Labor Day finds the Chicago Debate League on the threshold of its 14th season. Given our achievements last year — the sustained growth in participation, new heights in corporate sponsorship and overall resources, national championships won (again) by our city’s debaters — it would be tempting to sit back and rest on our accomplishments.
But if you examine our eventful and productive summer, you would have to conclude that last year’s successes have inspired all of us — debaters, coaches, administrators — to aim even higher. This issue of the Chronicle details the hard work of our students and teachers to prepare for the upcoming season.
First, allow us one victory lap. Certainly, the high-point of the past few months was the trip two of our students took in July, at the invitation of the President of the United States, to visit Washington D.C. and meet with him in the Oval Office! We will be sending you a fuller account of that visit soon.
In many other respects as well, the rest of our summer programming was equally remarkable, as we lay the foundation for the upcoming academic and competitive year.
The 14th Chicago Debate Summer Institute prepared more than one hundred debaters and thirty teachers for the 2010/11 season and new debate topic. Some of the nation’s best debate teachers and coaches served on the Institute faculty.
A CPS-initiated Summer Jobs Program matched fifty-seven CDSI students with paid internships at the offices of elected officials, law firm and corporate partners of the CDL, and non-profits across the city. Additionally, through the Summer Jobs Program, debaters were able to receive payment for their academic work at the CDSI.
The CDC brought on University of Chicago graduate Bill Altorfer as our Development and Advocacy Fellow. Bill will work at expanding our visibility and bringing even more supporters to the CDL.
The CDC also had the benefit of two outstanding alumni working as summer interns. Chevon Linear, a graduate of Phoenix Military Academy and currently at Denison University, and Brandon McNamara, a graduate of Harlan High School and currently at Northwestern University, provided valuable assistance to our programming the past few months.
The Chicago Charter School Urban Debate Initiative has redoubled its efforts, which will expand the number of charter schools participating in the CDL by two-thirds. Further, the CDC has been working with principles and coaches across the city to deepen the commitment to the CDL of our current public schools, as well as reaching out to several new schools. Our goal is to report in the near future that the Chicago Debate League will encompass thriving debate programs at more than 70 public schools in Chicago!
As you can see, the Chicago Debate Commission set out this summer to match and surpass the extraordinary year that the CDL had in 2009/10. Working with you and the rest of our partners, we hope to provide another year of excellent programming for our students. Thanks very much for your ongoing interest and your essential involvement and support.