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For Immediate Release:               Contact: Jennifer Jones
September 14, 2020             

Chicago Debates to Support CPS Student Success and Honor Ed Wehmer as 2020 Champion of Debate at 9th Annual Make Room for Debate Virtual Experience

Chicago Debates is excited to host its 9th Annual Make Room for Debate, honoring one of its longtime supporters, Wintrust Founder & CEO Ed Wehmer. Each year, nearly 300 supporters gather for Make Room for Debate, an opportunity to hear directly from students and alumni of Chicago Debates about how debate has positively transformed their lives.

“Chicago Debates is a great program that encourages young kids to stand up and rely on themselves. That’s an invaluable skill to learn and why Wintrust wanted to be involved with Chicago Debates. Debate is hard. Learning these skills now sets these kids up for success moving forward. As a bank that’s working to help build a stronger Chicago, this is just the type of program we’re proud to get behind.” -Ed Wehmer, Wintrust President & CEO

Despite the challenges faced this year, the luncheon will go on virtually with special messages from Mayor Lori Lightfoot and CPS CEO Dr. Janice Jackson along with a Fireside Chat with Ed Wehmer, Dr. Sherly Chavarria, CPS Chief of Teaching & Learning, and Will Tanzman, Executive Director of The People’s Lobby.

Make Room for Debate is:

     Tuesday, September 15, 2020


Tickets can still be purchased at For those unable to attend but interested in supporting, donations can be made at or by texting CHIDEBATES to 243725.

Chicago Debates is bridging the opportunity gap for Chicago Public School (CPS) students by providing them with an after-school program that supports their academic, career, and leadership success.  Our mission is to advance the educational achievement, community contributions, and life success of Chicago’s youth through the transformative power of academic debate.  We envision a world in which Chicago youth are empowered to find their voice, succeed in college and career, and become leaders in their community.  Debate may not fix all of the world’s problems, but it can shape the next generation of leaders who will. We exist to ensure that includes some of Chicago’s most marginalized youth.