Richmond to host 2026 National Speech & Debate Tournament
The National Speech and Debate Tournament will be coming to the state’s capital in 2026.
For Meadowbrook high school seniors Johnnae Davis and David Calderon, speech and debate club is more than just public speaking skills.
“So far, it's been amazing, speech and debate is like a family to me," Calderon said confidently. "It's’ so great.”
Calderon said he incredibly excited for the national speech and debate tournament to come to Richmond even if he will have graduated from high school and won't be able to participate. But he plans to come back and volunteer.
Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, meanwhile, said he has plenty of experience in both speech and debate and used his other favorite pastime to illustrate just how big a deal the 2026 event will be.
“To put this into football terms, this is the Super Bowl of speech and debate right here in metro Richmond,” Stoney said.
But National Speech & Debate Association executive director Scott Wunn went a step further and instead called it the "The Olympic games of speech and debate."
“Your city will host the finest performers, the best public speakers and the greatest debaters from across the land and we cannot wait to join you,” Wunn said.
And even if she can’t participate in the big competition, Davis is grateful for the lessons she’s learned from Speech and Debate so far.
“I’m more confident when speaking, making eye contact, and giving speeches in front of a lot of people,” she said, also promising to volunteer for the event.
The National Speech and Debate Tournament starts in Richmond on June 14, 2026.