UPDATED RELEASE: NATION’S TOP STUDENT SPEECH AND DEBATE COMPETITORS ASCEND ON THE ‘BIG D’ FOR BIG DISCUSSIONS AND DEBATES ABOUT KEY ISSUES IMPACTING OUR COUNTRY

National Speech & Debate Tournament at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel on June 16 - 21, 2019

West Des Moines,


DALLAS, May 28, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The National Speech & Debate Tournament arrives in Dallas, Texas, the week of June 16 - 21, 2019. Top high school and middle school speech and debate competitors from around the country will argue topics that are important nationally, as well as globally, such as legal and illegal immigration, antitrust regulations on technology giants, and revolution and political oppression. With more than 10,000 students, coaches, educators, and parents expected to attend the tournament this year, the National Speech & Debate Tournament is the largest academic competition in the world bringing together competitors who represent the top 4% of more than 150,000 student members at approximately 3,500 schools.

“We believe that effective communication skills and knowledge of the issues impacting millions of people around the world are essential for empowering young people to become engaged citizens, skilled professionals, and honorable leaders,” said J. Scott Wunn, Executive Director of the National Speech & Debate Association.”The students are paying attention and they have a voice. Our student performers have worked hard to understand the issues, develop compelling messaging, and practice the right delivery of their views. It is sure to be a great and educational tournament, and we’re thrilled to host it in Dallas with top student competitors, coaches, speech and debate Hall of Fame members, local leaders, and supporters from around the globe.”

Jared Padalecki, an American actor from San Antonio, Texas will attend the tournament Thursday and Friday to inspire students. Padalecki is best known for his role on the series Supernatural, Gilmore Girls, as well as the films New York Minute and House of Wax. As a former student member of the National Speech & Debate Association, Padalecki credits his experience with the organization as an avenue for preparation into acting. He will speak during the Thursday awards ceremony.

"While the NSDA National Speech and Debate Tournament is fiercely competitive, bringing the brightest talent from across the country together in one place, it is also a celebration of a diverse community that seeks to empower young people by helping them find and develop their individual voices,” said local host committee chair Cindi Timmons.

Cindi Timmons, Dallas resident and four-time chair of the local host committee, is also the co-head coach and team manager for the USA Debate team, the national debate team of the United States. She is a member of the National Speech & Debate Association Hall of Fame.

Special Guests:
Celebrity:

  • Jared Padalecki, best known for his role on the series Supernatural, Gilmore Girls, as well as the films New York Minute and House of Wax.

Local Leaders:

  • Dale Hansen, WFAA Sports Anchor, and a local hero will be honored as the National Speech & Debate Association Communicator of the Year. As a leader in the community who embodies our values of leadership, service, integrity, and inclusion, Hansen will be honored on during the Diamond Award Assembly Thursday, June 20 at 7:00 p.m. CT.
  • Cindi Timmons, member of the National Speech & Debate Association Hall of Fame, the head of the local host committee and the USA Debate coach and team manager.
  • Local District Student of the Year, Student Speech & Debate Leader, U.S. Extemp 2018 National Champion and current competitor from Plano West Senior High School: Jacqueline Wei

Student Speech & Debate Leaders:

  • National Student of the Year Finalist from Austin, TX: Rene Otero
  • National Student of the Year Finalist from San Antonio, TX: Saskia Reford

Legendary Houston debate coach Thomas Freeman will also be in attendance. Freeman's notable students include the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., actor Denzel Washington, and former Congresswoman Barbara Jordan. Freeman was the Texas Southern University debate coach for six decades before his retirement in 2013.

The event is open to the public and more than 60,000 global viewers are expected to tune in over the livestream. Following the National Speech & Debate Tournament, several high school and middle school students will be crowned 2019 champions, winning more than $150,000 in scholarships. Learn more about the event here: https://www.speechanddebate.org/nationals/.

About the National Speech & Debate Tournament
The 2019 National Speech & Debate Tournament in Dallas, Texas is expected to bring more than 10,000 students, coaches, educators, and parents to the Fort Lauderdale area. The National Speech & Debate Association has hosted the National Tournament in various cities since 1931. To qualify for this premier event, students across the country compete in 110 District Tournaments. The winners of these District Tournaments qualify for the National Tournament. From more than 150,000 student members, less than 4% qualify to compete in this prestigious competition for the right to be called National Champions.

About the National Speech & Debate Association
The National Speech & Debate Association is the largest interscholastic speech and debate organization serving middle school, high school, and collegiate students in the United States. The Association provides competitive speech and debate activities, high-quality resources, comprehensive training, scholarship opportunities, and advanced recognition to more than 150,000 students and coaches every year. For 90 years, the National Speech & Debate Association has empowered nearly two million members to become engaged citizens, skilled professionals, and honorable leaders in our society. For more information, visit www.speechanddebate.org.

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