Performance Trust sponsors public debates about U.S. economy

Top debaters from eight Chicago high schools competed in the 2012 Performance Trust Public Debates on the U.S. Economy on December 7 and 8, 2012, with over $4,000 in scholarship money awarded. The debates, open to a public audience, featured 18 rounds on two resolutions:

A. Resolved:   U.S. economic policy should prioritize the threat posed by the growing federal debt over the negative effects of continued high unemployment.
B. Resolved:   The Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 will do more harm than good to the U.S. economy and therefore should be repealed.

The tournament was hosted by lead sponsor Performance Trust, along with co-sponsors Attucks Asset Management, Stout Risius Ross, and McGladrey. Leaders of these firms support competitive academic debate because they see the impact of debate skills in their professions. “[We] value debate as a means to explore different points-of-view. It’s how we stay vibrant and how we compete. It’s how we test and sharpen ideas. It gives us confidence that the recommendations we share with our clients are thoughtful and thorough.”

All sponsoring firms participated actively in the tournament. Performance Trust held three training sessions prior to the event, and paired company volunteers with each student team to help them learn about the economic issues, structure their cases, and build rebuttal arguments.

Volunteers from all four sponsoring firms acted as judges at the event, providing valuable feedback to students. The VIP panel judging the final rounds included Richard Berg, CEO of Performance Trust; Geri Sands Haven, CIO of Attucks Asset Management; John Bone, Managing Director of Stout Risius Ross; Kurt Summers, Senior VP of Grosvenor Capital Management; Mary Richardson-Lowry, Partner at Mayer Brown; and Alicia Berg, VP of Campus Environment at Columbia College Chicago.

Jeron Dastrup and John Vitzileos from Whitney Young won the championship round, beating Jennie Wang and Pauline Esman of Northside College Prep, who took second place. Morgan Park and Williams took third and fourth place respectively. Jeron Destrup from Whitney Young won the top speaker award. The top senior Speakers, who were awarded college scholarships ranging from $750 to $1,500, were Janae Meaders (Morgan Park), Jennie Wang (Northside), John Vitzileos (Whitney Young), and Dara Davis (Lane Tech). The scholarship fund was initiated by one of the traders at the firm, who wanted to recognize the intense work students put into preparing for these debates.

The event received positive attention from the Chicago news media, with segments on television news programs and a story at Educators, parents, sponsor volunteers, and members of the community at large attended. A full list of participating schools and winners is available here.

Many thanks to Performance Trust and our co-sponsors for hosting this exciting event and supporting debate for all students in the Chicago Debate League.