The WUDL keeps growing, whether we try to or not! This past weekend was our largest tournament ever (a common refrain this semester). This season was supposed to be a year of consolidation and our next phase of growth, but the demand for debate programs among local youth continues to amaze use.
Highlights from this weekend's tournament:
-Director of Debate at the U.S. Naval Academy and American Debate Association Chairwoman Danielle Verney O'Gorman came by to judge some rounds and speak to our students. We greatly appreciate her visit and the time she spent listening to our students.
My goal is to create an atmosphere where every student is thinking about attending college and is well informed about how debate can help them achieve those goals. I especially want to highlight some of the local schools that have great debate programs. When I first speak with many students, especially those who will be the first generation in their family to attend college, they are only familiar with the famous Ivy League schools such as Harvard and MIT, and extremely local options they might drive by, such as UDC, PGCC, and Bowie State. There are an array of great local schools in the area that can help students get into, and pay for college, the question is making sure students and their families have the information to make informed decisions about their college choices.
-Ballou High School made their long awaited competitive debut, which is some ways was three years in the making. With fresh coaching, the team is ready to shine. Keion Fair led the way, debating alone most of the tournament and winning half his rounds, a very strong debut this last in the season.
-Largo High School made a splashy return to competition, winning the Novice Division and taking 3rd and 9th overall speaker in the Novice Division. Good job team and Coach Hawkins!
A lot of teams had strong performances in Novice, and will make their way to JV for the spring semester:
-Largo's Ike Ihejirika and Jada Battle
-Benjamin Tasker's Stephanie Maceiko and Tremayne Beivens
-Washington Latin's Kayla Park and Ifeoluwa Akinsanya
-Kenmoor's Cristal Lucero and Zora Henneghan
-Fredrick Douglass' Ayana Calloway and Angel Atounah
-DuVal's April Lavadia and Uqamusi Ewanehi
-Inspired Teaching's David Sipos and Kennedy Thomas-Williams
Similarly, a number of teams wrote themselves a ticket to Varsity:
-Kenmoor's Aisha Bah and Maya Cleveland
-Charles Flower's Rophy Paul and Nellsie Harris
DuVal dominated the Varsity Division, taking 11/15 trophies available in the Division. This is tremendous credit to the coaching of Dr. Price and Patrick Wilborn, and to the students themselves who have established a winning team culture that works together to improve everyone.