In the midst of trying times, the Washington Urban Debate League and the Matthew Harris Ornstein Memorial Foundation put on a debate institute for the record books. In a nod to the times, this year debate institute was all virtual, but that didn't stop debaters from learning a lot and having a ton of fun. This year 152 debaters came together to form the largest single urban debate league summer institute in the nation. There were 33 staff members from 17 states. Guest speakers included Martin Luther King III, his wife Andrea and daughter Yolanda; Congresswoman Deb Haaland of New Mexico; John Malcolm of the Heritage Foundation; Southern District of New York Circuit Judge Ken Karas; and Councilwoman elect Janeese Lewis George from Ward 4 in DC. This year's institute also included a college fair with 23 schools represented and over 60 students.
One moment that is always well anticipated in Debate Institute is the awarding of the Matthew Harris Ornstein Outstanding Debater Award. This year was no exception. The award went to Dennis Martinez of Northwestern High School. Dennis is a 17 year old senior who will be beginning his third year of debate. This was his second summer at debate camp. You can read all about him here: https://www.urbandebatewashingtondc.org/single-post/2020/08/21/2020-Matthew-Harris-Ornstein-Outstanding-Debater-Award-Winner-Dennis-Martinez
Plans are already underway for the 2021 Debate Institute. But one thing we know for sure, virtual or in-person, we can put on a phenomenal experience for our students!