DuVal High School Senior Jonathan Collins has been named the National Urban Debater of the Year. The award, given out by the National Association of Urban Debate Leagues, recognizes the student that best combined competitive excellence, resilience, character, and leadership in the debate community.
Jonathan has previously won the Ornstein Outstanding Debater award (2017) and the High School Debater of the Year award (2018), the highest awards available from the WUDL, and played a leading role in bringing home the WUDL Sweepstakes Cup to DuVal High School in 2018 and likely in 2019.
"When the day started, nothing stood out to me that today would be special. I went to school, learned new things, went home, and played some basketball at the local rec. center. When going to the gym, I don’t bring my phone with me, so I missed a few phone calls and had many text messages in my inbox after the news came in. Upon coming home, I checked my email and read that I had been selected as the 2019 National Urban Debater of the Year.
In that moment, the two biggest feelings that surged through me were happiness and gratefulness.
I was happy to be honored with this award and extremely grateful to all those who sacrificed and contributed to my success in the years leading up to this award. I thought about the first leap of faith I took to join the debate team in the eighth grade despite feeling unworthy, nervous, and shy. I was glad that I took that leap, and thankful to the god that I worship for creating the conditions in my life that allowed me to succeed.
This award means the world to me, and personally signifies a growing bud of hope in my community. I’m glad that young children just like me can use debate, and other activities that are now becoming available, to advance their lives and interests."