Serving middle and high schools in the Greater Washington DC Metropolitan area
Who We Are

Founded in 1952, The Washington-Arlington Catholic Forensic League (WACFL) is a speech and debate league open to all public and private middle and high schools in the greater Washington DC Metropolitan area.  We run tournaments most Saturdays from October through March.

Participating in Speech and Debate helps students develop skills that can be useful throughout their lives, such as critical thinking, communication, and research.  Students learn to express themselves confidently, respond to challenges, and analyze complex issues from multiple perspectives.  Speech and debate also helps students build confidence, be creative, and collaborate. Participating students often perform better academically and form lifelong friendships with their teammates and students from other schools.

Speech and Debate is for everyone.   All students should consider joining their school’s team.  If your school doesn’t have a team, let us help you form one!

The Value of Participation

According to the National Speech and Debate Association, of students who compete in speech and debate:

0 %

Experience higher self-esteem.

0 %

Attend classes more regularly.

0 %

See an increase in their reading test scores.

0 %

Improve their analytical skills.

Tournament Schedule

WACFL is a closed league, meaning only member schools can participate in our tournaments.  However, all middle and high schools in the greater Washington DC Metropolitan area are welcome to join.  Contact us to learn more about how to become a WACFL school.  New coaches, judges and students may request to observe some competition rounds to learn more about how this amazing activity works.  Or better yet, adults can volunteer to judge at a tournament!  We’ll teach you everything you need to know and it’s a great way to learn about each event. 




Judge Training

Annandale HIgh School

October 5, 2024

Lincoln-Douglas, Congress and Speech 1

Charles Colgan SHS, Manassas, VA

October 19, 2024

Public Forum and Policy 1

Woodbridge Senior High School

October 26, 2024

Middle School only: Public Forum and Lincoln Douglas Debate

Congressional School,
Falls Church, VA

November 2, 2024

Speech Events

Speech (aka Forensics) are presentations by one or two students.  There are two categories of speech events, public address and interpretive.  Public address events feature speeches that can answer a question, share a belief, persuade or educate an audience.  Interpretative events are performance focused and appeal to students who enjoy acting and theatre.  WACFL offers seven different speech events from which students can choose.

Debate Events

Debate involves one or two students working to convince a judge that their side of a resolution or topic is more valid. Students in debate come to thoroughly understand both sides of a current public policy issue, having researched each side extensively in advance. Competitors learn to think critically about how to respond to arguments that could be made on each side.  WACFL offers four different styles of debate from which students can choose.

What Students Say