The first tournament of the season was a big success! Nearly 150 debaters came to Washington Technology for the season opener on Saturday, October 3rd. It was an exciting day of debating, strong competition, tasty pizza, and fun!

11 UDL schools attended the tournament, bringing 69 young debaters, all of whom were focused on taking home a medal or one of the prized trophies.UDL-38

Everyone debated hard, learned a ton, regardless of wins or loses, and there was much applause at the end-of-day award ceremony.

We welcomed 11 brand-new volunteer judges to the tournament, and the debaters nominated Natasha Olubajo, Sidd Singhal, and Lyes Bnarbane as their favorite judges. All three received a medal and a voucher exchangeable for one burrito at the next tournament they judge!

The season opener also inaugurated Rookie Workshops. These workshops were taught by our Program Director Travis, and introduced new debaters UDL-12__1444671140_141.224.139.13to the themes, skills and concepts that debate and this year’s topic involves.

The teams rocked their debate rounds and went home with a bunch of awards:

Highland Park’s Dan Bannister and Ian Dill took home the 1st place trophy for Varsity division. Central’s Joseph Walbran won Novice, and South High School’s Eiset Mebrahtu and Ben Phi were the Rookie division champions.

Aleda Hoover and Ben Jaeger took 2nd place in Novice division for Roosevelt High School. And Washington Technology’s Browerti Koffah and Zarina Sementelli won 3rd place in Junior Varsity.

Never Huber, from Washburn, was the 1st place speaker in Varsity division.

Congratulations to everyone who participated in the tournament! Awesome job studying hard, debating with skill and respect, and starting out the season on a great high note!


Photo credit to Armand Langston Hayes Photography.