HS Speech Contest Resources

Quick Access #

WISDAA orders SpeechWire for our official WISDAA festivals, to push registration data for scheduling and tabulation.

Training Course

This free course walks festival managers through planning and preparing festivals, as well as using SpeechWire.

Inclusive Contests: Best Practices #


The National Speech & Debate Association has a number of free diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) resources for contests, including an Inclusive Tournament Checklist, Gender Neutral Restroom Best Practices, Pronoun Usage Best Practices, and Belonging and Inclusion Station implementation guide.

Please review contest checklists in the Middle/High School Speech Handbook, which specifically references checking accessibility requests made in SpeechWire by coaches for contestants and/or adjudicators.

Another consideration, helpful for students, coaches, or adjudicators who are neurodivergent or need a quiet place to pray, is a quiet room.

Accessing Registration Data #

Before the state office “pushes” entries/adjudicator data from initial statewide registration to festivals, managers can review registration status and entries by festival by clicking buttons for the two status screens below (the state office will email contest managers the password to access the screen).

Arranging WIFI Access #

Managers interested in making WIFI must accessible by contestants and/or adjudicators must first confirm their school has a public/guest WIFI network, or can make one available during the festival. This is highly suggested for High School Speech draw/prep (read below for more information), and hosts who cannot provide it must notify schools they are unable to do so.

Contestant WIFI in HS Extemp/Radio Draw/Prep #

In 2022, WISDAA changed High School Speech rules to allow contestants in two categories to access the internet for a more authentic, accessible festival experience:

  • Radio News Reporting contestants can access Google Doc radio packets (via SpeechWire), which they may edit/cut to the 5-minute newscast and recite from their device for the adjudicator.
  • Extemporaneous Speech contestants are now allowed to access information in live time (such as news sites, etc.) during their preparation time (but may not use their device to construct nor deliver their speech, unless accommodated through an accessibility request.

Contest Manager Instructions #

Here are instructions for managers running digital Extemp/Radio draw.

  1. Managers should check with school IT personnel on any special instructions for connecting and/or hardware requirements are needed, and communicate to coaches ahead of the festival, so coaches can ensure their students will be able to connect. Schools can consider offering contestants “loaner” devices or guest login to library computers.
  2. Managers must ensure they have a prep room supervisor with access to a computer, and SpeechWire manager login information for the festival (username/password). Make sure to share the username with the word “manage” in it (example: uamanage).
  3. Managers should ensure the State Office has set protocols correctly, and loaded in Radio packets and/or Extemp questions.
    1. Click Scheduling manager on the home page, then click “Manage live online draw/prep.” You will see a list of your groupings, and a column of dropdowns that will let you determine how to run draw for that event.
    2. For Radio, select One packet link for each round.
    3. For Extemp, select Same bag of question for each section in round, don’t reuse selected topics.
    4. Make your selections in the “Draw?” column, then click “Save draw settings.”
    5. You will see a column on the right side of the table on the “Manage draws” page that is labeled “Topics/materials”. Click “Manage topics/materials” for the grouping that you want to add the materials for. You should see a field for a link, for each round.
    6. If you are missing materials, please email help@whsfa.org ASAP!
  4. Running the draw/prep: Once draw is ready to begin, the prep room manager will run draw by clicking Scheduling manager, then ‘Run live online draw/prep’. They will select the category they want to administer, then the round they want to run right now. They will see a copy of the schematic. Once they are ready to launch the first set of draws, they should determine who in each section they want to have draw.  Then, they should click “Open draw” for each of those students.
  5. When draw opens for a student, they gain the ability to draw within their live.speechwire.com student account.  In order to access draw, they need to log in at live.speechwire.com and click on the name of the tournament that they are participating in.  They will then see a link to enter draw, assuming that draw has begun for them.
    1. Once they click that link, they will see a summary of their day’s draws, along with links to draw now for any rounds that they have a draw open in.
    2. Once they click “Click here to draw now”, they will receive: link to the Radio packet, which will copy to Google Drive or they will select one of five questions.
    3. The draw room manager will be able to see that they have drawn by reloading the page.

Adjudicator Electronic Evaluation #

Managers of WISDAA Speech contests have the ability to optionally enable electronic evaluation (e-ballots) in SpeechWire. Adjudicators who wish can evaluate electronically; others can still complete paper forms.

  1. Managers should check with school IT personnel for any special instructions for connecting, and communicate to coaches and their adjudicators ahead of the festival.
  2. Please tell coaches that adjudicators who are interested should bring a laptop/tablet.
  3. Once you start your festival, adjudicators who want to will log into https://live.speechwire.com with the email listed on the Judge dashboard in your SpeechWire manager, access their rounds, type their evaluations and award points. You won’t even have to tabulate their results; they will come in automatically.

Printing Forms #

WISDAA sends evaluation sheets to high school subdistricts and districts; middle level 1 and 2 festivals. Toggle-open the information to see a key to colors. If you need to run more copies, you do not need to match; this is just for reference to help sort different categories (and unfortunately, there are not enough unique colors from our printing supplier to differentiate all categories, anyway).

Contest hosts/managers will print paper ballots (sheet with entry information for each round/section/room) directly from SpeechWire.

Photocopying Forms – Colors

Middle High Category Paper Color
Demonstration Speech Pastel Green
Extemporaneous Speech Pastel Gray
Farrago Goldenrod
Group Interpretive Reading Pastel Salmon
Impromptu Cosmic Orange
Informative Lunar Blue
Moments in History Pulsar Pink
News Reporting Pastel Green
Non-original Oratory Goldenrod
Oratory Terra Green
Persuasive Speech Terra Green
Play Acting Pastel Canary
Poetry Reading Pastel Orchid
Prose Reading Pastel Blue
Public Address Speech Sunburst Yellow
Radio News Reporting Pastel Green
Solo Acting (Humorous/Serious) Pastel Ivory
Special Occasion Cosmic Orange
Storytelling Pastel Pink
Adjudicator Guidelines Re-Entry Red
Ballot (SpeechWire generates) White
speech forms inventory

Manual Scheduling #