Illinois first: Whitney Young wins IHSA Varsity State Championship
Whitney Young seniors Hanna Nasser and Marcel Roman made history in March by becoming the first Chicago Public School to win the Illinois High School Association Varsity State Championship in policy debate, an event dating back to 1941. Hosted by Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, the event featured the top 74 students from 12 schools throughout the state, including 20 students from 4 CDL schools.
Nasser and Roman won finals on a unanimous 5-0 decision against perennial debate powerhouse and two-time defending state champion Glenbrook North. In the semifinals they defeated another team ranked in the Top 15 nationally, Glenbrook South, on a split 2-1 decision.
In addition to taking home top team honors, the CDL had three students named to the IHSA All-State team – Nasser, Roman, and Northside College Prep senior Tom Trieu.
Whitney Young hosted a pep rally, attended by all 450 students in the senior class and the school band, in honor of the debate team’s accomplishment. Nasser and Roman also received a congratulatory phone call from Mayor Emanuel followed by a lunch meeting. According to Dr. Joyce Kenner, Principal at Whitney Young, “Every student should have an opportunity to be affiliated with the Chicago Debate League. It has brought a richness, purpose, and quality to our school community. My students are more confident, engaged, and have had many opportunities to debate issues and to become critical thinkers. I look forward to our continued relationship and its positive impact on my students.”