Dallas ISD debaters persuade their way to honors and accolades

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Participating in debate requires students to spend hours in research, writing, and team practice, all of which help cultivate self-discipline, problem solving and critical thinking skills.

Studies say debate increases the likelihood of college attendance and promotes intellectual abilities that range from stronger written and oral communication skills to better reading comprehension and increased knowledge of current events.

Some Dallas ISD debaters recently learned that public recognition is another benefit of debate, as the Dallas Urban Debate Alliance presented middle and high school competitors with awards and recognition for their efforts this school year. A nonprofit organization, the Dallas Urban Debate Alliance directs the district’s debate program in partnership with Dallas ISD.

Alliance officials recognized debaters, their schools, teacher-coaches, and volunteers at its year-end awards dinner. Former district Trustee Elizabeth Jones, who was named Alliance’s Administrator of the Year, acknowledged the value debate holds for students.

“As a former award-winning national debater, I know the tremendous importance of the DUDA program and the benefits that our students receive through participating in debate,” she said. “Throughout my time on the board, I have sought to ensure that our students have access and support and have spent many hours volunteering on behalf of our students as well. I was very honored and humbled to receive the 2015 DUDA Administrator of the Year Award.”

The following students were singled out for exceptional performance:

Debaters of the Year:

Sixth Grade: Brandon Canizales, Thomas C. Marsh Middle School

Seventh Grade: Karen Chavez, Irma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School

Eighth Grade: Trace Rosenbower, Alex W. Spence Talented/Gifted Academy

Ninth Grade: Fatima Alonso, Sunset High School

Tenth Grade: Enrique Granados, Trinidad Garza Early College High School

Eleventh Grade: Beverly Balasu, The School of Science and Engineering at Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Center

Twelfth Grade: Zeles Vargas, W.T. White High School and Raviola Wenno – North Dallas High School

National Finalist: Victor Martinez, Sunset High School

Volunteer of the Year- Student: Barry Levine, Trinidad Garza Early College High School

Special honors were also presented to schools in recognition of their outstanding debate programs.

Spotlight Schools:

High School: A Maceo Smith New Tech High School, Coached by Wendy Jackson

Middle School: J.L. Long Middle School, Coached by Karimot Jinadu

Coaches of the Year

High School: Matt Summers, Thomas Jefferson High School

Middle School: Patricia Hay, Alex W. Spence Talented/Gifted Academy

Assistant Coach: Patrick McGhee, Woodrow Wilson High School

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