Meet our Speech & Debate faculty!
Director of Speech & Debate, Social Studies Teacher | Mother Teresa
Joe Walberg is a Parent, Teacher, Coach, Mentor, Nerd, Believer, Ultracrepidarian, Cartophile, and head coach of the Speech and Debate team of St. James Academy. He was the 2017 recipient of the SJA Teacher of Excellence award, a 2020 Fellow of the Duc in Altum Catholic Schools Collaborative, and the 2022 District New Coach of the Year for the National Speech and Debate Association. He and his wife Erin are raising two lucky-but-unimpressed children, Leah and Jack.
What have you that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if it were not a gift? - 1 Corinthians 4:7
History Government and Social Studies 6-12, Speech/Theatre 6-12, Business 6-12, Technology Education 6-12
University of Kansas: B.G.S. Political Science
Avila University: Master of Arts in Education: Teaching and Learning
Joe Walberg has been the Head Coach of the Speech & Debate program since 2021. Previously, he has coached Mock Trial, Scholars Bowl, Thunder Broadcasting Network, & SJA Field & Track. He was a 2017 SJA Teacher of Excellence award winner, a 2021 Fellow of the Duc in Altum Catholic Schools collaborative, and the 2022 Three Trails District New Coach of the Year.
NATIONAL FORENSIC LEAGUE HONOR SOCIETY
Performers and Debaters are enrolled in the National Speech & Debate Association and may earn various degrees by successfully competing in tournaments. Speech & Debate team members who achieve the Degree of Special Distinction are entitled to wear NFL Honors Society cords at Graduation.
Speech & debate calendar
The Policy Debate season is in the Fall Semester. Competitions are held on Saturday mornings through mid-afternoon at high schools across the state. The first competition is in September; the Post-Season begins in December and finishes at the KSHSAA State Tournament in January.
The Speech & Drama season is in the Spring Semester. Competitions are held on Fridays after school and Saturday mornings through mid-afternoon at high
schools nationwide. The first competition is in January; the KSHSAA State Festival and Championship Tournament is in May.
Students may qualify to the National Speech & Debate Association national tournament held in mid-June.
Introduction to Policy Debate
A beginner’s course in argumentation, research, and speaking skills, for and against a particular topic in public policy. This is a co-curricular program that requires students to perform in a number of weekend debate tournaments against other Kansas schools.
Advanced Policy Debate
A program for students who want to grow as public speakers and researchers, as well as pursue higher levels of competition. This is a co-curricular program that requires students to perform in a number of weekend debate tournaments against other Kansas schools. Students often re-enroll in this class year after year to continue growing as a debater; successful debaters also participate in other speech/debate/drama competitions in the spring semester.
Speech & Drama Performance
Sometimes called “Forensic Speech”, this course offers students opportunities to learn public speaking, debate, and/or dramatic performance skills in interscholastic competition. It is a co-curricular program that requires students to perform for audiences and judges in festivals and tournaments across Kansas. Students often re-enroll in this class year after year to continue growing as a performer