This year’s Mayor’s Challenge debate, focused on government surveillance of cell phones, was another resounding success!

The event was hosted at Twin Cities PBS in Saint Paul, and we are grateful for the wonderful support of TPT. An audience of over 160 community and business leaders filled the studio to watch the showcase debate between a high school debate team from St. Paul and one from Minneapolis. Hodan Osman (Edison High School) and Malik Akintola (Roosevelt High School) debated against Ella Harker (Como High School) and Carlos Alderete (Johnson High School), bringing the audience to their feet in applause and inspiring Mayor Coleman — present for his 4th year as a judge at the event — to say that these young debaters give him hope for our future.

It was truly inspiring for everyone to see the talent and confidence of the four students as they took the podium in front of the audience and a number of TPT’s cameras that rolled through the spaces between the tables. With many of the family members in attendance and the whole room listening, we couldn’t be prouder of Hodan, Malik, Ella and Carlos. The event was their triumph.

Special thanks go to our panel of VIP judges, made up of Mayor Coleman, Minnesota Chief Inclusion Officer James Burroughs, President & CEO of the Minnesota High Tech Association Margaret Anderson Kelliher, and Associate Clinical Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota Law School Mark Kappelhoff.

And thanks also go to our special partners Civic Eagle – a new app focused on connecting civic engagement with social life – and of course TPT.

To all of our supporters who donated to keep policy debate strong in the Twin Cities: you make it possible for hundreds of young voices be heard. Thank you!

We can’t wait for next year’s Mayor’s Challenge!