What is the mission of Fortitude?

We are a group of parents each working on discipling our own children. Speech and debate is just one tool that we use to aid in that discipleship process. Through participation in speech and debate, we want our children to grow in these three areas: (1) faith, (2) character, and (3) forensic skills. Most important is growth in faith. Second, growth in character. And last, growth in forensic skills.

What are the forensic events?

Platform Speeches

Platform speeches are informative, self-written, and memorized verbatim. These include Original Oratory, Persuasive, and Expository speeches. Original Oratory speeches are informational, Persuasive speeches present information and advocate for a course of action, and Expository speeches use visual aids to both show and tell informational topics.

Interpretive Speeches

Interpretive speeches are story-based speeches where a competitor takes a piece of literature, a play, a short-story, or even writes their own story and brings it to life by acting out ALL the people in the story. These can be funny or dramatic and events include Open Interpretation, Humorous Interpretation, Duo Interpretation (two competitors telling/acting the story together), and for the 2022-2023 school year, Interp in a Box, which uses visual aids to help tell the story. These speeches are also memorized verbatim.

Limited Preparation Speeches

Limited Prep speeches typically thought through ahead of time, but not memorized. The "limited" time refers to the short period of time wherein a student has a set number of minutes to collect their thoughts during a tournament after receiving three speaking prompts. The topics for Apologetics and Mars Hill Impromptu speeches are released by the league (Stoa) prior to the outset of each competition year, and students should research and prepare for the topics ahead of time. (Students are allowed to bring a 4x6 card of notes to aid them as they speak.) Apologetics topics give students an opportunity to grow in their understanding of facets of their Christian faith, and learn to explain them to others in a winsome and compassionate way. Mars Hill speeches takes the sharing one’s faith to a new level by asking students to take a piece of artistic cultural significance (movies, books, plays, art, etc.) and use it to bridge the gap and share Christ with a nonbeliever, in the model that the apostle Paul did in Acts 17. Extemporaneous speeches are geared to current events in the world news cycle and vary in that students receive their question and have 30 minutes to craft a speech before presenting it. Impromptu speeches are five minutes in length and can be on any topic that a tournament can conceive, although students still receive only three prompts from which to choose during prep time.

Team Policy Debate

Team Policy Debate features two competitors going up against another two competitors debating a policy resolution. The resolution for the 20221-2023 competition year is:

Resolved: The United States Federal Government should substantially reform its policy towards one or more countries in Europe.

Students prepare cases for both sides of the resolution as they will be debating both sides. Evidence is highly valued in policy debate.

Lincoln Douglas Value Debate

Lincoln Douglas Value Debate features one competitor going up against another competitor debating a value based resolution. The resolution for the 2022-2023 competition year is:

Resolved: Criminal justice ought to prioritize rehabilitation over retribution, restitution or deterrence.

Students prepare cases for both sides of the resolution as they will be debating both sides. Logic and reasoning is valued highly alongside evidence. LD debate is recommended for ages 14+ but can be introduced earlier by request.

Parliamentary Debate

Parliamentary Debate (known more commonly as “Parli”) features two competitors going up against another two competitors in a limited preparation style format. Students receive the resolution 20 minutes ahead of the speaking time. The resolutions can be policy, value, or fact based. Parli is recommended for 16+ but can be introduced earlier upon request.

Who is eligible to participate?

Competitors shall be ages 12 through 18 on October 1 of the current season.

All families need to read and agree with the Fortitude Statement of Faith.

Our league is exclusively for independently home schooled students. Students participating in club time and tournaments cannot be enrolled in a charter school or public school. Here are the full eligibility rules.

In addition, all families need to be members of our league, Stoa. You can register here.

What are the costs ?

There are several costs to consider:

  1. Club fees. $100/family per year. This is to cover the cost of insurance, materials, and other club overhead.

  2. Stoa Registration cost. Click here for information on the cost to join Stoa.

  3. Tournament costs. One of the mechanisms used to train students in speech in debate is participation in tournaments, many of which are out of town. Each local tournament has some nominal entry fees, but the larger costs are those associated with travel to these tournaments. Many tournaments offer "host housing" to help with lodging costs, but this is not guaranteed.

  4. Tournament attire. Tournaments require professional attire for competitors.

  5. Private coaching/camps (optional). Many students wish to attend speech/debate camps or pay for private coaching. The costs for these can vary widely.

What are the expectations for families?

  1. Active Parent Participation. Our club is a collaborative partnership of parents working together to disciple our children. We do not approach the coaching of speech and debate as “done by the professionals,” but see our co-labor together as iron sharpening iron. For this reason, we expect each family to provide at least one parent coach each week to be actively involved in giving constructive feedback and guidance. Parents who cannot come on a given week may send a grandparent or other adult to fill-in their otherwise needed spot, but our club is not a drop-off event.

  2. Weekly Attendance and Work at Home. It is our goal that students and parents attend together each week unless they have otherwise made arrangements with club leadership. Since our weekly club time is used for students to present their work and receive feedback, students should come to club ready to focus on improving speech and debate skills. This means preparing speeches and debate cases at home, and coming ready to polish skills at club.

  3. Participation in Tournaments. Because the primary vehicle we have to motivate students is the competition of tournaments, we expect each student to compete in a minimum of two tournaments during the season.

  4. Serving at Our Local Tournament. Putting on a local tournament takes a small army and it blesses not only our students but the greater Stoa (our league) community. For this reason, we require "all hands on deck" from our club families when we host a local tournament. We do take interests, gifting, and time constraints into consideration for finding the best place for parents to serve during a tournament.

  5. Agreement with Statement of Faith and Registration with the Stoa League. All club families need to signify their agreement with our Fortitude Statement of Faith upon registration and all families need to separately register for the Stoa league.

How is club meeting time structured?

We meet every Tuesday during the school year (with a few breaks for holidays, etc.) at Trinity Community Church, from 4:00 - 8:30 p.m.

4:00-5:00 - Platform and Interpretive speeches - on alternating weeks

5:00-6:00 - Limited prep speeches (APOL, Mars Hill, Extemporaneous, and Impromptu)

6:00-7:00 - Apologetics Bible study - DURING dinner (bring your own)

7:00-8:45 - Debate (Team Policy and Lincoln Douglas)


Parents should plan to be present and plan to help with coaching whenever their student is there. We can, occasionally, make exceptions to this expectation, but please communicate your needs to the leadership team in advance of club time. Because our club is parent led and our goal is discipleship, parent participation is expected even if your student can drive themself.

Younger siblings are permitted to attend alongside their parents, but no childcare is provided and children should not be left unattended.

When students are not presenting, they should be listening and giving constructive feedback to others.

*This schedule is subject to change as determined by the needs of the club.