What are the benefits of joining the Wildcat Forensics Team?
Cy-Woods Speech & Debate is one of the most active organizations on campus. Students, who join our team, gain fundamental critical thinking and public speaking skills that will last them a lifetime. You can find additional benefits under Benefits of Speech & Debate.
The debate class does not fit into my student’s regular school schedule; can he/she still participate on the Cy-Woods Speech and Debate Team?
Yes! Besides Debate class, the Wildcat Forensics Team meets afterschool to prepare for tournaments. Contrary to some other sports or activities, students do not have to be in the debate classes (albeit, that is most helpful). They can come after school as much as they want – knowing that the extent that they participate will directly impact their performance in tournaments. Your student does not have to go to all of the tournaments, but they must attend at least three local tournaments to be considered part of the team. Students will benefit greatly from any tournament experience they get. The more competitions they attend, the sooner they will become more successful. One learns best by doing.
How much are the activity fees for Wildcat Forensics?
An average tournament can cost up to $2,200 for entry fees alone, and the Wildcat Forensics Team competes in more than 20 tournaments each year. The Cy-Woods Speech & Debate activity fund (CFISD funded) and the Cy-Woods Forensics Booster Club fundraisers cover most costs. However, students are required to pay for a portion of the entry fees. Students, who fail to pay required team fees, are included on the Cy-Woods Student Fines and Fees list each semester. Please note students on this list could be precluded from final exemptions and/or parking permits .
Travel fees: In addition, students who attend out-of-town tournaments will be required to pay travel fees to cover hotel costs. (See team tournament schedule for specific travel fees).
Personal Spending Money: Students should bring money for concessions and meals during the tournaments. At tournaments, students are busy for hours on end, and their ability to leave a tournament site is limited. Most sponsor schools provide concessions and meals for students as a fundraiser for their own speech and debate team. Whenever possible, we also have team dinners at local restaurants when we travel out of the Houston area.
What supplies does my student need?
The only supplies that students need to responsible for are standard school supplies, which your student should have for any other class – mainly pens, pencils, a notebook, etc. A laptop computer and some type of external hard drive or USB drive is not required but is highly recommended for use during tournaments.
What do students wear to tournaments?
The Wildcat Forensics Team is known for its professional appearance. Boys are to wear suits, ties, dress socks and shoes. Suits should be a dark color. Girls should be dressed in a professional business suit, heels, and hair put back away from face. (See Debate Handbook for more details)
Will my student be required to travel as a member of Debate I?
At this time, students will not be required to travel out of district tournaments as Debate I members, however, it is strongly encouraged as the skills students will gain in Debate I are theoretical until they are used in a “real-time” setting. Although students will participate in debate rounds inside of a classroom setting, competition is very helpful and takes the skills learned in class to a much higher level. Your student does not have to go to all of the tournaments, but they must attend at least three local (district) tournaments. If your student would like to travel, they should demonstrate appropriate behavior and consistent participation in class; be passing all of their classes; and be current on any and all fees owed.
If my child travels, what time schedule should I expect?
When we travel, the team typically leaves around 11 a.m. on Fridays; therefore your child will miss (excused) part of those school days. Depending on the distance from Cy-Woods, arrival time back at school can vary anywhere from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. Obviously, the closer we compete to Cy-Woods the later our departure time can be and the earlier we (generally) will arrive back at the high school. Your student will call you when we are approximately 15 minutes from the school so that, when we arrive, a ride is waiting for them.
Our tournaments are a two-day event, which means that we either (1) stay overnight in our tournament city or (2) depart again Saturday morning, generally around 7 a.m.
Will my child be safe when they travel with the team?
When we travel out of the Houston-area, we generally recruit two or three parent chaperones to travel with us. Each hotel room will have three to four students. In addition, there is an implicit expectation (See Debate Handbook for details) that students will follow all district and squad mandated codes of conduct, etc. It is not impossible for students to be asked to leave tournament sites or to be removed from class for specific infractions. While this does not happen often, the needs of the team are far too great to allow infractions to go unaddressed.
Can parents attend tournaments?
Parents are ALWAYS welcome to attend tournaments with the team. If you can make time to attend a few tournaments, it will give you a greater appreciation for what these students do every weekend as well as in class. It is hard to explain what these students do when they attend tournaments but if you can see it for yourself – you will be amazed! One note of caution, while it might seem unusual, parents do not usually attend or watch their students compete in speech/debate tournaments. Most students prefer that their parents do not attend/observe their own rounds.
My student isn’t the best communicator (I’m hoping debate will fix that…); how do I find out how he/she is doing at tournaments?
Keep in mind that tournaments are very intense and exhausting for the participants. They often find out the results of one round just before starting the next one. Students are REQUIRED to have their phones silenced during rounds. Hopefully you will hear about results from your student, but if not, there are a few other options:
- TWITTER: Follow us @CYWOODSDEBATE. You can also view our Twitter feed on this website without having to create a twitter account.
- Joy of Tournaments: Tournaments post the requirements, schedules and other information online. Some tournaments post results, almost real-time.
- Cy-Woods Booster Club newsletter: Better late than never – The Booster Club will post the results on the Monday after a tournament to the team website and send it out via the newsletter.
How can I help the team?
We are so glad you asked!
Sponsorships – If you work for an employer that offers educational grants or matching programs for donations or anything like that which would help funnel money into this growing and valuable program, please consider us a recipient that can benefit greatly from any of these proceeds. Businesses or individual can donate at any time using the link under the Team Sponsorship tab.
Volunteering – Our largest fundraiser of the year is the Wildcat Classic held in September. In order to make it as successful as possible, we need YOU!!! The GREATEST need we will have is for adults who can function as judges for various speaking and debate rounds. (See Judging Hints & Tips for more information). We could also use your baked goods, your best chili (for our 7th Annual Chili Cook-Off) and gently used stuffed animals (Furry Friends of Forensics). We also run a very successful sale during the Annual Coles Crossing Neighborhood Garage Sale.
We will need parent chaperones at various times during the year. Please check the weekly booster club newsletter for additional opportunities to volunteer and/or chaperone.