The Denver Urban Debate League (DUDL) is committed to improving urban education in Denver by helping students learn and achieve through Debate. It is the mission of The Denver Urban Debate League to provide opportunities for competitive debate to every student in the Denver area. DUDL emphasizes education over competition, using debate as a tool to build valuable academic and life skills that will ensure Denver's students future college and career success. The DUDL works with our community to promote inclusiveness, education equity, and active citizenship.
In 2011 the DUDL achieved tremendous accomplishments with the support of our community:
- In the fall of 2011 our Board of Directors participated in our first ever strategic planning retreat where we evaluated both our programming and DUDL’s organizational development, as we set meaningful goals for both short-term and long-term growth.
- We reached more schools than ever with eleven active member schools attending our workshops and competitions. We also established a new partnership with Mapleton Public Schools in Thornton, our first venture beyond Denver Public Schools.
- We enriched our core programming by adding extemporaneous speaking and spoken word competitions to our tournaments and including more suburban high school tournaments in our season schedule. We also deepened student engagement by offering an overnight debate camp in Estes Park where students worked with instructors from all over the nation while building strong relationships with their mentors and peers. For some debaters, this was the first time they had the opportunity to travel to the mountains away from a city environment.
- A year-end survey revealed the powerful effects debate is producing in our students’ lives. The vast majority of DUDL students reported that debate strongly enriches their relationships with school — and schoolwork. At the Denver Center for International Studies, for example, 92% of debaters strongly agreed or agreed that “What I learn through debate helps me be more successful in school.”
- We deepened our relationship with the University of Denver Sturm College of Law (SCOL), where twenty-four unique SCOL volunteers judged debate rounds at seven tournaments throughout the 2011-2012 debate season. At least two students completed their Public Interest Practicum work with DUDL and often judged at least four rounds per tournament. We also launched a new law student-DUDL mentor program and hosted a Juniors and Seniors Day at SCOL where over 50 Denver area high school students met law professors, attended a Torts class alongside law students, and enjoyed prime seating at a lecture by Morris Dees.
- Early indicators suggest that for the third year in a row nearly 100% of DUDL’s forty-five seniors graduated from high school as expected — an astonishing achievement in a school district where only about 65% of seniors do. A majority of our seniors are college bound and will be attending institutions such as Adams State College, Allegheny College, Colorado School of Mines, CSU, DePauw University, Florida A&M University, Jonhson & Wales University, Knox College, University of Northern Colorado, Regis University, University of the Pacific, and Whittier College. Senior Tasia Whitmore from Vista Academy stated, “Being in debate came along with a lot of opportunities to meet a lot of people with lifelong impacts. One of those people being James Rolland, one of the debate coaches from Emory State University. I love the way he broke debate down to a level that I could grasp it and run away with it. He inspired me to want to go to Emory. Participating in conversation driven by evidence and respect for one another has made me want to be better. I hope to learn and perfect this skill of making an argument.”