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Lillie Ouellette-Howitz, representing Minneapolis South High School in Minnesota, was the winner of the second annual economic debate national championship at the George W. Bush Presidential Center. Ouellette-Howitz was among nearly 100 high-school students from around the country who competed on October 19-20 in a program sponsored by the Bush Institute’s signature economic initiative, the 4% Growth Project, in partnership with the Dallas Urban Debate Alliance, the National Association for Urban Debate Leagues, the St. Mark’s Heart of Texas Invitational, and Southern Methodist University.
“This was the most exciting tournament I have ever won, especially with the scholarship opportunities,” Ouellette-Howitz told WCCO in Minneapolis.
Arguing the affirmative case in the final round of debate, over whether privatization of Mexico’s energy sector would benefit the country’s people, Ouellette-Howitz defeated runner-up Hope Merens , from Milwaukee. Semifinalists in the previous round were Nick Caputo, from Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, and Sam Srock, from Milwaukee. Quarterfinalists included Dan Bannister, Samuel Mulvaney, Christopher Oquist, and Trace Thompson, all from Minneapolis.
The debaters were also ranked according to "speaker points," awarded for the eloquence, clarity, and precision of their presentations. By these measures, the top 10 speakers were as follows:
1. Lillie Ouellette-Howitz, Minneapolis
2. Dan Bannister, Minneapolis
3. Samuel Mulvaney, Minneapolis
4. Hope Merens, Milwaukee
5. Richard Huang, Lexington
6. Thatcher Townson, Celina
7. Emma Daszkiewicz, Seattle
8. Danielle Edmonds, Corpus Christi
9. Nathan McTeer, Baltimore
10. Christopher Oquist, Minneapolis
Praising the debaters, President Bush said, "It’s very interesting to me that you’re the kind of person who wants to get away from the Internet and the computer and interface with students from around the world in a forum that’s competitive.”
Robert Asahina has been a newspaper and magazine editor and writer, a book publishing executive and editor, and a data management consultant. He was editor in chief and deputy publisher of Broadway Books, president and publisher of the adult publishing group of Golden Books, and vice president and senior editor of Simon and Schuster; deputy managing editor of The New York Sun and an editor at The New York Times Book Review, Harper's, George, and The Public Interest; and a consultant at Freddie Mac. He is the author of "Just Americans" and of numerous articles and reviews for The Wall Street Journal, Harper's, The New York Times Book Review, and elsewhere.