CASE for Kids Connects Harris County Debate Students with National Resources

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July 13, 2023 by HCDE Communications

The Center for Afterschool, Summer and Enrichment Debate program does more than give students a great gift of gab. This summer, CASE Debates is helping high school students gain a competitive edge ahead of the school year, potentially opening the door to higher education.

More than 75 students from CASE Debates and the Houston Independent School District (HISD) participated in the Houston Urban Debate League (HUDL) Summer Debate Institute this week. Housed at the University of Houston’s Cougar Village 1 dormitory, the camp allows the young debaters to engage in free speech and debate activities for five days.  

From left to right, CASE Debates Coordinator Jimi Morales, Trustee Richard Cantu, Board President Andrea Duhon, Trustee Danyahel (Danny) Norris, CASE for Kids Senior Director Lisa Caruthers and UH Director of Debate Rob Glass post for a photograph during their tour of the HUDL Summer Debate Institute.

On Tuesday, HCDE Board President Andrea Duhon, Trustees Richard Cantu, and Danyahel (Danny) Norris witnessed students absorb knowledge from the nation’s elite debate instructors and members of the UH Debate team. Dedicated to their craft, students spent more than eight hours a day constructing compelling arguments and sharpening their skills.  

“This opportunity and exposure to a nationwide debate network give underprivileged students access to thousands of dollars’ worth of instruction,” said CASE Debates Coordinator Jimi Morales. “It also provides a rigorous academic setting where the instructors expect collegiate-level attention and performance.”  

As part of the camp, novice debaters learned to conduct academic research, present affirmative and negative arguments, and prepare for cross-examinations. More experienced high schoolers broke out into labs for Policy and World School Debate formats and focused on exploring different argument styles.  

The camp not only helps students improve their speech and debate skills, it supports students with processing deep philosophical concepts and objectively approach social issues. Students also learn how to confidently and respectfully engage peers and superiors, which longtime debaters know are invaluable lessons to learn before entering college and adulthood.  

“CASE Debates gives students the opportunity to excel at the highest level of competition and exposes them to a collegiate atmosphere,” said Morales. “Whether that happens, or they use this experience for personal development, it’s a win-win.”

To learn more about CASE for Kids, visit

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