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Debate & Speech Team
Contact TypeContact Information
MERHS Debate & Speech Team
36 Lincoln Street
Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA 01944-1151
(978) 526-4412
(978) 526-2046
By Appointment
Team Information
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Coaching Staff
Email Address
Coach Emeritus
Travel Coordinator
Finance Coordinator
Scholarships & Grants
Team History

        In interscholastic competition, Manchester Essex has achieved great success. Founded in 1971, the team gained national recognition for its debate and speech program by winning both the National Forensic League Policy debate championship (Cincinnati, OH) and the National Tournament of Champions (Lexington, KY) in 1987. In 1988, Manchester Essex won the nationally noted Montgomery Bell Academy (Nashville, TN) Round Robin in Lincoln-Douglas debate. In February of 2002, Manchester Essex won the Harvard University national invitational tournament in Lincoln-Douglas debate. The 2005-2006 season resulted in championships at the Yale Invitational, The Glenbrooks (Chicago, IL), and the third national championship in the team’s history with a victory in Public Forum debate at the National Tournament of Champions. In 2006, MERHS also finished sixth in the nation at the National Forensic League Championships in Public Forum Debate. In 2007-2008 the team qualified eight different students to attend the three foremost national debate championships and won a major tournament in January at Myers Park HS in Charlotte, NC. The team currently enjoys a 14-year streak of qualifying to represent New England at all three national final tournaments (TOC, NCFL, and NFL).
        Recently, the team has engaged in several projects beyond our normal competition season. In 1992 Manchester Essex represented the United States in the World Schools Debating Championships in London. In April of 2000, 16 Manchester Essex debaters traveled to Athens, Greece to participate in international parliamentary debate, and Manchester Essex won the tournament and the top speaker honors. Through the United Nations’ The People Speak initiative, debate and speech students have sponsored a series of community forums including for the Manchester Women’s Club and intergenerational debates with residents of the nearby Brooksby Village retirement community. Consistently recognized as one of the leading debate and speech programs in New England, Manchester Essex was coached from 1971-2005 by Timothy C. Averill, a member of the National Forensic League Hall of Fame and the 2005 NFL National Debate Coach of the Year.