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MSA's Debate Team

Minnesota Math and Science Academy offers Debate as an extracurricular activity but it has serious academic benefits - ask Coach Boston for more information about the learning objectives under each Debate category.

Contact:  Head Coach Krista Boston, J.D.

Coach Boston has 8 years of competition experience in speech and debate at the highschool and collegiate level.  She competed in prose, poetry, drama, duo, humorous interpretation, storytelling and creative expression.  She is the recipient of many awards both in speech and debate.  She has an undergraduate B.S. in Communications and a Juris Doctorate (Law).

Number: 612-598-3916 (Texts are welcome and preferred)


Interested students should email Coach Boston to be added to the Google Classroom if they are interested in speech.


Forms: 2016-2017AthEligInfo (1).doc

Coaches form and waiver.pdf

What is Debate?
Debate has an ancient and honorable twenty-five-hundred-year history as the heart of Western Intellectual Tradition reaching as far back as Socrates, Plato and Aristotle.  And debate is the oldest, competitive State Tournament sponsored in the state of Minnesota.  Debate is such an integral part of our society that most of us don’t realize the lengthy and important history that debate has.  Additionally, debate helped lay the foundation for the democratic traditions that are at the basis of our American civilization.  Our constitution was written after a series of lengthy debates by our founding fathers.

But more importantly debate is a FUN and challenging activity where you get the chance to crush your opponents with your verbal finesse and cross-examine them until they submit to your obvious superior skills or at least until the timer goes off!

Interesting Facts about Debate

  • One study showed that over 80% of the current Congress were former debaters.

  • Another survey showed that of 703 former debaters at Ivy League institutions, 633 had at least 1 advanced degree and 209 had more than one.

  • One 2004 study suggested that the reading scores of debaters improved 25% more than non-debaters in only 1 year of debate and that their GPAs also improved.

  • 1/3 of top debaters go on to become lawyers.

  • ALL scientific studies conclude that debaters go onto leadership positions in a variety of fields: university educators, corporate executives, members of all branches of government, clergy, writers, scientists, publishers and lawyers.

    • The most recent study concluded not only that participation in competitive debate enhances critical thinking skills, but that compared to academic pursuits of a similar time length, competitive forensics demonstrates the largest gain in critical thinking skills.

    So, join Bill Gates, Jack Dorsey, Adam Sandler, John Wayne, FDR, Oprah, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Thomas Jefferson, Nelson Mandela, James Earl Jones, Antonin Scalia, Tom Brokaw, Jane Pauley, James Madison, Bill Clinton, Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt, JFK, Macolm X, Michael Strip, Lee Iacocca, John Wayne and Brad Pitt – Join Debate!  Learn about even more famous debaters through this youtube video sponsored by the National Speech and Debate Association:

    Type of Debate
    MNMSA competes in the Classic Debate League – which includes two-person teams.  At most tournaments, you will compete in four rounds of debate and you will be affirmative  (or you will support the topic) for two rounds, and negative (or against the topic) for two rounds.

The format is has each team taking either in the affirmitive or negative position to argue the resolution with evidence that must be accurately cited (from many sources mostly found on the internet) which focuses on debating a value versus a policy. Value debates generally focus on whether something is good or bad or right or wrong.

Debate is open to all 7th-12th graders and you don’t have to try out.  Just show up, be prepared to work and to have fun.  You get to debate with a partner and there are different levels of debate at each tournament, Novice (for beginners), Junior Varsity and Varsity.  

Topics for 2016 Fall Season
There will be two topics that you debate throughout the season. The first topic is chosen by the Minnesota Debate Coaches group and is:

Resolved: The United States federal government should pay financial reparations to African Americans to compensate for historic racial injustices."

The second topic for the 2016 season is Resolved: The United States should increase its military presence in the South China Sea in order to deter Chinese expansionism.   This topic will start November 5th.

Debate Practice and Communications

All announcements relating to the schedule and tournaments go up in the Google Classroom so sign up if you want to join debate by sending Coach Krista an email.

Currently, we are planning formal practices and preparation meetings on Wednesday mornings from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. Punctuality is important due to the limited practices time. Students that are late may not be able to attend tournaments.

Meetings take place before school in room 8 in Building A,

Coach Krista Boston or the Captains will hold some meetings on Saturdays as needed on non-tournament days as needed to prepare for tournaments.

Look for announcements in the Google Classroom. Debaters should be working diligently once the topic is announced in August and should begin prepping their cases and evidence right away/early in the season so that they are ready for tournaments and meetings.

Debate Tournament Schedule

Please save the following dates:

  • Saturday, October 1—Eastview
  • Saturday, October 8—Rochester Mayo
  • Saturday, October 15—Stillwater
  • Saturday, November 5—Minneapolis Southwest (team not attending)
  • Saturday, November 12—Minnetonka
  • Saturday, November 19—Mankato East
  • Fri-Sat, Dec. 2-3—South St. Paul

Sign up for tournaments happens during the class meetings.

Debate tournaments usually start around 8:30 am and we are usually done around 3:30 in the afternoon. There are usually snack stands but not necessarily easily available. So you may want to pack a lunch.

PLEASE TAKE NOTE. You will have to arrange your own transportation to the tournaments. PARENTS are encouraged on their own to help out if at all possible with car pools, as well. The coach cannot by policy help with transportation arrangements and will decline if asked so please do not ask.

Action if you want to join for 2016 school year

What you need to do:

  1. Please send Coach Krista Boston an email so that she can add you to the email list for updates throughout the summer and the season.
  2. In August, make sure to formally register for the morning debate meeting and sign up for the activity so that you get a spot!


If you have questions or concerns, please email Coach Krista Boston (



Jeffrey Parcher, The Value of Debate, Georgetown University., Whitney Shawnalee, Associate Professor of Communication, University of Alaska at Anchorage, Vanguard University and Linda M. Collier, Associate Professor of Communication, University of Missouri-Kansas City.

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