Keeping the Competition in Kansas Debate.

Ad Astra Debate League provides accessible resources to Kansas students and schools to keep the Kansas debate stage competitive for years to come.

Our Mission

Ad Astra aims to provide students and schools the resources and support needed to maintain and grow speech and debate programs in partnership with our community.

DCI Summer Academy Resource

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Speech and debate supports the development of academic skills, as students learn to research, read, and write more effectively. They use critical thinking to deconstruct the logic of what they read and consider creative solutions to society’s problems. Studies have linked the activity to a 36% increase in reading test scores and an 87% increase in analytical skills for participants.

“As a result of the “speech and debate attitude, earned dual credits increased 800%, ACT scores increased an average of three points, and scholarship dollars offered doubled in three years”

– New Mexico Principal Douglas Wine

Regardless of skill level, age or background, students who participate in speech and debate programming learn that their voices matter and are valued by their communities, which naturally builds confidence. Participants have reported 15% higher self esteem after participating in competitive forensics and schools have experienced a 31% increase in regular attendance.

“At an age when bullying is so common, speech and debate celebrates kids who often fall through the cracks in more traditional settings. Specifically, girls are encouraged to be smart and argumentative as much as boys, in whom strong emotional awareness and expressiveness are celebrated”

– Robyn Kaiyal, an Associate Headmaster from Florida.


Debate allows students to gain in-demand critical thinking and public speaking skills in a fun, competitive and educational atmosphere.


Find events near you, competition schedules, openings, policies and tools to help prepare you and your team for any Kansas competition.


Kansas debate wouldn’t be the success it is without our volunteers. If you’re interested in judging a competition, assisting a coach, or helping manage the competition, visit our Volunteer Portal.

Ad Astra aims to maintain the unrivalled success of Kansas debate through a fully supported community platform aimed at developing speech and debate programs in Kansas.

Why Join Debate?

Develop Useful Lifelong Skills:
Debate develops transferable skills for students at a young age that they will take with them for the rest of their lives. Public speaking, critical thinking, and building a solid argument are necessary skills in all of the top career fields: business, education, law, research, politics, and more.
Use Your Voice to Create Change:
Advocacy through debate allows students to learn about important, real-world issues affecting us today and in the future. Rather than just reading about an issue, debate takes it one step further and gives them the opportunity to discover their passions and defend their stance, gaining a well-rounded understanding of the whole issue.
Improve Academics:
Students enrolled in speech and debate programs, especially in urban public schools, have shown significant improvement in reading and writing test scores. They also have the ability to develop connections between themselves and Universities throughout Kansas and the nation. Ad Astra will utilize these connections, as well as the professional mentorship relationships we develop, to help prepare students for college.
Get Noticed:
Colleges across the country have looked to debate, forensics and other academic-focused extracurricular activities when deciding on admission. A Yale research study shows students who gain skills like critical thinking, oral communication, and effective presentation outperform their peers in their undergraduate studies.
By developing personal relationships between students, coaches, schools, and professionals, we hope to create new networks that allow students to use the skills they learn in debate. The support and strength of community partnerships will allow Kansas debate to stay competitive and our students to grow as skilled leaders of the future.

What Students are Saying

“Ad Astra debate has greatly impacted the way I look at debate and helped me connect with leaders in my community to start my own initiatives in and outside of debate.”

– Aditya Joshi; Student, East High School

Our Team


Ad Astra Debate League is led by former debaters who grew into pillars to the community. We’re knowledgeable and dedicated to keeping Kansas debate competitive.


Mike Harris – Co-Founder & Director
Three-time Kansas Coach of the Year, President –
Kansas Speech Communication Association, Director Wichita East Debate

David Abel – Co-Founder & Associate Director
National Chair of the Year in 2011, Best National District Chair –
Communications in 2013, Ralph E. Carey award for distinguished lifetime service in 2017

Bruce Rowley – Co-Founder & Program Advisor
Entrepreneur, Marketer, Creative Thinker

Ad Astra is dedicated to continuing the competitive success in Kansas debate and developing future Kansas leaders.