I have competed in speech and debate since the very beginning of my freshman year of high school. My main competitive event is Extemporaneous Speech (extemp). In Extemp, each round, competitors receive three questions on any current event in the world and spend thirty minutes reading, writing, practicing, and memorizing a seven-minute speech to answer the question. Competitors are then ranked. I am the captain of my school's Extemp team, and I qualified for all three Tournament Of Champions (placed in the top 24), my State Championship (placed in the top 14), and the National Championship (placed 33'rd) during my Sophomore year.
The NSDA (National Speech and Debate Organization) awards points for every tournament you compete in, and points are cumulative over all years of high school.
I am a member of the National Speech and Debate honor society with the highest honor for a student ("Premier Distinction") and currently hold the second most honor points of anyone for my event in California and the eleventh in the nation (these rankings fluctuate week to week, it could be higher or lower). However, honor points are cumulative over your high school years, and I am the highest-ranked junior in California.
The NSDA (National Speech and Debate Organization) holds a National Championship Tournament every year attended by hundreds of students in each event who qualify in district tournaments.
The NIETOC (National Individual Events Tournament of Champions) holds a National Championship Tournament every year attended by hundreds of students in each event who qualify in national-level tournaments.
Northwestern University holds the Extemp Tournament of Champions, the most prestigious National Championship Tournament in the nation, every year attended by one hundred students invited from success at national-level tournaments.