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April 2, 2019                                         Development & Communications Manager

                                                                 Chicago Debates


                                                                Direct: (312) 300-3441

At Chicago Debates’ City Championship, Solorio Academy Takes Top Prize, Becomes First Neighborhood School to Win since 2007

(Chicago, IL) This past weekend, 260 students from 34 CPS high schools converged on Curie High School to debate the topic of immigration at Chicago Debates’ City Championship. The Championship was a culmination of a five-month season that began in October, included six tournaments, countless after-school practices, hundreds of hours of research, and critical skill building that propelled these students to compete amongst their peers at the top of their game.

“All of our debaters put in so much hard work to get to this point. Just making it to our City Championship is an accomplishment they should all be proud of,” said Executive Director, Dr. Toinette Gunn.

The winners included a novice team from Walter Payton College Prep, a junior varsity team from Northside College Prep, and a varsity team from Solorio Academy. Solorio’s win marks the first time since Thomas Kelly High School won in 2007 that a neighborhood school has earned the title.

“This win from Solorio is not a surprise when you look at the team they’ve built with Coach Conor Cameron. He knows his students can compete with the best, and he has been relentless in pushing them to new heights,” said Program Director, David Song.

This year’s topic on immigration gave students a chance to explore a policy issue that is not only front and center in the news, but something that many debaters have been impacted by personally.

The tournament was organized by Chicago Debates, a nonprofit that partners with Chicago Public Schools to establish and support competitive after-school debate teams in schools throughout Chicago. Since partnering with CPS in 1997 to launch the Chicago Debate League, Chicago Debates has grown the League from just five high schools to 85 middle and high schools this year, serving 1600 students.

In addition to the top team prizes, Chicago Debates recognized individuals who had been nominated by their peers with Specialty Awards. The recipients include Kelvin C. from Solorio Academy who won Debater of the Year; Caitlin Miller from Jones College Prep who won the Golden Gavel Award for excellence in coaching; Hollis Griffin from Von Steuben Metropolitan Science Center who won Community Coach of the Year; Lateef Ajimotokan, a former debater from Brooks College Prep, who won Alum of the Year; Victor Iturralde from Solorio Academy who won Principal of the Year.