The Chicago Debate League made a lasting mark at the Illinois Communications and Theatre Association’s JV and Novice State Championships at Dundee-Crown High School. King College Prep senior Hakeem Muhammad and junior Adam Glover made it to the semifinals of the tournament and tied for 3rd place overall in a field of the top 60 second-year debaters from 10 schools throughout the state of Illinois, including 14 debaters from 5 CDL schools. They lost in the semifinals on a close 2-1 split decision to top-seeded Glenbrook North, after defeating Niles West in the quarterfinals. King is the first non-RCC school from the CDL to win a state-level debate award.
Muhammad described his team’s approach and the competitive challenges it faced:
“Adam and I were the underdogs coming to the tournament but we were able to win debates against suburban schools on our way to outrounds. We even picked up ballots from several hardcore traditional policy debate judges with strong predispositions against our form of argumentation. We brought soul in our arguments by referring to Tupac and Erykah Badu, injecting cultural innovation in contrast to the traditional form of debating …. We discussed issues that directly affect us and have connection to our actual lives. We were the only African-American team in elimination rounds and I was the only African-American to acquire a speaker award [5th overall speaker]. Since those that participate in policy debate go on to hold political power, at the ICTA, I learned of the continuous need for more African-American students to have the opportunities I’ve had to succeed in this activity.”
Muhammad, who won the Voltaire Sterling Debater of the Year Award at the 2012 Allstate CPS Chicago Debate Championship, is considering debate scholarship opportunities from multiple colleges.
Glover put his experience succinctly: “The ICTA was a great opportunity for me to show that I can compete with anyone, from anywhere, in a debate.”
King’s veteran debate coach and Computer Science teacher David Hayes summed up his students’ success: “Adam and Hakeem have accomplished a great deal in their two years of debate, and I’m glad they earned their semi-finalist trophy. But more worthy of respect – and more important to our world – is their character as demonstrated in their individual effort, their effective teamwork, their sportsmanship in competition and their contributions to improving our broader debate community.”