We are incredibly excited for the fourth season of Urban Debate in D.C. and Prince George’s County to begin. Last year was a year of incredible growth and achievement, and we expect even greater things this coming year.
This coming year’s topic is Immigration, an incredibly timely topic that defined the candidacy of now President Trump and that voters often rank as the most important issue for the 2018 mid-term elections. In this context, it is incredibly important for students to learn the nuances and details of this contentious policy area, and also to learn how to speak about it respectfully. Many students in the WUDL and in the wider academic community are immigrants or the children of immigrants themselves, and thus focusing on fact based, policy oriented disagreement is critically important to elevate our discourse above that which currently dominates our politics and to teach civic discourse and advocacy to a new generation of young people.
This year, the WUDL is focusing on growth at the high school level, adding at least 7 new high school programs, all of which qualify for Title 1 status (and 5 of which are in Wards 7 or 8 in D.C.). This growth will continue our mission of bringing the benefits of debate to students who need it the most.
While it still feels like mid-summer, the school year is now in full swing, with D.C. schools having been back for 2-3 weeks and Prince George’s County starting this week. Interest meetings, activity fairs, and open houses are happening around the city. Eastern High School has recruited 20 students to start the year, and we signed up more than 40 students at Thurgood Marshall Academy’s activity fair last week.
With all of these new programs (and several growing returning programs), the league is always looking for more assistant coaches. Ideally, these are volunteers with some sort of debate background who would partner with a WUDL school. They would be able to attend after school meetings at least every other week at approximately 3:00 PM (school release times and locations vary greatly), and share their knowledge with the teacher-coach and the students. Please shoot me an email or call if interested in assistant coaching.
The regular season starts at DC International on October 6th, 2018! We hope to see you all there to kick off another great season.
David Trigaux, WUDL Program Director
Right: Bowie’s Kevin Tezi at the Urban Debate National Championship. They ended up as the best team not qualifying to elimination rounds.
Announcements and Upcoming Events:
WUDL Happy Hour: September 26th 6-8 PM, Vapianos in DuPont
Kick off the academic year with the WUDL, hear about upcoming volunteering opportunities
Prizes available to the volunteers who brings the most friends!
WUDL Goes to GDS: September 28th -30th at Georgetown Day School
The WUDL will attend its first regional tournament of the season.
We entered 4 teams last year, and are bringing 10 this season.
WUDL Opening Day: October 6th, 2018 at DC International PCS
WUDL Wins Outstanding League Award:
Catalog of Philanthropy Endorsement:
4th Annual Matthew Ornstein Washington Summer Debate Institute:
138 students attended the summer debate institute, held July 23rd – August 3rd at Washington Latin PCS
Asha Verma (Kenmoor) was named the Matthew Ornstein Outstanding Debater, the first young woman to ever win the award.
Right: Asha Verma receives the Matthew Ornstein Outstanding Debater Award from Jonathan Collins (DuVal), the previous winner of the award
2017-2018 Year in Review:
Urban Debate National Championship (UDNC):
Three teams from the WUDL (Banneker, Bowie, and DuVal), qualified to this year’s UDNC. Four of the six students were just sophomores. The future is bright!
From Left: Kevin Tezi (Bowie), Coach Frantz Deetjen (Bowie), and Kamryn Jackson (Bowie), Ayia Evans (Banneker), Keoni Scott-Reid (WUDl Alum and Coach), Che Obiwuna (Banneker), David Trigaux (WUDL), Danielle Dupree (DuVal), Coach Dr. Omar Price (DuVal), and Ernest Ntangu (DuVal)
After School Debate Program:
We served 440 students and 39 schools last year, 146 students and 9 schools more than the year before.
Debate in the Classroom:
The WUDL expanded its partnership with D.C. Public Schools, with thousands of students participating in our Debate in the Classroom Initiative. Students read Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird in their 8th grade English classes, then apply their knowledge to a debate about modern issues surrounding race in the criminal justice system.
Paola Almendarez (DC International) and Paris Smalley (Charles Flowers High School) put what they learned this year into action, debating school choice at The Atlantic’s Education Policy Summit before a packed auditorium full of policymakers.
Above: Paris Smalley (Flowers) and Paola Almendarez (DCI) at the Atlantic’s Education Policy Summit in May
WUDL Students Go To College!
Urban Debate increases a student’s competitiveness and readiness for college. The class of 2018 was our first with a substantial class of graduates. All senior debaters college bound:
--Ayia Evans, Banneker High School: Simpson College
--Demetrius Sadler, Banneker High School: University of Rochester
--Sheldon Willett, Dunbar High School: Sewanee, College of the South
--Iyonna Young, DuVal High School: Michigan State University.
--Monet Smith, Bowie High School, Yale University.
Year Long Awards:
Benjamin Tasker Debate Team shows off their trophies after winning 1st place at the WUDL District Tournament in the Novice Division.
Sweepstakes Cup Winner: DuVal High School
High School Team of the Year: Bowie HS
Middle School Team of the Year: Alice Deal MS
Student Choice: Team of the Year: Capital City PCS
High School Debater of the Year: Jonathan Collins, DuVal High School
Middle School Debater of the Year: Edward Sun, Greenbelt Middle School
New Debater of the Year: Bilqiis Sheikh-Issa, DuVal High School
Student Choice: Debater of the Year: Myles Bell, Alice Deal Middle School
Judge’s Choice: Debater of the Year: Paola Almendarez, DC International PCS
Coach of the Year: Dr. Omar Price, DuVal High School
Best New Coach: Marcia Cole, Browne EC
DuVal High School Debate Team, pictured after winning the Sweepstakes Cup for Best Debate Program