CASE Debates Seminar kicks off 2022-2023 debate season

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September 23, 2022 by HCDE Communications

Student debaters participate in workshops during the 2022 CASE Debates Seminar, Sept. 17, 2022.

On Saturday, more than 200 Harris County high school debate students attended the 2022 CASE Debates Seminar at Irvington, an annual event that kicks off the CASE Debates season.

CASE Debates, a program for inner-city youth funded by HCDE, is a collaboration between CASE for Kids and the Houston Urban Debate League (HUDL). Through CASE Debates, a free program for students, debaters receive training and access to coaches. It also offers them scholarship prospects and the opportunity to build self-esteem, expand their horizons, and meet other like-minded students locally and nationally.

“All the essential elements of what it takes to prepare for a tournament were covered,” said CASE Debates Project Coordinator Jimi Morales. “We offered sessions in the Congress, World Schools, Policy, and Lincoln-Douglas Debate formats, along with a small workshop for students wanting to prepare for Individual Events. We also introduced our coaches.”

Keynote speaker Amy Davis, KPRC 2’s consumer investigative reporter, shed light on how speech and debate were transformative in giving her the tools to be a successful journalist.

“I wanted to participate because I love that CASE for Kids gets students involved in debate and other afterschool activities,” Davis said. “CASE is truly making a difference in so many lives!”

“It was important for us to have someone like Amy as the keynote speaker to show how the skills learned in speech and debate can translate into professional settings, and not just for careers in the legal field,” said Morales. “It also inspires students beyond just the element of competition.”

“Amy Davis was a good example of how hard work pays off,” said Maria Andrade, a senior at Aldine ISD’s Blanson Career and Technical Education (CTE) High School. “She knew what she wanted and chased after it while discovering what she liked.”

This is the first year that Aldine ISD is partnering with CASE Debates. Val Coleman, the debate coach at Blanson CTE High School, says the seminar was an opportunity for exposure.

“CASE Debates brings students from all areas and backgrounds together and strengthens community,” she said. “We are a Title I school, and this is the first year that debate has been offered at our school. Being from a Title I district means that funds may not always be available, and CASE Debates made it so finances are not an obstacle to participating. Students showed an overwhelming amount of enthusiasm and interest to be in the program.”

For Andrade, who, like many students this year, is a first-time debater, the Saturday event helped her zero in on her speech and debate goals.

“I think my biggest challenge is being a new debater, learning from mistakes, and growing from those mistakes,” she said.

Coleman hopes that CASE Debates will have a lasting impression on her students.

“I expect to have my students win the championship and make it to nationals,” she said. “Watch out for Blanson CTE, we are coming!”

Tournaments scheduled throughout the year give teens the access and opportunity to compete locally and nationally. Teams who win HUDL competitions at the local level receive funds to pay for entry fees, meals, and transportation to national competitions.

Below is the 2022-2023 CASE Debates event schedule.

October 22, 2022CASE Debates Tournament #1University of Houston
November 5, 2022CASE Debates Tournament #2Elsik High School
December 3, 2022HUDL Winter ClassicWestbury High School
January 21, 2023CASE Debates Tournament #3MacArthur High School
February 11, 2023CASE Debates Tournament #4 (HUDL City Championship pre-qualifier)Harmony School of Advancement
March 4, 2023HUDL City Championship FinalsBob Casey Federal Courthouse
*Dates and locations are subject to change.

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