The Vermont Debate and Forensics League (VTDF) is an affiliate organization of the VPA organized to create opportunities to high school students in public speaking; to encourage interscholastic debate and individual speaking contests; and to promote the civic virtues of public discourse.
In pursuing these objectives, the VDFL holds workshops, school sponsored competitions, and state tournaments in Public Forum Debate and Forensics.
Speech (Forensics) and Debate is an important component in schools and the community when talking about youth asset development, youth engagement, youth advocacy, and quality youth development.
VDFL oversees speech and debate tournaments throughout the state. Recognized by the National Speech & Debate Association, National Catholic Forensic League, and Vermont Principals' Association; VDFL membership is open to all Vermont high schools and youth organizations.
Black Lives Matter.
It is irresponsible to fail to recognize the dramatic structural inequalities within the United States and the costs they impose on the black community. Too many Black people are arrested, incarcerated, and die solely because of the color of their skin. The Vermont Debate and Forensics League condemns the violence and racism inflicted upon the Black community.
We are honored to work with high school students who commit themselves to the free exchange of ideas. It is our responsibility to advocate for systemic changes that promote safety, equity, and justice for our underrepresented and under-served students. We commit ourselves to preparing, educating, and supporting our students using their voices to right the wrongs of the systemic injustice that plagues our nation.
We support and affirm the statements on racial violence of both national speech and debate organizations.
Public Forum Debate is an oral communication advocacy exercise done with a partner. Each team of two advocate either in favor of (PRO) or against (CON) a resolution by proposing two to three arguments supporting their position.
With these arguments laid out in opening speeches, each side chooses the most important arguments to defend or attack. Using skills in cross-examination and the introduction of evidence, the debaters clarify, extend their own points, and expose weaknesses and/or contradictions in the opposition’s arguments.
Through a series of constructive and rebuttal speeches, the PRO and CON sides will seek to persuade a citizen judge of the merits of their position.
Forensics events include eight activities.
They are the Interpretation of Prose, Poetry, Drama and Duo Interpretation, Performance Poetry, Extemporaneous and Impromptu Speaking, Original Oratory, and Radio Announcing.
A tournament competition includes three rounds where students present to a judge who then awards a rank as well as points to each speaker which determines the top speakers in each category as well as the top teams.
The VDFL site, design, and updates are a quality youth development initiative of Essex CHIPS.
Jackson Elder and Alden Wheeler
NOVICE DEBATE CHAMPIONS