The Media Is Welcome at NITOC!

On Stage at Focus on the Family: 599 speakers and debaters will be competing June 4-9

Are you a member of the media? The National Invitational Tournament of Champions (NITOC) is a major event that you may want to include in your communications medium. Contact Kurt Leander by email or phone at (719) 531-3362 for information or requests for interviews.

Press Release

Released May 10, 2012 [Download PDF Version]
Released May 29, 2012 [Download PDF Version]

Kurt Leander
(719) 531-3362


Colorado Springs, Colo., May 29, 2012 – Academic speech and debate has been a favorite home-school activity since 1996. It has grown so popular among home educators that this year's final competition taking place June 5-9 at Focus on the Family has become the largest tournament in its 16 year history.

Families from 26 states will gather for a week of competition at the National Invitational Tournament of Champions (NITOC), the last tournament of the school year. Stoa, a California-based organization that runs the tournament, consists of 1,100 families and nearly 2,000 students.

"We describe ourselves as a Christian home-school speech and debate organization," says Scott York, Stoa's president. "We write the rules and set the boundaries for competition. Smaller tournaments are run throughout the year, all leading to the grand finale, NITOC."

Students compete in 11 speech events and two types of debate. The speech events include categories of literature interpretation, oratory, and impromptu. One format of debate, Team-Policy, consists of two-person teams arguing policy topics. The second is a value-based, one-on-one format called Lincoln-Douglas, named after the famous 19th century debates between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas.

Chris Jeub, a resident of Monument and the superintendent of the tournament, believes forensics is the best form of education. "I see speech and debate as anything but 'extra' curricular," Jeub says. "All students should be masters at thinking and speaking."

The tournament will hold 599 students, many competing in more than one event. Students were invited based on their success in at least two earlier competitions. The requirement needed to receive a speech invitation included placing in the top 40 percent; a winning record was required for an invitation in debate.

The entire campus of Focus on the Family will be used during the week, even during their working hours. Over 1,000 volunteers are signed up to judge rounds, but Jeub says more are needed. "Not much is more entertaining than judging these fine young people, and we could really use the help."

The event is open to the community, and anyone that is at least 18 years old and a high-school graduate is welcome to judge. No previous judging experience is required and training is provided at the tournament. Potential judges and community members are encouraged to visit the tournament website,, for more information.


Stoa USA is a national competitive Christian home-school speech and debate league with nearly two thousand students across the country. To find out more about Stoa speech and debate, visit



Filming and Interviewing Requests

All media must check in at the front desk of the Administration Building of Focus on the Family to receive security clearance for filming. NITOC staff will be available to orientate media for best places to interview and film.

There are several opportunities to interview students and families between rounds. Special permission to film students in competition can be sought by contacting Kurt Leander to make proper arrangements. Understand that the students are in national competition, so media is not allowed to film competitive rounds without prior approval from Mr. Leander.

Media Aids

Tournament Name: The National Invitational Tournament of Champions
Tournament Superintendent: Chris Jeub
Tournament Director: Dr. Chris Leland
Organization's name and website: Stoa
Organization's President: Scott York

Mr. Jeub, Dr. Leland, and Mr. York will all be in Colorado Springs at the tournament during the week.

You may download and use this NITOC art piece for your media purposes:

Understanding the Events and Rounds

Please review the detailed schedule. The debates are team-policy and Lincoln-Douglas formats. There are 11 speech categories split into two flights (A and B), the specific types of speeches to be listed by May 24. Students will congregate on the back lawn of Focus on the Family and in the Chapelteria throughout the tournament. Major events outside competition are:

  • Stoa University and Check-in on Monday
  • The Thursday Night Social, yet to be determined location
  • The Award Ceremony, New Life Church, Saturday evening

VIPs on Campus

This year's NITOC will feature several ministry founders, authors and professional speakers, civil servants and community leaders as volunteer judges through the week. The following is a growing list of people who have indirectly touched the lives of the homeschool speech and debate community. This is a growing list till NITOC:

NITOC will have vendor booths and program ads from organizations that likewise serve the community of homeschool speakers and debaters. This is also a growing list:

Social Media

The latest NITOC announcements will be made in the following social media: