I attended Martin Luther King Jr, Early College as my older brother did. After a few weeks of starting the 8th grade, I noticed that he would disappear for a weekend every month to “debate,” and come home with a trophy. A language arts teacher had mentioned to me that I was very much like him and referred me to the debate coach, who then offered to let me sit in on a practice.
My first day in the debate club was eye-opening to say the least. I, like many other teens are, was interested in two things. (1) Fitting in and (2) being right. While I definitely discovered like-minded teens on that first day, I also discovered a room full of teens hell-bent on convincing me I was wrong. That initial invitation turned to an invitation to participate in an actual tournament. I was awful at debate, but I noticed improvements from round-to-round. The additional realization that adults were listening to and considering my opinions added another layer of interest to my fascination with the activity.
While these experiences encouraged me to participate in debate, it was the Denver Urban Debate League that drew me into this community of like-minded teens. The Denver Urban Debate League provided me with a home away from home. An escape from the struggles of school and family life. It was a place where I was recognized for my voice and thoughts. A place where there was safety amongst the intellectual adventurism.
It was this community’s draw that encouraged me to excel academically and graduate high school as Valedictorian. It was this community’s draw that encouraged me to pursue collegiate debate where I now find myself on track to graduating with a business major and two minors. It was this community’s draw that encouraged me to return to my high school as the assistant debate coach. It was this community that helped shape and mold me into the adult I am now.
University of Denver, Sturm College of Law. 2255 East Evans Avenue Suite 406, Denver, CO 80210