Meet the 2021 Mayors Challenge Debaters!

We’re excited to introduce the debaters who will compete in the 2021 Mayors Challenge: The Great Water Debate!

What are the merits of switching to a nonpoint source regulation? Students from both sides of the river weigh in. All speeches were researched, written, and performed by these debaters:


Ellen Gasongo (all pronouns)

Ellen is a 10th grade student at Roseville Area High School. This is Ellen’s second year doing debate.

“The thing I like most about debate is learning about topics that I wouldn’t in school, and how nice everyone is. This year, I’ve gained a lot of knowledge on the water and criminal justice topics. I’ve also gained reasoning skills.”

Ellen also enjoys drawing and painting, and looks forward to meeting people at the event!

Ezra Gearhart (he/him)

Ezra Gearhart is a Junior at Minneapolis South High School Minneapolis, competing in his 3rd year of debate.

“The thing I like the most about debate is the people in it, as well as learning about how the world works and how to be and think strategically. I’ve gotten a lot of things out of debate- lots of friends, opportunities, and developed far better argumentative and critical thinking skills than I would have otherwise. I also have developed a love for research and learning about new topics and subjects.”

Ezra also participates in the Asian Student Association and in student council. Outside of school he enjoys biking, camping, and canoeing.


Micah Cahoy-Nanneman (he/him)

Micah is a sophomore at Washburn High School in Minneapolis, and has been in debate for about five years, since 6th grade.

“What I love most about debate is the respectful arguments that we get to have over real world issues, and the many different perspectives that debate has given me the opportunity to look at and study. Debate has given me much more confidence in public speaking, and I have also found myself much more involved and aware of current politics and events than I was before I began debate.”

Other hobbies of Micah’s include reading, drawing, writing, and researching current events and issues in our state, our country, and our nation.

Lily Teske (she/they)

Lily Teske currently debates at Saint Paul Central High School and is in 10th grade. This is Lily’s fourth year competing, including middle school debate.

“Debate has improved my analytical reading, listening, speaking, and writing skills. I can research and write a paper far faster and better than I was able to before debate… I spend a lot of time with debate- I coach Murray Middle School‘s debate team as well as competing at the high school level.”

Lily also plays violin and is involved in several ensembles.

Get your free ticket to the Mayors Challenge today and join us on December 13th for this fun virtual event: