3rd Annual Matthew H Ornstein Washington Summer Debate Institute A Big Success!

The trophies have been handed out, the rooms cleaned up, and the students have gone home. The 3rd annual Matthew H Ornstein Washington Summer Debate Institute is in the books, and was a big success. Compared to previous institutes, there were several big changes:

--Hosting at the Brookings Institution, on of DC's premier think tanks

--Expanding to two weeks for our JV and Varsity Labs

--Expanding to more than 100 students overall

Our first summer institute hosted about 25 students over a single week. Last summer, we had about 70 students over a single week. This year, 40+ students came to our returning student labs, and 50+ novices came for our ever popular one week novice program. A single student, Demetrius Sadler, has been to all three of our summer debate institutes.

This year's staff continued the tradition of bringing together incredibly accomplished and thoughtful debate minds with years of teaching and coaching experience from around the country D.C. These men and women shared their knowledge and experience, supplementing our growing and talented local team.

Each day of camp, I heard stories of small victories and breakthroughs where the light went on, and students grasped a concept. From the two high energy students who gave Wayne fits in Novice Lab Two showing up to the institute tournament and going 3-1 and the students conquering their fear and speaking in public for the first time to the Varsity debaters who mastered line by line refutation and flowing, every student learned something and grew more confident in themselves and their intellect.

The best way to explain the impact of the summer institute is to listen to the feedback of the parents. One wrote:

My daughter has been in the debate camp two years in a row and it has truly been life-changing. I don't think she would have entered debate at her school last year (Oyster Adams) if she hadn't had the week exposure last summer. This summer, she came home energized and bubbling over every day, telling me about all that she learned that day. Then she settled into a couple hours of preparation for the next day. She also loved the camaraderie and teamwork that happened in the camp.

This year's summer institute would not have been possible without the support of Norm Ornstein and Judy Harris, who not only financed the summer institute, but used their networks to help us find a place to host the institute tournament and to bring some excellent guest speakers to share their expertise with our students.

It also would not have been possible without the tireless work of Anne Peckham of the Brookings Institution. She secured a beautiful space for us at a discount, organized the catering, and several speakers from the Brookings Institution. As a member of the WUDL Advisory Board (and assistant debate coach at Oyster Adams Middle School), Anne has gone above and beyond, making a huge difference for students across the league and at her school.

At the end of each institution, we give out the Matthew H Ornstein Outstanding Debater Award, given to the student who shows not only competitive skill but strong character.

This year, there were three outstanding finalists:

Paris Smalley of Charles Flowers High School

Zara Escobar of Oyster Adams Middle School

Jonathan Collins of DuVal High School (this year's winner)

Jonathan joins Demetrius Sadler (Banneker High School) and Keoni Scott-Reid (Largo High School) as previous winners of the Matthew H Ornstein.

As tradition, we hosted a tournament on the last day of the summer institute for students to test their skills. Trinity Washington offered us an excellent space to host the competition.

In the Novice Division:

1st Place: Marks and Ken (Stuart Hobson)

2nd Place: Labor and McNair (Dora Kennedy and Thurgood Marshall)

3rd Place: Murphy and Blango (Washington Latin and Basis)

4th Place: Jason and Joseph (Dora Kennedy and Stuart Hobson)

5th Place: Palermo and Fox (Alice Deal and Lake Braddock)

The division's top speakers were:

1st Ken (Stuart Hobson)

2nd Marks (Stuart Hobson)

3rd Mirabello (Washington Latin)

4th Murphy (Washington Latin)

5th Labor (Dora Kennedy)

In the Junior Varsity Division:

1st Place: Clarke and Ntangu (Columbia Heights and DuVal)

2nd Place: Gray and Escobar (Charles Flowers and Oyster Adams)

3rd Place: Ngovabe and Lewis (Alice Deal and Washington Latin)

4th Place: Bell and Quispe-Lopez (Alice Deal and Oyster Adams)

5th Place: Chloe and Ross (DC International)

The division's top speakers were:

1st Escobar (Oyster Adams)

2nd Gray (Charles Flowers)

3rd Munsat (Capital City)

4th Clarke (Columbia Heights)

5th Ntangu (DuVal)

(Escobar was the top speaker in the novice division last year as well.)

In the Varsity Division:

1st Place: Almendarez and Lowenstein (DC International)

2nd Place: Sadler and Trouba (Banneker and Northwestern)

3rd Place: Crouch and Raqeeb (Banneker and McKinley)

4th Place: Smith and Tengen (Bowie)

5th Place: Miranda and Smalley (Capital City and Charles Flowers)

The division's top speakers were:

1st Lowenstein (DCI)

2nd Sadler (Banneker)

3rd Almendarez (DCI)

4th Collins (DuVal)

5th Crouch (Banneker)

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