Deadline to Apply: September 4, 2019

SpeakFirst provides Birmingham city middle and high school students with the opportunity to engage in co-curricular competitive debate. Participation in competitive debate has been shown to measurably improve students’ critical thinking skills, markedly improve students academic achievement and standardized test scores, and also improve students research and information processing skills. Competitive debate also increases students’ school, social and civic engagement, teaches students argument and advocacy skills, and supports the development of individual voice and self-confidence

Students from any high school in the Birmingham City School District are eligible to apply. Students selected for the team will be required to meet twice weekly after-school for debate practice, and will travel to approximately eight to ten competitive high school debate tournaments in the 2019-2020 school year.  

Please note that if you would prefer to fill out a physical application, contact Jim Sydnor ( 

If you have any questions about the high school team or about your application, please email our National Program Director, Channing Bethke ( We look forward to receiving your application!

Click here to apply to the SpeakFirst High School team.