Speech & Debate

Upper School student speaking at podium

Blake students understand the importance of effective oral communication. Speech and debate are essential components of all academic programs. This learning prepares them for a pre-graduation milestone: Each senior presents a formal senior speech at an Upper School assembly.

Shaping Great Public Speakers: Lower & Middle School

In the Lower School, speech and debate skills are interwoven throughout students' coursework in core academic subjects.

Speaking, arguing and debating effectively are among the skills students learn in the Middle School curriculum. Students may opt to join the after-school Debate Club or Debate Team. All eighth grade students study public speaking in preparation for delivering a speech to the Middle School community.

Excelling in the Art Of Communication: Upper School

Young adults who wish to hone their communications skills choose courses from an array of offerings in forensics and communications. A focus on socio-political issues – domestic and international – helps students become great communicators who are also thoughtful, socially responsible citizens. These classes further refine the research and critical thinking skills students learn in their core academic courses. All students who enroll in forensics classes participate in regional or national competitions.

As part of their preparation for the Senior Speech, all students take Psychology of Communications or its equivalent.


Each year, the Upper School Speech and Debate program hosts the John Edie Invitational Tournament. Approximately 1,100 participants attend, coming from over 130 schools across the country. Through this event, students participate in tournaments in multiple formats of speech and debate over a three-day period.