Volunteer Spotlight: Shavon Womack

Shavon Womack is the ultimate rockstar volunteer. Her absolute dedication to the work is inspiring to see. Out of the 20 weeks of tournaments we ran last year, Shavon volunteered as a judge or table operator at all but two of them!

As someone with no prior experience with debate, we wanted to hear directly from Shavon about her reasons for getting involved. 

Why debate? 

Well, in my opinion, debate is life. There is always something new to break down, to critique, to analyze and to explain before it can be created and have a beneficial impact globally. 

How have you grown from the first round you judged to the last? 

Well, I have learned that Chicago students don’t play :) Their words are a powerful tool that can solve many problems. I definitely learned valuable lessons from my debaters and I hope they learned valuable lessons from me as well. I’ve also learned from parents, guardians, coaches, other volunteers, and the staff that work so hard to keep everything running smoothly.

What was the most difficult part of volunteering? 

When I see students cry or see the pain in their eyes when they lose a round. I try my best to remind students that they are all winners. There are going to be some rounds that won’t be perfect, but that doesn’t reflect their talents. It just shows them areas that have to be strengthened. Every success has a story of failing many times before greatness.

What advice would you give to first time volunteer debate judges?

Welcome, and get ready to see greatness. You are going to have a very exhilarating, informative, and exciting experience that you will learn from, be inspired by and take with you in your heart throughout life. And fun, you’re going to experience that too. I would also tell them to relax. You may be nervous but just know the students may be just as nervous as you are or more. You will teach each other. Chicago Debates is an organization like no other. Welcome, enjoy and grow with us. 

Is there anything else you want to say about your experience? 

One of the greatest things about living in Chicago is the unique people living in the city. The depth of intelligence and charisma can only be found in the great city of Chicago. And Chicago Debates is an organization celestially created to grow those types of individuals into great debaters. 

If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer, contact April Garrett for more information and to sign-up.