The third WUDL competitive season complete! The WUDL grew significantly; students reached new milestones; and we maintained high participation rates and program quality despite rapid growth.
When we started, we were told that Urban Debate Leagues typically serve 5 schools their first year, 7-10 their second year, and 15 their third year. In our third year, we supported debate programs at 40 schools (440 students), the 9th biggest Urban Debate League in the country. That was an increase of 146 students over last year, while maintaining the same strong participation rates per student as last season.
This year had so many great stories, it’s hard to choose which ones to highlight. From a student in foster care winning 1st place at a tournament and the competitive achievements of our national qualifiers to the smaller victories where a student learned a new concept or gained self-confidence, I couldn’t have asked for a better year. The WUDL has made debate programs available to about 40% of public school students in D.C. and Prince George’s County, an incredible feat in only three years. I am excited to see what the coming year brings. We’ll have our first class of students who have debated all four years of high school, and a very timely and engaging topic, Immigration Policy.
We couldn’t have done it without our incredible volunteers. This year, 213 individuals gave 3,983 hours of their time as judges and assistant coaches to the WUDL, an increase of 70 volunteers and 1,790 hours from last season. We offer a big farewell and best wishes to WUDL Board Member Richard Day, who is leaving us to go to the University of Chicago for his MBA and assistant coach and WUDL Advisory Board Member Anne Peckham, who started an exciting new position with Youtube.
The students voted Kathy Beckman as Volunteer of the Year. Kathy, who has volunteered with the WUDL since the beginning, is a shining example of the hard work and dedication of those who give their time and talents to the league. Thank you Kathy!
Similarly, we are incredibly thankful of all of who donated to the WUDL this season. Gifts from individuals like you are the lifeblood of the organization and let us support debate at 39 schools, run 10 tournaments, and a summer debate institute. The accolades and achievements we’re reached this year wouldn’t be possible without you!
We look forward to working with you to continue bringing the academic benefits of debate to more students and schools next school year.