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Florida Oceanfront NSDA District Congress Qualifier

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General information

This is a High School tournament in Florida.

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Friday, April 5, 2024: Congress
Palm Beach State College, Palm Beach Gardens campus (directions lower on this page)
Entry in the Florida Oceanfront NSDA District Congress is $15 per student. This will include lunch (pizza, chips/cookie, and water).
Fees for Congress must be received by Florida Oceanfront NSDA District Chair Paul Gaba no later than the tournament date.
Fees are set as of 3pm MOnday, April 1. This is in order to allow schools to get checks cut by the start of the tournament.
Make fees payable to Florida Oceanfront NFL District. BRING YOUR CHECK TO THE TOURNAMENT!
Please read EVERYTHING carefully!
Questions about entries or NSDA rules? Contact Paul Gaba, paul.gaba@palmbeachschools.org, 561-795-4911 or 561-352-0635.
An Overview
All NSDA chapters in the Florida Oceanfront District are cordially invited to participate in this year’s Congress District Tournament.
This tournament determines our district’s qualifiers to the NSDA National Championship Tournament, to be held the week of June 16-22 in DesMoines, IA.
NSDA District Tournament entry procedures and event rules are different from CFL and FFL tournaments; please expect to meet all of the requirements established by NSDA. The NSDA staff will audit the entire tournament. Our failure to follow NSDA procedures could result in the invalidation of our results, so it is imperative you meet all deadlines and follow all NSDA rules. The District Committee must follow and enforce NSDA policies!
  • We will have a "Super Congress" final round House chamber (and in the Senate, if entries require this to happen).
  • There needs to be 10 minutes per student per chamber factored into the length of the session. If there are 12 in a prelim House, that's 120 minutes (two hours) of required "prelim" debate for each session. The same time ratio applies to Supers. Setting the docket, recesses, etc. do NOT factor into this time requirement.
  • Judges need to be "unaffiliated."
  • Judges/parliamentarians in preliminary rounds CAN judge in the House super session, EVEN IF they judged in a preliminary House session.
  • All district tournaments must use preset, randomized recency in Congressional Debate.
  • All district tournaments must use direct questioning in Congressional Debate.
Each member school has an affirmative responsibility to review the rules that are published by NSDA. Specifically, all coaches should go to the NSDA website and review the most recent NSDA Unified High School Manual (link below). Coaches should make the event-specific rules and judging guidelines available for their students and judges so everyone knows what to expect. Coaches have an affirmative duty to verify their students’ interpretation pieces, informative speeches, and oratories conform to NSDA publication guidelines. Coaches should also confirm that their debaters’ case citations conform to NSDA citation guidelines.
It is imperative that all member schools update student memberships and NSDA points no later than 3pm Friday, March 29.
Number of Entries Per School: To confirm the maximum number of entries your school is allowed in Speech/Debate and Congress, log in to your NSDA account and select "District Info" on the left-side menu. Then, scroll down to the "Schools in the Florida Oceanfront district" heading. On the far right is the number of Debate/Speech Slots, Senate Slots, and House Slots, each school is allowed.
CONGRESS: Each active school is allowed a maximum of two Senate entries. However, the number of House entries a school is allowed varies, depending on the overall strength of a program.
Because Speechwire is not designed to allow various overall caps, we are incorporating a waitlist for all entries, so Florida Oceanfront committee members can verify the students being entered have 25+ NSDA points and are paid members. On your NSDA roster, this is indicated by a blue checkmark in the "District Eligible" column.
