WUDL Season Kicks Off With a Bang @ DC International

The first tournament of the Washington Urban Debate League's 2018-2019 season is in the books! Hosted on the beautiful, newly completed campus of DC International, teams from across D.C. and a few from Prince George's County gathered to debate immigration reform, this year's topic.

The first tournament of the year is always difficult, may students are debating for the first time, most students and judges are new to the topic, and there is some rust for our tournament administrators. We decided to complicate this further by testing two systems that we hope make our tournament operations easier in the future.

1. E-Ballots: For those that want to, you can now sign up for an e-ballot, allowing you to put comments and your decision in through your phone, tablet, or laptop.

2. E-Notifications: Similarly, students and judges can sign up for an email or text message about the pairings, telling them where they need to be, who is judging, whether they are affirmative or negative, etc.

For those who prefer a good old paper ballot and the printed pairings in the cafeteria, those won't be going away any time soon!

This tournament had a number of stand-out students, and I shall highlight a few.

1. Inspired Teaching: The team of Samantha Perkins and Davis Sipos won their first trophy (4th Place) and Samantha was the top speaker in the Novice Division. This is ITS's first trophy (or at least their best performance to date), and we are very proud of the growth

and evolution of that team. Parent Coach Eric Albert, an attorney at the DOJ, has done a fantastic job, and the results are really starting to show in their 2nd year.

2. Washington Latin: Washington Latin closed out the JV Division in style, with Maxwell Burton and Brandon Souverain going 4-0 and winning the division, closely followed by Nassir Purnell Snowden and Aaron Smith. Maxwell and Aaron also got speaker awards.

Both teams had strong contingents of students at the summer debate institute, a testament to the strong preparation they received there.

3. Eastern High School made their debut, with the team of Chauncey Roscoe and Kaffe Grimes placing 10th in the Novice Division. We are excited to see this new program hit the ground running!

4. Washington Leadership Academy also had their first winning record in program history, as Kemani-Dakar Covington and Tamia Murphy led the way with a 9th place finish in Novice. You can read more about the WLA program and alumni coach Keoni Scott-Reid in a separate post.

5. Congrats to Paola Almendarez and new partner Lola Rogin of DCI, the home team, for winning the Varsity Division. Paola and Lola are now in high school, and thus able to qualify for Nationals, a significant milestone after qualifying as 7th graders (and losing a single ballot locally last season) before they were eligible to attend.

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