Guest posted by Diane Mancini, St. Paul.

Diane posing with her daughters, Audrey (left) and Elsa (right).

I teach Spanish to students in grades 6-8 at a local middle school. I support the MNUDL for the following reasons:


Our eldest daughter, Elsa, began participating in debate at Highland Park Middle in St. Paul as a 6th grader, and she was immediately hooked. She loved researching the topics and competing against other teams. She continued debating throughout high school, which led to competing at national tournaments and coaching the middle school team. Her enthusiasm rubbed off on her younger sister, Audrey, who is in her fourth year of debating. The support and attention to detail that the cheerful and encouraging MNUDL staff consistently provide have played a fundamental role in creating a rich experience for our daughters.


Many suburban and private schools put significant resources towards their debate teams. The MNUDL levels the playing field for urban schools so that students of all socio-economic backgrounds can participate. By having a Spanish Debate program, the MNUDL supports our Spanish-speaking students and encourages multilingualism, an asset for everyone. Likewise, Somali Debate highlights the importance of working with and supporting our East African community members. Whenever I attend tournaments, I am struck by the positive energy in a room full of students of many races united in their love of debate.


Debating helps students build knowledge about our world and develop critical thinking skills. They learn to communicate and to lead. They learn to win and lose graciously. They learn resilience and persistence as they revise their arguments and try again. We need people with these skills to help us solve the global challenges confronting us. The MNUDL supports this work.

Diane is a member of our Advocates for Debate community, which means that she supports our programs with a monthly donation. Join her in sustaining our year-round programming with a budget-friendly donation you can set and forget! Learn more and sign up today.