Pennsylvania High School Speech League
The Pennsylvania High School Speech League is a high school forensics league. The PHSSL state championship takes place yearly in March at Bloomsburg University. Each qualifying event contains 2 qualifiers from each district throughout Pennsylvania, and the non-qualifying events have one student from each participating school.
History of PHSSL
PHSSL was founded in 1961, by Dr. Robert E. Dunham, to promote speaking throughout the entire state of Pennsylvania at Penn State University. The actual championship took place at Susquehanna University from 1992 through 2016. The PA High School Speech League moved to Bloomsburg University in June, 2016 and will begin hosting the PA State Drama Festival in January 2017 and will host the PA State Championship Tournament in March 2017. The championship has always been considered the "state championship" in Pennsylvania by allowing all schools to compete regardless of state affiliation.
The Pennsylvania High School Speech League publishes its own newsletter which is titled "The Communicator". PHSSL uses "The Communicator" to put forth information regarding leadership in the organization, plans, and records of student performance in the state championship.
The Pennsylvania High School Speech League chooses the officers in the organization based on their merit and dedication to promoting forensics. The election of officers is a democratic process. As of June 2016, the current leaders include:
- Executive Director
- Dr. Harry C. "Neil" Strine IV - Bloomsburg University
- Jodi Fetterolf - Bloomsburg University
- Board Members
- John Buettler- Holy Ghost Preparatory School
- Keith Brosious - Elk Lake High School
- Stacey Givens Cawley - Baldwin High School
- Barb Giuliano- Saint Joseph's Preparatory School
- Lisa Bompiani-Smith - Greater Latrobe High School
- David R. Long - Southern Lehigh High School
- Reed H. Messmore - Selinsgrove Area High School
- Bill Murray - Mechanicsburg Area High School
- W. Michael Nailor - Danville High School
- Kathleen O’Halloran - Norwin High School
- Hugh P. Ringer - Mercer Area High School
- Alice Ursin - Bethel Park High School
- Beth Young - North Catholic High School
- Dr. Neil Strine - Bloomsburg University
- District Chairs
- District 1 - Hugh P. Ringer Mercer Area High School & Bob Hall Fairview High School
- District 2 - Jeff Byko Pine Richland High School
- District 3 - Alice Ursin Bethel Park High School & Stacy Givens Cawley Baldwin High School
- District 4 - Mary Ann Berty Trinity High School
- District 5 - Cassie Thomas Windber Area High School
- District 6 - Christine Metcalfe Mechanicsburg High School
- District 7 - Nathan Lawver Delone Catholic High School
- District 8 - Keith Brosious Elk Lake High School & David Long Southern Lehigh High School
- District 9 - Ellen Boyer Shikellamy High School
- District 10 - Bonnie Perry Harriton High School
- District 11 - Ray Shay La Salle College High School
- District 12 - Shawn Eliason Harry S. Truman High School
- District 14 - Holly Smith Penn Cambria High School
Hall of Fame
PHSSL has created a hall of fame for great participants, coaches, and supporters of forensics. The Pennsylvania High School Speech League's hall of fame came into existence in 1986, and has inducted at least one member ever since.
PHSSL features many events, most of which are qualified for at district tournaments, but several are coach given bids. A list of events from the PHSSL Website:
Drama: Competition in drama is held at the regional and state levels. A school performs a one-act play or cutting of a longer work with more than two characters. Two schools advance from each region to the state finals. Competitions are held during the first semester.
Policy Debate: A clash of two, two-person teams, one affirmative and one negative, on the annual national policy resolution. The affirmative presents a case for change in the present system. The negative supports the present system or a counter-proposal for change.
Public Forum Debate: A clash of two 2-person teams, one pro and one con on a contemporary resolution. National topics change every month.
Lincoln-Douglas Debate: A clash of two debaters, one affirmative and one negative, on a values topic.
Parliamentary Debate: A clash of two 3-person teams, one for the resolution and one against the resolution. Rounds can be either on a prepared topic or an impromptu topic chosen 30 minutes before the start of the round. Topics are chosen by the Executive Board for the District and State Tournaments.
Oral Interpretation of Poetry: A contestant interprets with script in hand one or more poems. Time limit: 10 minutes.
Oral Interpretation of Prose: A contestant interprets with script in hand a cutting from a short story or novel. Time limit: 10 minutes.
Dramatic Interpretation: A contestant chooses a cutting from a serious play and memorizes it. The student recreates the scene using appropriate gestures and voices. Time limit: 10 minutes.
Humorous Interpretation: A contestant chooses a cutting from a humorous play and memorizes it. The student recreates the scene using appropriate gestures and voices. Time limit: 10 minutes.
Informative Speaking: Original speeches teach or explain a concept or idea. Time limit: 7 minutes.
Extemporaneous Speaking: A contestant is provided three current events topic on politics, economics, or culture to choose from and selects one. Preparation time: 30 minutes. Time limit: 7 minutes.
Persuasive Speaking: Original speeches convince the audience. Time limit: 10 minutes.
Extemporaneous Commentary: A continuation of both extemporaneous and persuasive speaking. It can be both informative and advocative. Knowledge of events and some history is required. Contestants seated at a table or desk for the presentation. Preparation time: 30 minutes. Time limit: 7 minutes.
Duo Interpretation of Literature: “Literature” is defined as a single stage, screen, television, radio play, fictional or non-fictional work or poem. All selections must be published or commercially available in print, audio, or video form. Time limit: 10 minutes.
In addition, competition in the following events are held at the state level only:
Radio Announcing: A contestant presents a two-minute news broadcast. In subsequent rounds, prepared scripts are used.
Impromptu Speaking: In a limited amount of time a student prepares a brief speech on topics such as proverbs, aphorisms or quotations. Preparation time: 5 minutes. Time limit: 5 minutes.
Student Congress: In this event students take on the roles of legislators. Using parliamentary procedure, students debate bills and resolutions on current issues.
- 2014 - North Allegheny High School
- 2013 - Holy Ghost Preparatory
- 2012 - Danville High School
- 2011 - McDowell High School
- 2010 - Holy Ghost Preparatory
- 2009 - Holy Ghost Preparatory
- 2008 - Holy Ghost Preparatory
- 2007 - Holy Ghost Preparatory
- 2006 - Mount Lebanon High School
- 2005 - Holy Ghost Preparatory
- 2004 - Holy Ghost Preparatory
- 2003 - Holy Ghost Preparatory
- 2002 - Holy Ghost Preparatory
- 2001 - Scranton High School
- 2000 - Holy Ghost Preparatory
- 1999 Holy Ghost Preparatory
- 1998 Holy Ghost Preparatory
- 1997 Holy Ghost Preparatory
- 1996 Holy Ghost Preparatory
- 1995 Holy Ghost Preparatory