This year, the Ridge Forensics Team will undergo a drastic shift in the way students participate and compete. For the first time in almost fifteen years, there will be no audition process to join the team. Rather, students will demonstrate their abilities and skill via the new Ridge Speech and Debate Club. The Ridge Speech and Debate Club is open to any student who wants to learn how to improve their communication skills. Students do not have to commit to a set number of meetings nor do they have to commit to a specific type of speech or debate event. The club will meet twice a month. One meeting will provide skill-based instruction along with an overview of that month’s highlighted events. The second meeting will feature an in-house tournament experience where students will be able to practice and demonstrate their skills in a chosen event. The meetings will be competitive yet non-threatening, offering a fun and enjoyable opportunity. Prizes will be awarded for both participation as well as achievement. Again, RSDC students are not committed to a set number of events, nor to a set level of participation; however, RSDC members can also be invited to attend and even compete at select weekend tournaments if they demonstrate adequate progress at the club level. The RSDC will provide a more social and growth-based mindset. RSDC members will also be invited to help at our hosted tournaments. RSDC parents are invited to help with judges and concessions; however, it is not mandatory. The Ridge Forensics Team will continue to work toward achievement at the national level. Last year, Ridge Forensics established itself as one of the preeminent teams in the nation, ranking highly with the National Speech and Debate Association, the National Catholic Forensic League, and being named the second place team on the debaterankings.com website. Opportunities with the Ridge Forensics Team will be determined based upon a number of factors: - Skill and ability level - Participation - Commitment to Growth and Team Success - Organization An invitation to be an official member of the Ridge Forensics Team will happen once the student takes the initiative to learn the skills via the club experience and other resources, takes advantage if invited to the competition level, and demonstrates a continuing commitment, work ethic, and growing skill set. Again, RSDC students will have to be invited to compete at several weekend events, take advantage of such opportunities, participate in team practice and coaching sessions, and demonstrate significant skill and/or growth at the event(s) in order to be considered for RFT membership. This will be measured by the coaches of the team along with the judges at the tournament(s). Once invited to be on the official roster of the Ridge Forensics Team, students are expected to compete on a continuing basis at local, regional, and national events. They are expected to participate and engage at practice sessions per their event captains and coaches’ scheduling.Even when not competing at tournaments, RFT members are dedicated to helping their team and club members’ succeed. Team members are invited and expected to compete at the national level events. Team members are also expected to maintain a diligent and continued practice schedule with coaches, captains, and alumni. If a team member does not maintain the expected level of commitment, he/she will be invited to participate at the club level only. Once a RFT member, students are required to assist with our hosted events, and parents are required to assist with judging and concessions efforts. Parents may still pay the ‘hired judging fee’ to cover this obligation if their schedule does not permit such involvement. The Director of Forensics, under the direction of the RHS Administration and with advisement of the coaching staff, retains the right to make changes to all Ridge Forensics Team and Ridge Speech and Debate Club policies, procedures, and opportunities as it pertains to one or more students. FOR RETURNING MEMBERS: With this new mindset, we are temporarily suspending the ‘bye’ system and mandatory tournament schedule. RFT members will be required to sign up for the tournaments they wish to attend, noting that RF success expands across many different circuits of competition. Participation in one circuit versus another circuit does not advance nor contribute to the team effort and team success. The well-rounded competitor serves the team in a more significant manner. Students will also be required to sign up for tournaments, along with practice and work sessions. Coaches and captains will be continue holding regular practice sessions as always; however, students’ participation and engagement is voluntary. Please keep in mind that skill, participation, and teamwork are requisite to be considered for tournament opportunities and to maintain status on the team.