Debate Indy Hosts Citywide Competition on the Topic of Economic Engagement with Latin America
INDIANAPOLIS—On Saturday, the Gambold Prep Gators made history as the first Champions of Indianapolis debate. Jade Stiles and Michael Ivy, first year debaters at IPS’ newest high school, emerged victorious after three rounds of debate. The competition marks the culmination of a year of honing their debating skills with Debate Indy.
This year, high school students from IPS and charter schools around the city have sparred on US economic engagement with Latin America. Students have debated whether to end the Cuban embargo, how to develop infrastructure on the southern border of the US, and giving development aid to rural areas of Mexico.At the championship, debaters learn only minutes before each round whether they will argue for or against engagement.
The organization hosting the event, Debate Indy, is a non-profit that seeks to empower youth voice through debate in underserved high schools. Representing schools across Indianapolis, the young leaders of Debate Indy learned new debate skills in the program’s first year of programming. Schools working with Debate Indy attend free tournaments and coaching workshops and get access to evidence on the topic.
Lavaris Knight, a Gambold debater who achieved second place at the competition, remarked that “debate is fun and mentally challenging.” He said that his work in debate gives him a higher appreciation for “argumentative strategies” that are often overlooked in other forms of education.
Tyler Ivy, Knight’s partner, reflected that “our team was able to expand our knowledge on different topics that we were able to apply in our academic lives.” Although “at times we were blindsided at different debates,” Tyler acknowledges that debate is a fun and effective way to build knowledge: “overall it was a roller-coaster ride that I’ll never forget!”
Debate has proven to be an excellent tool for creating college skills and connections. Debate Indy has built partnerships with the college debate teams at Butler University and IU-Bloomington to encourage those who want to continue the activity at the post-secondary level. Several of the Gambold debaters will prepare for next year’s debate season, in which the topic will be the exploration and development of Earth’s oceans, at the Hoosier Debate Camp at IU-Bloomington in June.
Although hosting the first City Championship in Indianapolis history is an important landmark, Debate Indy remains committed to growing debate in the city. Gambold Prep was the only school from the IPS District to compete in this year’s Championship. Many schools that could benefit from the competition that have yet to take part, and Debate Indy looks forward to working with more schools during next year’s competitions.