Students in Debate

Gain critical thinking, comprehension, argumentation, and more in a fun, competitive, and academic environment.

Why Should Students Debate?

Competitive debate fosters tremendous relationships for students between their coach, team, and even their school. It also provides a fun, competitive atmosphere to learn about current issues, develop new skills, process and defend different points of view, and grow into a young leader.

      • Academic Success
        Debate is recognized at a national level in colleges and beyond. The skills taught and developed in debate prepare young people for academic work in all disciplines and fields, and helps students become highly proficient at critical reading, critical thinking, organization argumentation, and time management.
      • College Admissions
        Students enrolled in speech and debate programs, especially in urban public schools, have shown significantly improved reading and writing test scores for college. 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.

      • Critical Thinking
        Fostering critical and creative thinkers is central to the mission of Ad Astra Debate. We aim to meaningfully collaborate and build students’ thinking skills through our competitions and activities.

Hear what our students have to say:


Aryan Waghmode – East 2021, John Hopkins 2025

For me, debate is more than the art of communicating; it’s the art of thinking. Debate has transformed not only the way I present my ideas but also how I fundamentally think about the world. Without hesitation, the skills developed, knowledge learned, and connections made through debate have been foundational to my success so far as a student.

Carlos Cedilla – East 2019, Washburn 2023

Speech and Debate not only propeled my young self’s ability to communicate ideas to a broad range of audiences effectively; it gave me a framework of research and analysis to help come to my conclusions. The activity empowered my advocacy on a wide amount of issues, for which I am very grateful.

Stephanie Le – KMC 2017, Newman University 2020

Although I had no special talent in speech or debate, it helped me to gain self-confidence and develop my research and speaking skills. I was able to realize my own potential and use my voice in meaningful ways that I didn’t know I was capable of. Speech and debate was a challenge for me; however, I would not have found strength in myself or be as knowledgeable as I am today without it.

Dominika Cornejo – KMC 2016, Dartmouth 2020

Speech and debate is an invaluable resource that prepared me for academic success and my career. No other academic or extracurricular program emphasizes the development of critical thinking, communication, and research skills like speech and debate. Participating in speech and debate in high school afforded me ample opportunity to develop and hone these skills which has proven to be indispensable in my continued academic pursuits.

As Kansas’ number one resource for competitive speech and debate programs, Ad Astra Debate League provides the support and infrastructure Kansas schools need to remain competitive and outstanding on the competitive plane. We seek to provide students and their schools the right resources to continue advancing personal growth and excelling kansas competition.
Debate cultivates creative and critical thinking in young people to advance their academic and future successes.

Debate Student Toolkit

NDCA Novice Packet
2020-2021 Novice Packet
NDCA Open Evidence
The impact of speech and debate is the unlocking of the advocacy skills that help make young people become confident leaders.

Student Resources


The Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA) serves students by providing leadership for the administration of education based interscholastic activities

National Speech & Debate Association

The NSDA provides recognition and support for students participating in speech and debate activities nationwide. 

National Catholic Forensic League

The NCFL is committed to providing participants, judges, coaches, and volunteers the opportunity to pursue excellence in their endeavors.

The National Debate Coaches Association

The NDCA provides all debate coaches, regardless of type of debate, region, or pedagogical style, with avenues for professional development.

The National Individual Events Tournament of Champions

For students, NIETOC will provide an educational workshop focused on improving speaking skills, excellent competition and a chance to meet speech competitors from all over the nation.

National Debate Coaches Association High School Policy

This wiki is an attempt to compile and share information about arguments made by high school debate teams throughout the country to democratize the process of intelligence gathering.

As students progress in the world of competitive debate, they will have the opportunity to begin growing and expanding their professional networks at a young age.
Academics Leaders
Business Professionals
Legal Scholars and Practicing Lawyers
Oftentimes, competitors say these relationships made a difference in their experience and future career endeavors, and debate is the closest activity in school to what many experience everyday in their jobs after graduation.

Want to Sponsor a Student?

Speech and debate also offers many opportunities for students to receive scholarships to compete in a number of debate events at the Collegiate level, and our partnerships with these programs give us the ability to prepare students in earnest for success.