You can track the number of entries allowed by logging into your NSDA account and select "District Info" on the left-side menu. The per-school Speech & Debate slots, House slots, and Senate slots information can be found as part of the "Schools in the Ocenafront District" list. 
Number of Qualifiers & Chambers: The NSDA Congress features two separate competitions: a Senate and a House.
Senate: A district with six or more schools and 10 or more students represented in the Senate will qualify two senators to the National Senate. If fewer than six schools or 10 students are represented, no Senate may be seated; however, a district may still conduct a House with sufficient entries.
House: A district must have a minimum of 16 competitors to seat a House of Representatives. Refer to the chart below to determine number of House chambers and advancement to the National House (note that the number of students is based on participation - speaking or presiding at least once):
  • 16-29 entries = 2 qualifiers
  • 30-58 entries = 4 qualifiers out of Supers
  • 59-87 entries = 6 qualifiers out of Supers
  • 88-116 entries = 7 qualifiers out of Supers
  • 117-145 entries = 8 qualifiers out of Supers
  • 146+ entries  = 9 qualifiers out of Supers
Districts are not required to equally separate students from each school among all chambers in Congress; students from the same school may be grouped in chambers to facilitate judge placement.
ENTERING "FILLERS" IN CONGRESSIONAL DEBATE IS STRONGLY ENCOURAGED, to allow our district to send as many legislators as possible to the NSDA national championship. In other words, PLEASE FILL ALL YOUR AVAILABLE HOUSE SLOTS.
Schools are NOT required to enter students in the Senate. However, the Senate entry allowance of two (2) may NOT be transferred to the House. Remember that 8 schools must enter the Senate or everyone in the Florida Oceanfront NSDA District will lose their Senate entries.
Chamber Assignments: Coaches will pre-designate Senate entries (maximum of two) during registration. The assignment of entries to prelim Houses will be determined by blind draw. Chamber assignments will be posted by 7:30am on the morning of the Congress.
Student Eligibility and Requirements: Only NSDA members in good standing are allowed to participate in the district tournament. It is the affirmative duty of each coach to provide proof of NSDA membership for each student entered in the district contest. The district committee must disqualify any non‐member student from competition.
a. Students must be members seven days or 168 hours prior to the official start time of the contest. All necessary points and fees must be submitted to the national office by this deadline. Please take time prior to this deadline to update all of your points on the NSDA website. If you are having difficulties with point entry, please reach out to any of the Florida Oceanfront NSDA District Committee members. They are more than happy to help.
b. A student may not have attended a secondary school more than nine semesters and must meet the age/eligibility requirements of his or her state activities association.
Each contestant who elects to participate in more than one NSDA event must complete the "Single Entry Letter of Intent Form." This includes students who compete at the Florida Oceanfront NSDA District Speech & Debate Tournament and are also competing at this tournament. On this form, students must designate which event they will compete in at nationals if they qualify in multiple events. This step is necessary because students may only compete in one event at nationals. These decisions must be made in advance, and the choice must be affirmed by signature of the student, parent, coach, and principal.
All intent letters are due with entry forms; any double-entered student who does not have a completed intent form will be disqualified. 

