Great American Youth Debates

Great American
Oratorical Speech Contest

2021 Topics

Poverty & Economic Inequality

Race relations in the United States

The future of American Democracy

Government & political polarization

Eligibility: Grades 9-12 (including graduating seniors)

Program Description: Great American Youth Debates (GAYD) is an enriching educational program that brings together youth leaders from diverse backgrounds and communities to find solutions to important issues facing their communities.  This year, our youth leaders have chosen to address the issue: ‘With Liberty and Justice for All.’ 

Contest Information 

  • Selected applicants will be required to write and present a five-minute persuasive speech based on a selected topic.
  •  Judges will evaluate each presentation based on speech organization, content, and speaker persuasiveness.
  • Speaker scores will be combined for an overall point total.
  • Top speakers will advance to the final rounds of competition.
  • $1,500 first place prize.

How to apply

Complete and submit an online application by May 1st.  Selected speakers will be provided with additional information regarding tournament rules and judging criteria.

Application Closed

Event Schedule:

Preliminary Rounds

Saturday, May 15th (9am-12pm)

Live via Zoom


Semi-Final Rounds

Saturday, May 15th (1pm-3pm)

Live via Zoom 


Final Rounds

Saturday, May 29th

Time & Location To Be Announced