Houston ISD students had an opportunity to hone their public-speaking and debate skills at the sixth-annual Summer Debate Institute July 29–August 2, 2013, at Austin High School. Hosted by HISD and the Houston Urban Debate League (HUDL), 85 students from 17 Houston-area schools participated in the week-long camp.
“It’s been informative and really helpful in other aspects, because debate keeps you apprised of relevant topics,” said Joseph Collins, 12th grade camp participant. “It’s given me the ability to not only state my opinion but actually back it up and be able to do the research.”
The camp included both beginning and advanced courses for students of all levels. These dedicated debaters attended labs and lectures focused on improving their speech and debate skills, increasing awareness of current events, and preparing for the debate topics they will face in upcoming tournaments.
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“We help the students, especially the new ones coming in, who don’t know a thing about debate. When they start the school year, and they have [debate] tournaments, they’re prepared and know exactly what it is they are preparing for,” said Naomi Medrano of the Houston Urban Debate League.
Participants were able to collaborate with fellow debaters from local HISD schools and get a head start on the upcoming school year and tournaments. The institute culminated in a mock tournament during which the debaters put the skills they learned to the test.
“I’m passionate about debate, and I’m just really happy about the knowledge and skills I got from some of the best mentors in the country,” said Rachelle Spann, 12th grade camp participant. “HUDL is a phenomenal program. I would recommend it to anyone.”
To learn more about the Houston Urban Debate League, visit their website.