CDL Students Excel at University Summer Debate Institutes Across America

Marcel Roman, a rising junior at Whitney Young, placed first at the University of North Texas Debate Institute and took home top speaking honors.

Nearly 30 Chicago Debate League students traveled to college campuses across the country this summer to work with the nation’s top college and high school debate instructors. CDL students attended workshops at Illinois State University, Dartmouth College, Northwestern University, University of California Berkeley, University of North Texas, University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and the University of Texas Austin.

Many of the students from John Hope College Prep, Walter Payton College Prep, Whitney Young, Schurz, Jones College Prep, and Harlan received substantial scholarship assistance to attend summer university workshops and the CDC was able to negotiate reduced tuition rates for several others.

Donny Peters, the Director of Debate at Illinois State University and the director of ISU’s summer debate camp, reported a very positive experience working with CDL students at ISU. “Three students from Hope — Gerard Israel, Ryan Dearon, and Nathaniel Hammonds — attended the ISU camp. All three were focused, worked hard and showed excellent improvement. Ryan Dearon stood out. His ability to transfer the information learned in the lectures to the debates were stronger than all other participants at the camp. He took the time to learn the files, found flaws in the arguments that he could use in debates and he also worked on his presentation style to try to provide the most persuasive argument.”

Through their hard work, many CDL students achieved competitive success in the highly competitive camp tournaments, which typically feature hundreds of top debaters from throughout the United States. Marcel Roman of Whitney Young won the University of North Texas tournament and was top speaker. Susan Curran and Ali Sears from Payton qualified for the Octofinals of the Dartmouth tournament, and their teammate Finn Arfman-Brennan reached the Double-Octofinals. Pedro Galarza of Jones College Prep, made it to the Quarterfinals and was the 8th individual speaker at the Cal Berkeley camp. Sydney Doe from Whitney Young advanced to the Octa-Finals at the University of Michigan Debate Institute.

Aaron Feinhandler of Schurz found that “camps teach invaluable lessons and fundamental skills that would never be learned otherwise. They make it so that the new year will automatically start more competitively.” Pedro Galarza added, “I can’t wait for this to spill over into the season.”