On March 25th and 26th, over 120 teams from 54 schools gathered for two days on DePaul University’s Loop Campus to compete at the 14th Allstate CPS Chicago Debate Championship. This tournament is the concluding event on the CDL’s calendar, and as the largest single event of the season, determines the title of city champion.
Whitney Young’s junior team of Marcel Roman and Hannah Nasser defeated the Lane Tech team of seniors Joshua Rivera and junior Owen Jones on a 2-1 decision in the final round, claiming the 2011 Allstate CPS Chicago Debate Championship. The victory represented Whitney Young’s second consecutive city championship.
In the Junior Varsity Division, Whitney Young and Lane Tech also matched up in the final round, with the Lane Tech team of Enkjin Tumenjargal and Peter Kepner defeating Whitney Young’s Kinana Gonzalez and Phuong Vo on a 3-0 decision.
It is noteworthy that several CDL schools appeared in the elimination rounds for the first time. In the Varsity Division, the Alcott team of Elizabeth Best and Christine Vi advanced to the quarterfinals before losing to the eventual champions. In the Junior Varsity Division, the University of Chicago – Woodlawn Charter School, a first year program, advanced two teams to the octofinals, while King College Prep advanced Al-Jalil Gault and Hakeem Muhammed to the semifinals.
The competition at this year’s tournament was the strongest all year. Newly crowned city champion, Marcel Roman commented, “Throughout the three years that I have participated in the Chicago Debate League, I have noticed that there has been a more competitive and even playing field as many schools evolve and become sturdier programs that can compete across different levels of competition. This last Championship has undoubtedly been the most competitive throughout all the rounds I’ve had to debate and will make next year a hard run to repeat our success this year.”
The Chicago Debate Championship also featured a reception and awards ceremony, at which select students, coaches, judges, and volunteers received year-end honors, including the Debater of the Year, the Golden Gavel Award, and the Principal of the Year Award, among others.
This year’s winners included:
• Voltaire Sterling Debater of the Year: Raheem Cooper Thomas, Urban Prep Academy – Englewood
• Richard M. Daley Leadership Award: Joshua Rivera, Lane Tech
• Golden Gavel Award for Coach of the Year: Jim Dorrell, Marshall
• Alumnus of the Year: Maya Frommer, Whitney Young
• The Betty Wilhoite Award: Whitney Young
• Adjudicator of the Year: Monica Garcia, Kelvyn Park
• Seymour Simon Award: Cheryl Aaron, long-time CDL volunteer
• Principal of the Year: Dr. Janice Jackson, Westinghouse
The ceremony featured tremendous guest speakers, including Terry Mazany, former Interim CEO of Chicago Public Schools; Clarisol Duque, Chief of Staff to Senator Dick Durbin; Maria Doughty, Corporate Counsel, State Legislative and Regulatory Affairs for Allstate; and Veronica Herrera, Deputy Chief of the Office of Student School Support and Engagement.
The highly motivational keynote address was given by Bernadette Limos, CDL alum and Allstate Investments employee. Additionally, the Chicago Debate Commission would like to extend special thanks for supplemental awards, including several iPads, which were arranged by Veronica Herrera and Chicago Public Schools, and were supplied by MASH.