After School Debate Program 

Debate is a sport of the mind, where students work together with a team organized at their school, practice under the guidance of a coach and attend Saturday competitions October through April. Like all WUDL programs, the After School Debate Program is free for students and schools alike, including breakfast and lunch at tournaments. 

We design a schedule that fits each school, so meetings might be after school, at lunch, or another time that best fits the needs of the students and coaches. 

New research shows that extra-curriculars are the 3rd highest priority that DC parents look for in a school, after staff and subjects. Furthermore, debate is the only extra-curricular mentioned in the study as a positive attribute parents look for.

We provide extensive support for each program that we work with, to support both teachers and students, including: 

  • Curriculum and Lesson Plans,

  • Coaching Stipends,

  • Professional Development Opportunities

  • Expert Assistant Coaches

  • Site Visits from WUDL Staff

  • WUDL Youtube Channel 

Two time national qualifier Ayia Evans from Banneker High School reviews research during a competition.

In Their Own Words:

​"A lot of what we learn in school has no real world application and feels like busywork, but in debate you get to learn things about the real world and express yourself"

Varsity Debater, Wise High School:

Keoni Scott-Reid and Charlene McCall of Largo took home trophies at the 2nd WUDL tournament at Georgetown University

In Their Own Words:

"Debate is an exciting art form. It is the sport of the mind and challenges me to be better every day"

​Varsity Debater: Banneker High School

​"I get a kick out of it, I think it challenges me in a unique way that I don't think shows in my academics"

Junior Varsity Debater: Charles Flowers High School

Our Tournaments

Extensive peer-reviewed research shows that attending 3 or more tournaments during an academic year is the tipping point where most of the benefits of debate kick in. Beyond the research, tournaments are fun and engaging experiences that pits the wits and preparation of students against one another. 


Tournaments occur on Saturdays once a month throughout the school year at local universities and participating schools. Students debate in pairs representing their school, and compete in divisions based on their experience and skill, not their age.

Rookie Division: Designed for those in their first three tournaments 

Novice Division: Designed for those just getting started in debate, and for those who haven't experienced much competitive success yet. 

Junior Varsity Division:  Designed to be our largest division, JV is for those who have a grasp of the basics and who had some success in Novice, but aren't ready for a serious challenge in Varsity.

Varsity Division: Designed is for those seeking a significant challenge, with no evidence restrictions and the most experienced and skilled opponents.

Our Judges

The WUDL offers one of the best judge pools available in the country for local tournaments anywhere in the nation. Our judges are often former debaters (including many alumni of UDL programs), including several previous high school and college national champions, as well as teachers, policy experts, congressional staffers, and more. 

Judges are randomly assigned to each debate and are charged with listening and taking notes throughout. They then decide who wins and who loses a debate, and award speaker points for your individual performance.

Coach Sebastian of Oyster Adams judges a round