Auto Qualification: In any given year at the National Tournament, any student who places in the top 14 in any main event, has not completed more than six semesters of high school, and is still enrolled in high school (as a student in good standing) may enter the following year’s National Tournament in the same solo event or in the same team event with the same partner. The district will permit an auto-qualified student to participate in the district contest and to double enter as specified by the district’s uniform double-entry policies. No rule regarding double entry may be violated by auto-qualification. The entry must indicate acceptance of the auto-qualification through his or her Single Entry Letter of Intent prior to its district competition. The district chair should notify the national office of acceptance of the auto-qualification in reporting district results. A student who accepts auto-qualification may double-enter based on rules above but must sign the single letter of intent, which is binding, in favor of the event of their auto-qualification. If the entry signs the single letter of intent and rejects auto-qualification, the results of the district contest are binding.

Judges: The NSDA no longer requires we use unaffiliated judges and parliamentarians in Congress. However, all judges at the district tournament in speech, debate, and Congress events are expected to adhere to the Code of Honor and recuse themselves from judging any round in which there is a conflict of interest per the policy outlined in the Unified Manual.
College-age judges are permitted at the discretion of the District Committee. Current high school students may not judge any portion of the district tournament series.
Each chamber must have two scorers and a parliamentarian per session.
The Florida Oceanfront NSDA District Committee reserves the right to have coaches judge rounds and to use judges in pools other than those in which they are designated. If you have extra judges, or know of community judges who would like to help us, please let us know! It is also possible judges will be "shared" between pools if need be.
Please consider your judging options carefully! If you have a judge whom you know cannot be objective ... LEAVE THAT PERSON AT HOME! This is a high-stakes tournament. For some schools and students, NSDA Nationals is the most important tournament of the year, and the NSDA District Tournament is thus the second most important tournament. As a community of dedicated coaches, we ought to have enough respect for one another and enough consideration for students from other schools to eliminate untrained or biased judges from our rosters. It reflects poorly on your school and your integrity when you place poorly qualified or prejudiced judges into the pool.
Information on judging NSDA events can be found here: https://www.speechanddebate.org/judge-training/
Legislation Submission: Each school entering Congressional Debate is encouraged, but not required, to submit one legislative item for the agenda. The full text of these bills - bearing ONLY the school name (not the name of an author) must be submitted as a Word attachment to pbcflcongress@gmail.com via email by 3pm Monday, March 4.
A full-text docket of preliminary round legislation and House supers legislation will be posted on Speechwire and the PBCFL web site (www.pbcfl.net) by Monday, March 11.
We are required to have a minimum of six bills/resolutions in prelims for debate. There will be a separate legislative packet for the final round.
When a bill or resolution comes up for debate, any student from the school that submitted the legislation may give an authorship speech. If no one from the school that authored the legislation is present in the chamber, then debate will begin with a first affirmative speech.
Legislative templates are available for use on http://www.pbcfl.net.
 Improperly formatted legislation can be rejected at the discretion of league officers.
Congress Schedule (Friday): Congress will convene by 730am Friday. Students and judges will go directly to their chamber by this time. Chamber and judge assignments will be posted by 715am. There needs to be 10 minutes per student per chamber "factored" into the length of the session.
The Congressional Debate schedule looks as follows, but could be expedited if the opportunity allows:
  • Preliminary Business 715-730am (includes setting the docket, electing a presiding officer, etc.)
  • Session 1 (includes two hours of actual debate): 730-10am
  • Session 2 (includes two hours of actual debate): 1015am-1245pm (RECENCY resets for Session 2)
  • Lunch Break: 100-130pm
  • House Finals (includes 2.5 hours of actual debate): 115-345pm HARD STOP


From I-95: Take Exit 79 (PGA Blvd.) and proceed east on PGA Blvd. 1.6 miles just past the Gardens Mall to the campus entrance on the right (south side).

From the Florida Turnpike: Take the Palm Beach Gardens / PGA Blvd. exit and go east 3.2 miles just past the Gardens Mall. The campus entrance is on the right (south side).

MAP OF THE CAMPUS: www.palmbeachstate.edu/locations/Documents/palmbeachgardens.pdf

It is best to park in the BLUE LOT near Building BB (Classroom Building).

Have students and judges meet in Conference Room BB-309. This will be the judge lounge as well.

PLEASE be on campus by 730am, so we can get Session 1 started on time (by 830am, preferably sooner!).

Chambers will be BB-301 (House A), BB-303 (House B), BB-311 (House C), BB-316 (House D), and BB-309 (Senate)

Tab will be BB-321.


NSDA High School Unified Manual

NSDA Single Entry Letter of Intent (required of any student who enters two or more NSDA national qualifier events, including Congressional Debate) Please bring them to the tournament!

Florida Oceanfront NSDA District "Student of the Year" Nomination Form - Nominate a deserving senior! Said senior does not need to be registered to compete at the tournament!

Florida Oceanfront Coach of the Year Nomination Form - Nominate a deserving coach!

Please note that the district committee will NOT use the student rank option.


Districts may send up to two (2) "World Schools Debate" teams to the National Tournament. Teams are comprised of three to five members from each district opting to participate. After the entire district tournament series (speech, debate, congress) is complete, any student who competed at districts would be eligible for participation on the World Schools District Team. Districts must provide one full-time judge for each team that competes at the National Tournament.

The Florida Oceanfront NSDA District WSD application process is as follows:

(1) Students must compete at the Florida Oceanfront NSDA District qualifier (in any event), and must rank WSD on the NSDA Letter of Intent.

(2) Competitive history/experience in debate events (Lincoln Douglas Debate, Public Forum Debate, World Schools Debate, Policy Debate, Mock Trial), Congressional Debate, and Extemporaneous Speaking.

(3) Seniority (seniors, juniors, sophomores, freshmen)

(4) World Schools Debate preference on their NSDA Letter of Intent.

(5) Auditions, if necessary (details TBD)

- Attempts will be made to keep students from the same school together as part of a specific team.

We look forward to working with you!
Your Florida Oceanfront NSDA District Committee:
Paul L. Gaba, Angela Anyzeski, Daryl Hall, Richard LoSardo, and Traci Lowe

Manager contact information

Paul Gaba
Email address: paul.gaba@palmbeachschools.org
Phone number: 561-352-0635

Mailing address

Florida Oceanfront NFL District, c/o Paul Gaba
21636 Juego Circle #22-E
Boca Raton, FL 33433

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