pictured are the competitors in Extemporaneous Speaking at the 1929 state speech tournament.
The Kentucky High School Speech League hasn't lasted 100 years by accident. It's taken the hard work of many students and coaches, support from schools and school districts and universities and statewide groups, and a belief by all that giving kids opportunities to grow as communicators helps them develop their minds over the chatter of everyday chaos.
The KHSSL Hall of Fame recognizes those individuals who have been instrumental in our League's success over time.
If you last a hundred years, you have a little history to tell. KHSSL is lucky to have much of its history chronicled by WKU's Randall Capps, a past communications department chair and speech and debate coach at Western. He is also a member of the inaugural class of the KHSSL Hall of Fame.
Additional history has been maintained by the membership and the Executive Directors, especially Chris Chandler of WKU Forensics, who has made KHSSL research a passion project.
KHSSL is grateful to all who help us tell the story of Kentucky speech and debate.
Debate was KHSSL's first contest, and we have a long record of our state's winners in various debate events plus the team debate sweepstakes awards that were established later.
We're proud as pickles of our youngest speakers and welcome students in grades 4-8 to compete at the Junior level. We have a long history of offering contests for younger students and are proud to recognize the state champions here.
Our largest contest each year (for the last few decades) has been the senior high state speech contest. With dozens of schools around the state competing for the bragging rights of being the State Champions, it's always a great meet where the greatest in the state meet!
With the addition of debate in 2020, each of the three state tournaments now has a Sustained Excellence (Traveling) Trophy. Each year, a school's sweepstakes points earned at the state tournament are added to the prior total. The school with the highest total is named the Sustained Excellence winner for that year, recognizing not only outstanding scores but sustained excellence over time. In theory, any school who competes year to year can win this award! The winner each year is reset to zero points and begins the climb again!
In 2021, in celebration of our 100th year of hosting the state speech tournament, we preserved our state champions and runners-up in our oldest event, Oratory. Click on the picture for video links to these champion speakers!