Why we are called the “Jesters”

Keeping in line with the school mascot of “Knight,” the court jester was a voice that could speak truth to power at a time when speaking such truth could land one in the stockades. The jester enjoyed a “freedom from all constraint” in communications and commentary that often indicted power, vanity and ridiculousness. The jester had a seat at the table with those in power and reminded them about them about the value of humility and understanding.

Join the jesters

The Midtown Jesters are Midtown High School’s award-winning (14-time consecutive State Champions!) Speech and Debate Team. As members of the National Speech and Debate Association, all Jesters commit to upholding the highest standards of integrity, humility, respect, leadership, and service in the pursuit of excellence. Jesters learn how to formulate a persuasive argument, develop and advocate a particular point of view, deal with failure and embarrassment, and more. And it is all done in a supportive and diverse environment. There’s an event for everyone from the aspiring policy wonk, actor, or person who just likes to win an argument.

Ready to join? Create your account to to begin registration.

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Speech and debate events

Speech events: Dramatic Interpretation, Duo  Interpretation, Humorous Interpretation, Program Oral Interpretation, Original Oratory, Informative  Speaking, and Extemporaneous Speaking. Debate events: Public Forum, Lincoln Douglas, Policy, and Congressional. 

Check out the NDSA Competition Events Guide for details on each event. 

Choosing an event

Students typically choose to compete in either Debate or Speech. Students in Debate focus on one event, but students in Speech events may compete in multiple events. You will have a chance to explore different events and find the one(s) that interest you the most. There’s something for everyone from policy wonks to born performers. Space in certain events might be limited. 

Tournament travel

Jesters compete in tournaments on the weekends, with tournaments occurring almost every weekend during the fall semester. Most tournaments occur on Saturdays (often starting Friday afternoons, which may mean leaving school early) at other schools across Georgia. State championships are in February, and the National Championship tournament is June. Students new to the team usually compete in a Novice or JV category, but can compete at the Varsity level as well. Students are not required to attend every tournament, but many compete in 6-10 tournaments a year.

Students usually travel together to tournaments via bus. A typical tournament day will have the team boarding the bus at Midtown very early Saturday morning and returning late in the evening.

membership fees & tournament costs

First and foremost, we do not limit participation based on the ability for a family to pay. We have a generous scholarship fund that is made available to those families who may need it – please just make sure you or your student let the coaches or the booster board treasurer know that you are interested in a scholarship.  

Membership fees for non-scholarship students are $125 for 1st year Jesters and $225 for returning Jesters. If a payment plan for membership fees would be helpful, please let the booster board treasurer know.

Non-scholarship students also pay tournament and travel fees for each tournament they attend. An estimate of the fees is provided in advance of each tournament and students are invoiced following the tournament based on the actual cost of attending.

tournament attire

Students normally wear business attire for tournaments. Team members and parents can point you in the direction of reasonably priced business attire, so just ask! 

family requirments for every jester*

  • MidtownJesters.org registration for each student and at least one parent,  permission form, and payment of annual membership fees
  • Parents: Judging for at least 2 tournaments per year + Carter/King Tournament
  • Parents: See the Jester’s Financial Policy/Obligations document for a better understanding of costs of this activity.
  • Students: Volunteering at Carter/King Tournament  (students earn community service hours)


Judging at tournaments and/or otherwise volunteering to help the parent board are required in order to help the Jesters succeed.  Speech and debate tournaments rely heavily on parent volunteers from all participating schools to judge; if we do not have enough parent volunteers, we have to pay hired judges and in some instances, judges may not be available and a tournament could be canceled.

Parents are required to judge for a minimum of two tournaments a year in addition to helping at the Carter King tournament, which Midtown HS hosts. Judging is fun and your parent doesn’t need any experience at all. Really! 

Parking Lot Fundraiser

Our Parking Lot Fundraiser raises lots of money for the team and is a good way to get to know other parents and kids. Ours will be in the Spring on May 25 for the Atlanta Jazz Festival. Stay tuned to sign up and help raise money!

Carter/King Tournament

We host this tournament at Midtown. Students do not compete in this tournament, but help run the event — and earn volunteer service hours, which are required for graduation! It is a massive undertaking and requires mandatory participation from students (running the tournament and recruiting judges) and parents (judging and volunteering in other ways).

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