View PDF here.

For Immediate Release:                                                 Contact: Jennifer Jones                                March 10, 2020                                                      


Almost 300 of Chicago Public School’s 5-8th grade students spent their weekend competing for the title of Debate City Champions.  Chicago Debates, in partnership with Chicago Public Schools, held its annual Middle School Debate City Championship on Saturday, March 7th at Chicago Vocational High School (2100 E. 87th Street).

Students debated in four competitive rounds and a final championship round to earn a number of awards across Rookie, Novice, JV, and Varsity divisions, including top speaker awards.  But, the crown of Middle School City Champion went to debaters at Lincoln Elementary.  Additionally, Nathaniel Spicer of Beasley Academic Center received the Golden Gavel Award as an exemplary coach, while Dr. Jose Jimenez of Hedges Elementary was named Principal of the Year. A full list of winners will be available at

Chicago Debates is bridging the opportunity gap for Chicago Public School students by providing them with an after-school program that supports their academic, career, and leadership success through competitive policy debate. While debate has long been available to schools in wealthier suburban districts, Chicago Debates is creating access to this transformative activity for some of Chicago’s most marginalized students.  Debate has been found to promote students’ school, civic, and social engagement, lead to significant gains in GPA over every semester participating in debate, improves scores on all four ACT subject tests, and debaters are three times less likely to drop out of high school and 80% more likely to graduate college.

Chicago Debates was one of the first urban debate leagues established in a national movement that has seen debate expand to 21 other cities across the country. Since partnering with Chicago Public Schools in 1997, Chicago Debates has grown from five schools to over 90 middle and high schools – making them the largest urban policy debate league in the country.

The Chicago Debates Associate Board will host additional events throughout the year to raise money and awareness about the organization. Visit for more information.