NSDA Nationals 2021 – Dale Lauder McCall Lincoln-Douglas Debate Top Speaker Award Announcement

June 8, 2021

The National Speech and Debate Association is extremely excited to award Dale Lauder McCall with the prestigious honor of recognition at the National Speech and Debate Tournament for years to come! Please watch this message announcing this award from NSDA Executive Director J. Scott Wunn and Marna Weston, a former student of Dale’s.

Dale McCall Honored – Announcement by Scott Wunn

The Florida Oceanfront NSDA District committee initiated this with a request for consideration two years ago this Thursday (June 10, 2019). We are pleased our humble request was put into action.

Here is the proposal email we sent to NSDA Executive Director Scott Wunn:

Dear Mr. Wunn,

We, the leadership of the Florida Oceanfront District, respectfully request the National Speech & Debate Association’s Lincoln Douglas Debate event at the national tournament be named in honor of Barbara Dale Lauder McCall. We believe her track record in the world of speech and debate more than merits this recognition.

Dale – dubbed “The Queen of Lincoln Douglas Debate” by the NSDA – retired in 2000 after a 32-year-long tenure of coaching debate in Palm Beach County. She earned more than 16,000 NSDA points, and was honored as a Sixth Diamond Coach on June 30, 2000.

During her time at both Twin Lakes High School and Wellington High School, Dale was named a “Key Coach” of the Barkley Forum at Emory University, elected to the NSDA Hall of Fame, and was the major figure in the implementation of Lincoln Douglas Debate, including codifying the original set of LD rules and practices. Emory’s final exhibition round of LD is named for her.

Dale served as the NSDA’s South Florida District chair, helped create the NSDA Florida Manatee District (where she also served as chair), and spearheaded the drive to create the NSDA Florida Orange Blossom (later Florida Panther, now Florida Oceanfront) District, of which Palm Beach County and Martin County debate programs are currently members. In addition, as a staunch advocate of academic freedom in the classroom, Dale was named winner of Florida’s Intellectual Freedom Award.

As coach at Twin Lakes, Dale coached National Boys Extemp Champion Barry Mann, who finished 4th two years earlier, as well as Jeannette Kuvin, runner-up in Oratory. In all, 51 qualifiers represented Twin Lakes at NSDA Nationals, many placing in late rounds of Lincoln Douglas, Policy Debate, Oratory, and Extemp.

The Twin Lakes chapter was one of Florida’s best at a time when Florida was a single NSDA district and one of the most competitive states in the nation. Dale’s Twin Lakes chapter won two Leading Chapter Awards, the District Plaque, and two District Trophies. Dale coached Florida’s Student Points Leader five different years. In 1986, Twin Lakes was second in the U.S. in enrollment of new degrees.

Dale’s greatest strength was working with parents, who formed a booster club, raised money, and judged.

After coming to Wellington in 1988, Dale achieved similar success, qualifying 13 students to eight nationals, including late-round competitors in Lincoln Douglas and Policy Debate. Under McCall, Wellington twice was the district’s largest chapter, and won the district trophy.

Since retiring 19 years ago, Dale served as treasurer of the Palm Beach Catholic Forensic League, and assisted in workshops for students and new coaches. She has been instrumental as a mentor for new and veteran coaches alike, including all of our committee members. Several of her former students have continued her legacy as debate coaches; many more have continued her legacy in their chosen professions.

Dale spearheaded creation of two mainstays within Palm Beach County. She created the Juvenile First Offender Program (also known as the Palm Beach County Youth Court program), where under-18 first-time non-violent offenders are given the opportunity to plead guilty and be sentenced by a jury of their teenage peers, with high school debaters acting as attorneys and jurors for these real juvenile criminal cases. The offender is placed on the witness stand and is asked questions by both the prosecution and the defense. Each side recommends a punishment and the jury leaves to deliberate a verdict. During that time, members of the legal community critique the student attorneys to teach them how to conduct themselves in a court of law. Youth Court affords debaters a practical application of their public speaking and cross-examination skills.

The second program Dale initiated is the Palm Beach School District’s National Competition Fund, where the district helps subsidize airline, lodging, and registration costs of national championship tournament participants. The fund was created after the Board of Education publicly praised Dale for her successes, and she responded that – while she appreciated the recognition – she would prefer the district find a way to financially assist students who qualified for national championships. As a result, the fund was created, and assists students in all elementary, middle, and high school programs – not just high school debate.

Dale was diagnosed with cancer late last year, and after undergoing chemotherapy, is currently in hospice. Until her diagnosis, Dale remained actively involved with the PBCFL as its treasurer.

Many other amazing coaches have received much-deserved accolades from the league over the years, in terms of scholarships, honors, and events named for them. We believe Dale is exceptionally worthy of recognition, and humbly request as such.


Paul L. Gaba, Florida Oceanfront Chair

Angela Anyzeski, Florida Oceanfront Committee Member

Daryl Hall, Florida Oceanfront Committee Member

Richard LoSardo, Florida Oceanfront Committee Member

Traci Lowe, Florida Oceanfront Committee Member