. It is very important that you keep us informed of your current and correct address, telephone number and your e-mail address, if you have one. You can reach us, Ruth and Kim Borland, at our address (71 West River Street, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702); our phone (822-3311 days and 357-4860 and 357-5334 evenings and weekends); and, at our email addresses (kborland@borlandandborland.com and rborland@borlandandborland.com). Our cell phones have voice mail and we ask that you leave detailed messages when you call. If you go a period of time without hearing from us, that may mean that our communications to you have been misdirected and you should get in touch with us. Our Twitter account is @MeyersDebate.    




There are many varied speech & debate events and we encourage our members to find forensic events that suit them. The primary emphasis in forensics is upon development of public speaking ability. Members who wish to compete in a partnered speech event must also be prepared in an individual event so that a partner's unavailability will not prevent the member from competing at a tournament. Because it is a good learning experience and because often there are only limited slots for each event at tournaments, each member, once past the beginning stage, is encouraged to be prepared to compete in more than one event.                



Practices will normally be held each Monday and Thursday during the school year at Meyers, beginning at 7pm and ending at 9pm, except during November and December, when there will be no regularly scheduled Thursday practices. Practices and practice schedule changes will be noticed by postcard, Twitter, the web-site and e-mail. If you have any question about the timing or location of practices, get in touch with us. Should you have transportation problems regarding practice, let us know and we will try to help. The coaches will schedule times to work with you alone to make up missed practice opportunities, when convenient.

Practices are for the purpose of skill development, performance and feedback from the coaches. However, we expect you to be practicing and working on your events between practices. If you are not prepared for practice with the assignments you have been given, you may not be coached at practice and may be excused from it. Practice is not the time or the place to search for material to perform or to do research generally. At practices you should be either performing your material in a room or serving as a critical audience as other members are performing their material in a room. It is expected that you will be present for the entire practice period. If you have a special circumstance, let the Borlands know and we will try to schedule you accordingly.        



We compete at tournaments at different places and at different levels of skill throughout the year. Some tournaments require competitors to have qualified by having successfully competed at some earlier, qualifying tournament. Others have only a limited number of slots a school may register. Therefore, which members will be invited to compete at which tournaments in which events will necessarily be a decision made by the coaches based upon the level of preparation and performance demonstrated by the various members who want to compete. To be considered to compete at a tournament, you must complete the tournament registration request form for that tournament. You will be eligible to be registered to compete at a tournament only if you were ready to compete in your event, in the opinion of the coaches, at the time we registered for the tournament. Even then opportunities to compete at any tournament are not automatic and will be based upon the discretion of head coaches, taking into consideration the nature of the tournament and your level of preparation, skill and commitment. You must be at least a freshman to be eligible to compete at a tournament involving overnight travel. With respect to competition at overnight fravel tournaments, we expect the highest level of preparation and commitment, which means regular participation at practices and non-travel tournaments, which level must be maintained between time of registration and time of competition. In particular, those who compete at overnight travel tournaments are expected to compete at league and qualifier tournaments. All members are expected to compete at the tournament we host, the Dr. Martin Luther King Open, third Saturday of each January.

Tournaments are almost always on Saturdays. Most tournaments begin around 8 am and many require significant travel, such as to Philadelphia, so you need to be prepared to be up and at it early in the morning. These also are all day events and, depending on travel, you may not be returning until very late Saturday evening. Registrations for some tournaments are made as long as months in advance, but for most, registrations are made about within a week of the tournament Registration to compete at a tournarnent is binding on your part. Aside from illness, there will be no acceptable excuse for cancellation or failing to attend. Not only must the team pay an entry fee for each individual registration at most tournaments, it must also pay a penalty for every registrant who does not compete. For members who compete in the partnered events, dramatic duo and policy and public forum debate, this commitment is particularly important to your partner as well as the team in general. If you are not sure whether you will be able to compete at the time your registration commitment is expected, don't register. In particular, if you need to clear your commitment to compete at a particular tournament with your parent or parents and you haven't done so by the time your registration commitment is expected, don't register.

Your registration to compete at a qualifier is also your commitment to compete at the tournament for which the qualifier is held. Accordingly, you must not register for a qualifier, if you are unable to commit to compete, or haven't cleared with your parents your commitment to compete, at the tournament for which the qualifier is held.


