Matthew Slimp is the teacher and head coach of San Marino's award winning speech and debate team. He has been teaching San Marino's speech and debate class since 2010, when he started as a mid-season replacement. Prior to teaching at San Marino, Mr. Slimp boasted a successful record as a high school debater, qualifying for state 6 times and nationals 4 times, and as a lawyer. Although he's now retired from his law profession, Mr. Slimp's passion for rhetoric continues through San Marino Speech and Debate.
What is forensics?
Forensics, more popularly known as speech and debate, is an academic activity typically available to students in middle school, high school, and/or college. Similar to athletic sports, speech and debate activities are challenging, competitive in nature, and require regular practice, coaching, dedication, and hard work. Tournaments are held almost every weekend, and students can choose to attend as many or as few as they wish.
Public Forum Debate:
Public Forum Debate (PFD) is a team event that advocates or rejects a position posed by the monthly resolution topic
(announced online at www.nflonline.org). The clash of ideas must be communicated in a manner persuasive to the
non-specialist or “citizen judge”, i.e. a member of the American jury. The debate should:
- Display solid logic, lucid reasoning, and depth of analysis
- Utilize evidence without being driven by it
- Present a clash of ideas by countering/refuting arguments of the opposing team (rebuttal)
- Communicate ideas with clarity, organization, eloquence, and professional decorum
Lincoln Douglas Debate:
Lincoln-Douglas debate (more commonly referred to as LD) is a competitive speaking activity that involves two debaters arguing for and against a resolution that is selected by the NFL (National Forensics League) and voted on by coaches. Today, somewhat like the old debates, LD focuses on the conflicting values of social and philosophical issues, for example, by examining questions of morality, justice, democracy, etc. Typically, LD debates concern themselves with deciding whether or not certain actions, or states of affairs, are good or bad, right or wrong, moral or immoral.
The original debate format that has existed since before you were born. Teams of two advocate for and against a resolution that typically calls for policy change by the United States federal government. It is also referred to as cross examination debate (sometimes shortened to CX) because of the 3-minute questioning period following each constructive speech. Affirmative teams generally present a plan as a proposal for implementation of the resolution and negative teams prove why the plan is undesirable. Policy has the most diversity of arguments, forcing debaters to think critically and do in-depth research about the topic. In recent years, Policy has begun to implement new styles of argumentation and performance that are still developing. Most college debate teams focus exclusively on policy debate and have rich histories within the event stretching decades. If you are up for the challenge, then join Policy Debate!
~Edmond Wen, Policy Debate Captain
Congressional Debate is a mock legislative assembly competition where students draft bills (proposed laws) and resolutions (position statements), which they and their peers later debate and vote to pass into law and then take action on by voting for or against the legislation.
Interpretation, or “interp” is one of the main categories for speech events. The easiest way to describe interp is competitive acting. The main interp events are Humorous Interp, Dramatic Interp, Original Prose & Poetry, and Duo. In each of these events, you will be performing a ten minute piece, cut from a copyrighted book, movie script, or other published work (except OPP). All of these events are performed throughout the course of one year, and the whole year is used to refine your performance to maximize its impact. A good performance from an Interper can leave the audience laughing hysterically, or in tears from the sincereness of your performance. If you really like acting, or even just want to try something new, please consider becoming an Interper at SMHS!
~Calvin Ryan, Interp Captain
Platform events are Original Oratory and Informative Speaking. Both speeches are written by the student performing them and should be memorized, practiced, and last up to 10 minutes. Oratory seeks to persuade and Informative seeks to inform.
In short, Expository speaking is competitive teaching. Through this event, you will create an original speech to educate on any topic of your choosing. However, unlike all other events, Expos allows you to teach your audience with the help of visual aids. These visual aids typically consist of boards with complex contraptions, created with string, magnets, cardboard, and just about anything you can imagine! The creativity of your boards truly brings your performance to life and puts all of your words into perspective. If you have an artsy or creative edge, or maybe just something that you’re passionate about teaching, give Expos a try!
~Morgan Wong, Expos Captain
Limited preparation events are, primarily, Domestic and Foreign Extemporaneous Speaking. In these, a student receives 30 minutes to prepare a speech of up to 7 minutes about a current affairs topic.