WUDL Prepares to #ElevateDebate at Urban Debate National Championship this weekend

We are excited to kick off the 2021 Urban Debate National Championship (High School) this weekend!

Last night, former MLB star and social activist Doug Glanville and NAUDL Urban Debater of the Year Dana Agbede of Los Angeles spoke to kick us off, and Round 1 will be underway soon this afternoon (Friday).

While this past season was nothing like we hoped or expected, we are truly blessed to have such great representatives at the UDNC:

From Northwestern High School:

Dennis Martinez and Alexa Figueroa

Seniors Dennis and Alexa began debating their sophomore year, partially lured by the prospects of free Peruvian Chicken at tournaments. They skipped Novice and went straight to JV, where, by the end of the year, they emerged as our JV District Champions. The last two years have had their share of highs and lows as they adjusted to Varsity debate, attended regional competitions, and attended summer camp. This spring, they put a cherry on the top of some very successful careers by winning the Harvard University Debate En Espanol tournament this February. Alexa was a Finalist for the Urban Debater of the Year Award, while Dennis was Posse Scholar, getting a full ride to college.

Richard Day, a former WUDL Board member, and current consultant at BCG, has been coaching them remotely during the pandemic.

Dennis will attend Lewis and Clark in the Fall to study Political Science.

Alexa will likely attend either American or the University of Maryland to study Journalism.

From Capital City PCS

Clarke Dickens and Liv Birnstad

Clarke and Liv were alternates this year, and stepped in when NAUDL called for another team to fill out the bracket. Clarke, a junior, has debated since her 8th grade year, and has been a long-time leader of the Capital City team, mentoring the MS Nationals qualifiers last year. I had the privilege of working with Clarke directly in my lab over the summer a few years ago, and I am so proud that she's made it this far in her debate career. Liv, a sophomore, is a relative newcomer to debate. She is our reigning "New Debater of the Year," who started as a freshman. They've been a part of the WUDL travel squad for the last several years (not always together), and set the goal at the beginning of 2020 that they wanted to try to qualify for the UDNC, before Clarke graduated. We're so excited that they were able to achieve their goals, a year early!

Clarke and Liv are coached by Wil Hawk, the Director of School Information Systems at Cap City, and by Danielle Dupree, an alumni of the WUDL currently attending Howard University (and a former UDNC qualifier herself).

This is the first time either school has been represented at the UDNC. All are amazing young people that represent the best of our league: kind, passionate, hard-working, and intellectually curious. Good Luck WUDL Teams!

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