Andy attended Martin Luther King Jr, Early College as his older brother did. After a few weeks of starting the 8th grade, he noticed that his brother would disappear for a weekend every month to “debate,” and come home with a trophy. A language arts teacher had mentioned to Andy that he was very much like his brother and referred him to the debate coach, who then offered to let him sit in on a practice.
Andy’s first day in the debate club was “eye-opening to say the least”. Andy says that he, like many other teens, 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. Andy says that he felt awful at debate, but noticed improvements from round-to-round. The additional realization that adults were listening to and considering his opinions added another layer of interest to his fascination with the activity.
While these experiences encouraged Andy to participate in debate, he claims it was the Denver Urban Debate League that drew him into this community of like-minded teens. Andy claims The Denver Urban Debate League provided him with a home away from home. An escape from the struggles of school and family life. It was a place where he was recognized for his 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
Executive Director, Jessica Clark JessicaClark@urbandebate.org
Program & Communications Manager, Gillian Breuer GillianBreuer@urbandebate.org