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Many Winners in Debates

November 14, 2013 by Robert Asahina

The Executive Director of the Dallas Urban Debate Alliance, Nicole Serrano, shared with us a story about one of the students who participated in the the qualifying rounds of the second annual economic debate for high school students hosted by the 4% Growth Project at the Bush Center. The 2013 tournament, co-sponsored by the Dallas Urban Debate Alliance, the National Association for Urban Debate Leagues, the St. Mark’s Heart of Texas Invitational, and Southern Methodist University, included nearly 100 students from around the country.

One of them was a high-schooler named Gustavo, Serrano told us, who won an internship last summer to K&L Gates law firm. When Serrano asked him about the competition this year, he wrote:

I think it made me think about U.S. history, because of all the examples ... like the Cold War, World War II, or the Great Depression. The most interesting thing in debate has been the importance of foreign affairs to the U.S. The U.S. economy depends on many different countries to function.

Serrano tells us that Gustavo was an under-performing student when he joined debate in the 9th grade. A year later, his GPA was nearly a full letter-grade higher, and he is interested and invested in his education. He says he now wants to become an engineer.

Although debates are a competition that produces a single champion, Gustavo's experience shows that all the competitors can emerge as winners.


Author

Robert Asahina

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.

 

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