Kelly Debate Alumnus Honors His Debate Family With a Gift in Grandmother’s Name

Jesus started debating as a junior at Kelly High School on the southwest side of Chicago. He started with no knowledge of debate or the different components. However, it didn’t take long before the thrill of competition hooked him. While Jesus credits debate with helping him improve his academic performance and widen his worldview, it was the platform debate gave him and his friends to express themselves that he most enjoyed from the sport. 

As Jesus graduated and moved on from debate, the bonds he had developed with his teammates and students from other schools remained. Returning to volunteer at specific tournaments can often feel like a reunion – bringing together alumni from different schools and years – all of them understanding the special space they are helping to create for current debaters to find their voice like they all found theirs.

Recently, Jesus decided to make a generous gift to Chicago Debates in his grandmother’s name. It was important for him to honor the sense of family debate created for him, and see that the next generation of debaters get that same opportunity. “The idea of paying it forward is something very special, something that comes from within. It brings you a feeling of joy knowing that you are helping a student, or helping to continue the program by paying it forward,” said Jesus of his reason for giving.

In addition to financial support, Jesus also recognizes the importance of coming back to volunteer. “Debate becomes a community event, and it’s always good to come and volunteer because you help create a safe environment for students to speak their minds.”

If you’d like to join Jesus and Pay It Forward, donate HERE. Then, share on social media why you #PayItForward and tag @ChicagoDebates!