The Notre Dame Speech and Debate Team (formerly known as Forensics) has a long-standing tradition of excellence in competitive public speaking and debate.  Students have the opportunity to develop their communication skills as well as representing our school at several tournaments throughout the school year.

Practices Monday night from 6:30pm-8:30pm in Rooms 2 and 3.

The following is our Summer Library Schedule:

295 E. Center Street, Nazareth, PA 18064

11 West Church Street, Bethlehem, PA 18018

515 Church Street Easton, PA 18042
Includes brief team meeting

All sessions will take place from 10am-noon.

Prospective members are welcome to attend.

Coach Sal Rizzo

I have been involved with the Notre Dame Speech and Debate program (fka Forensics) for 39 years. Under the tutelage of the late Mrs. Eleanor Wise, I competed as a junior and a senior. I volunteered for the program for 14 years and I have been the coach for the better part of 23 years. I have coached several state and national award winners including the 2005 National Right to Life Oratory Contest National Champion, the 2014 National Speech and Debate Association Congressional Debate House National Champion and several state champions. Also one of my students was selected to be part of Team USA  in World Schools Debate. Our team has won several sweepstakes awards including a Debate Schools of Honor award from the National Speech and Debate Association and two Diocesan Cumulative Sweepstakes awards.  I have served as a member of the Pennsylvania High School Speech League District 8 Tournament Committee and have promoted speech and debate in several public appearances including a 2017 appearance on the Dare to Care radio program out of Marion,  Illinois. I also had the privilege to serve on the Pennsylvania High School Speech League 2016 State Tournament Committee.   I served as the PA Mideast Regional Coordinator for the National Right to Life Oratory Contest, from 1993-2014  through the support of Pennsylvanians for Human Life, Bethlehem/Easton Chapter of which I have been president since 2004.

Tournament Results

Congratulations to the following students who won awards at the Allentown Diocesan Forensics League National Qualifier at Northampton Community College on Sunday March 24:

Dramatic Performance: 1st place: Chris Bianchi; 3rd place: Sofia Ulsh

Also competing for Notre Dame was Gwendolyn Guo in Original Oratory.

Chris and Sofia will represent Notre Dame at the National Catholic Forensic League Grand National Tournament to be held May 24-27 in Milwaukee, WI.

Well done!

Congratulations to the following students who won awards at the E. L. Meyers HS Martin Luther King Open on Saturday March 30:

Martin Luther King Declamation: 5th place: Gwendolyn Guo

Varsity Dramatic Performance: 5th place: Chris Bianchi

Chris Bianchi also competing in Crisis Management and Gwendolyn Guo also participated in Varsity Original Oratory.

Congratulations to the following students who earned new degrees from the National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA):

Degree of Excellence: Gwendolyn Guo

Degree of Outstanding Distinction: Chris Bianchi

Chris becomes the eighth Notre Dame student in school history to earn the 1,000 NSDA points needed to receive this degree.

Well done!

Student Officers

Chris Bianchi, President
Nathalia Ulsh, Vice-President

Parent Board

Mrs. Renee Bianchi
Mrs. Maribel Ulsh

2005 National Champion

Fr. Stephan Isaac’s Career Highlights

  • 2005 National Right to Life Jane B. Thompson Oratory Contest National Winner (see Fr. Stephan’s Championship Speech in Resources section below)
  • NSDA Degree of Outstanding Distinction
  • Four-time NCFL National Qualifier: 2003: Original Oratory; 2004: Student Congress Semifinalist; 2005: Student Congress Semifinalist; 2006: Student Congress Finalist
  • Two-time PHSSL State Award winner: 2004: Student Congress, 3rd Place;  2006: Student Congress 3rd Place

Read Testimony

2014 National Champion

Abby Marone’s Career Highlights

  • 2014 NSDA Congressional Debate House National Champion
  • Member of 2014-2015 Team USA World Schools Debate
  • Earned NSDA Degree of Premier Distinction
  • Nine total National Tournament appearances (all in Congressional Debate/Student Congress):
    2012: NCFL, Semifinalist
    2013: Tournament of Champions, Semifinalist; NCFL, Semifinalist; NSDA, Semifinalist
    2013: PHSSL State Champion Student Congress Senate
    2014: Tournament of Champions, 5th place; NCFL, 4th place; NSDA, 1st place
    2015: Tournament of Champions, 5th place;  NSDA, 4th place

Read Testimony

2018-2019 Tournament Schedule

(tournaments marked individual participation are national events that the team does not attend, but students can. Also note that tournament dates and locations may be subject to change)

9/14-16: Yale Tournament – individual participation
10/12-14: New York City Invitational at Bronx Science – individual participation
10/27: Phillipsburg Invitational
11/3: ADFL/SCFL joint tournament at Abington Heights HS
11/17-18: St. Joseph’s University Villiger Tournament  – individual participation
11/30-12/2: George Mason – individual participation
11/30-12/2: Princeton Univ
12/8: LaSalle College HS
12/15: ADFL at Lafayette College
1/5: ADFL at Hunterdon Central HS
1/12: Shikellamy HS
1/19: E. L. Meyers HS MLK Open Tournament
1/26: Ridge HS
2/1-2: Pennsbury HS
2/9: ADFL at North Schuylkill HS
2/9-10: U Penn  – individual participation
2/23: PHSSL District 8 State Qualifier at TBA
3/2: ADFL National Qualifier at Northampton Community College
3/9-10: NSDA Valley Forge District National Qualifier at William Tennent HS
3/15-16: PHSSL State Tournament at Bloomsburg University
4/13: Holy Redeemer HS
4/15: Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation Video Oratory Contest Deadline (see Mr. Rizzo for details)
4/27-29: Tournament Of Champions at University of Kentucky – speech and debate invitational individual participation
4/27: Southern Lehigh HS
5/10-12: National Individual Events Tournament Of Champions at Millard North HS, Omaha, NE – speech invitational individual participation
5/24-27: NCFL Grand Nationals in Milwaukee, WI
6/16-21: NSDA Nationals in Dallas, TX
TBA: National Finals Pro-Life Oratory Contest at the National Right to Life Convention in Overland Park, KS

ADFL = Allentown Diocesan Forensics League, NCFL = National Catholic Forensic League,  NSDA = National Speech & Debate Assn.,

PHSSL = PA High School Speech League, SCFL = Scranton Catholic Forensics League