Awards of Letters and Senior Honors

To recognize our most committed and outstanding members, letters are awarded annually, at the discretion of the coaches. Generally, letters are awarded to members who have achieved a minimum of 75 credit points that year pursuant to the National Forensics League, a copy of which point schedule is attached, or have competed that year in at least two thirds of the tournaments for which that member's grade was eligible, exclusive of national or state tournaments for which one must qualify. Although seventh and eighth grade members are not eligible to earn NFL points, for purpose of letter eligibility, points will be maintained. Lettering seniors who have earned NFL membership are also eligible for additional NFL honors at graduation. The grant of a letter or other award is conditioned upon being a member in good standing on the team at the end of the season and the member(s compliance with the rules of the team during the season.



Mission Statement of the Meyers Speech & Debate Team

It is the mission of the Meyers Speech & Debate Team to promote among the students of the E. L. Meyers Junior/Senior High School the development of oral communications skills; critical thinking; appreciation of literature and the spoken word; performance of the spoken word; argumentation; understanding and appreciation of civics and public affairs; and, respect and appreciation for the beliefs, opinions and talents of others.

We believe that this mission is best accomplished by encouraging all students at Meyers to participate in a program which includes speech and debate competition with students from other places and to observe and participate in variety of dramatic and public affairs speech and debate activities.

We believe that for an individual student to realize the benefit of this program, the student needs to work toward the improvement of his or her talents with regard to oral communication performance, critical thinking and argumentation by practice; observation; and, the making and receiving of thoughtful and considerate criticism.



NFL Membership and Degrees

                                  Points                                 Certificate Diploma            Insignia

Degree                 Required                Fee            Seal           Seal    Votes      Jewels                        

Merit........................   .25       $10.00      White         None           1           None

Honor...................... . .75        None*      Bronze      Bronze       2           Emerald 

Excellence..............  ..150        None*       Silver         Silver        3           Sapphire

Distinction..............   .250       None*       Gold           Gold         4           Ruby

Special Distinctio...    500         None*         Rose          Rose        5          2 Rubies

Superior Distinction. 750        None*        Blue            Blue        6          3 Rubies

Outstanding Distinction.1000 None*     Purple      Purple      7         4 Rubies

* A $10.00 fee is requires for life membership.  No additional fees are required for advanced degrees.



Credit Point Schedule


Intersholastic Debates and Lincoln/Douglas Debates

Winning debates 6 points and no-decision, 3 points.  Graded debates: Highest grade 6, others 3.


Interscholastic Contests

Each round in a tournament is regarded as a separate contest and points awarded according to rank received.   No extra points are awarded to the over-all winner.

                                                             1st    2nd   3rd or A   4th or B   5th or C  Other

Original*............                       6          5              4                       3                  2             1                  

Interpretation**...                  5          4              3                        2                  1             1

Other speech contests**.   4          3              2                         1                  1             1

If only four schools compete in the contest, points shall be reduced by one; if only three schools, by two; no points for a two-school contest.

*Original Extemporaneous Speaking, Original Oratory, Expository, Informative, Persuasive.

**Interpretation: Dramatic, Humorous, Oratorical, Declamation, Poetry, Prose, Duo Interp.

***Other contests: After-Dinner, Impromptu, Book Review, Four-minute Speaking, Salesmanship, Demonstration, Story Telling, Voice of Democracy, Radio, T.V.

No points are given for participation in plays, duet acting, group reading, or TV or radio dramas



Service Projects

Audience speaking earns points in addition to any contest points that day.

Any speech, discussion, debate, oration memorized presentation, interpretation, Radio and TV announcing at least four minutes in length and of a quality approved by the instructor receives points:

Audience                                    Speaker                                        Points

High School Assembly........... Any Student...................................1

Twenty Five or more Adults.  Non-Member.................................1

     or                                                           NFL member..................................2

Radio or TV (Channel or

Call Letters)...........                     Honor degree member................3

                                                                 Excellence degree member........4

                                                                 Distinction degree member.......5

Degrees must be on record in the national office before advanced points may be awarded.






Student Congress and Group Speaking

   In legislative assemblies or practice congresses, with at least four schools participating, an official scorer may award up to six points for each speach (presiding for one hour is scored as one speech), but shall not exceed 120 points for each hour a house is in session.  If no scorer has been appointed every coach may award each of his/her students up to 24 points, but not more than six points for each speech nor the same number of points to more than two students.  These points must be reported in service/group speaking.  Discussion participants are ranked or rated and must report points in service/group speaking based upon the point schedule for "other speech contests."  Mock Trial decisions are won/loss and must be reported in service/group speaking using the debate point schedule.  Each trial participant receives points for each trial.






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