Schools Selected for the 2014 Citi Financial Literacy Debates

The schools participating in the 2014 Citi Financial Literacy Debates have been selected. Those schools, along with their teams and coaches, are as follows.

Bogan H.S.
Team: Kayla Davis & Taylor Lampley
Coach: Christine Laadimi

Michele Clark H.S.
Team: Brianna Dye & Tia Schaffer
Coach: Phyllis Ford-France

Epic Academy
Team: Cassandra Robledo & Marquisha Howard
Coach: Alexandria Ibrahim

M.L. King College Prep
Team: Adam Glover & Jacky Chow
Coach: Justin Graham

Little Village H.S.
Team: Jason Lua & Lisbeth Reynoso
Coach: Chris McCabe

Morgan Park H.S.
Team: Andrea Alcantar & Cameron Thomas
Coach: Janae Meaders

Senn H.S.
Team: Eric Harrington & Jorge Cotaquispe
Coach: Amy Coffelt & Nikole Fasoranti

Urban Prep Bronzeville Academy
Team: Christian Buie & Jari Watson
Coach: Lamont Holifield

Westinghouse College Prep
Team: Braxton Jenkins & Wemin Deng
Coach: Eric Reyes & Victor Anaya

University of Chicago Woodlawn H.S.
Team: Daniel McGary & Gerard Gueringer
Coach: Max Smith

What follows is a a detailed overview of the 2014 Citi Financial Literacy Debates.


The 2014 Citi Financial Literacy Debates are a series of debates conducted by Chicago Public High School students in the spring, 2014, sponsored and administered by Citibank, the Chicago Debate Commission, and the National Association for Urban Debate Leagues. They are intended to engage the public – the citizens of Chicagoland – in an evidence-based discussion on important issues of personal finance, led by some of the city’s most accomplished high school debaters.

These public debates use a format designed to be readily followed by a public audience rather than in front of debate coaches and trained debate judges. In the Chicago Debate League, they parallel the Performance Trust Public Debates on the U.S. Economy in the fall semester. Because the topics and format are not the same as the competitive academic debate topic and format used throughout the year in the CDL, the students who participate in the 2014 Citi Financial Literacy Debates will undertake six weeks of training prior to the public debates themselves.

Participant Schools and Debaters

Ten two-person debate teams will be selected from ten schools in the Chicago Debate League. Because of the interest of the corporate sponsor (Citibank), schools from the Regional Circuit Conference are not eligible, nor are guest schools. Schools are welcome and even encouraged to name 2 – 4 additional student participants to help their debate team prepare and practice for the public debates themselves; so each school might put forward a “team” of 4 – 6 participating debaters.

Format and Topic

The format of the 2014 Citi Financial Literacy Debates will be the public debate format used by the Performance Trust Public Debates and by the NAUDL in other venues. It incorporates the components of policy debate that make it remarkably rigorous – in particular, the standards of refutation and the use of textual evidence. The format is designed to be comprehended by and engaging to a general audience, unlike academic debate, which can be appreciated only by specialists.

The overarching topic of the 2014 Citi Financial Literacy Debates is personal finance. Specifically, the debates will be on these two resolutions:

  • Resolved: That the benefits of a four-year college education significantly outweigh the costs.
  • Resolved: That it is almost always better to own a home than to rent an apartment in today’s economy.

Event Structure

The 2014 Citi Financial Literacy Debates will be held over two days, May 9th and 15th. On May 15th the debates involving all 10 teams will be held at the offices of Citibank in downtown Chicago. The debates will be judged by panels of Citibank volunteers and Chicago Debate League judges. Each school is required to bring one judge (which can be their coach) to the debates on May 9th.

The ten teams will be divided into two competitively comparable pods of five teams each. Within each pod, each team will debate four rounds against the other teams in its cell, two rounds on the affirmative and two on the negative. Each team will debate both resolutions twice, once on the affirmative and once on the negative.

At the end of the day on May 9th, each team will have a number of ballots – likely 12, as there will likely be 3 judges in each debate round. The two teams with the highest number of wins in their respective pods – that is, the winner of each pod – will debate in the championship public debate round: the 2014 Citibank Final Public Debate on May 15th. That championship debate will be on the college costs resolution, and the team with the better record in their respective pod will select their side (affirmative or negative).

All teams and coaches are expected to be present for the championship round on May 15th.

The judge panels for the championship debate will consist of VIP sponsor volunteers, and administrators from Chicago Public Schools, the Chicago Debate Commission Board of Directors, and National Association for Urban Debate Leagues Board of Directors.

Location and Transportation

On May 9th, the Citi Financial Literacy Debates will be held at the Citibank office in downtown Chicago – 500 W. Canal St. On May 15th, the 2014 Citibank Final Public Debate will take place at Westinghouse College Prep, 3223 W. Franklin Blvd.

Participating schools are responsible for their own transportation to and from both sites.

Preparation Requirements

The administrative partners and sponsors of the 2014 Citi Financial Literacy Debates expect participating schools to take preparation for these debates quite seriously. Doing so will ensure that students learn all that this project has the potential to teach them – it is a potentially transformative program for CPS students. It will also ensure that the CDL showcases for the city and for CDL sponsors all that CDL students learn throughout their participation in the league.

Our planning timeline lays out specific dates of the preparation events and requirements referred to below.

There are three preparation workshops in April. All three run from 5pm – 7pm, and are held at the Citibank offices in downtown Chicago. All three begin with a dinner for all attendees. Participating debaters are required to attend all three workshops. Coaches are encouraged to attend at least two, but are only required to attend the first workshop.

All schools must submit a researched and written case on both sides (affirmative and negative) of both resolutions, and must do so by the deadline (April 15th). Schools will receive feedback from the CDC and/or NAUDL and are then required to submit case revisions for all four cases by the second deadline (April 29th). Schools not submitting cases and revised cases are subject to having compensation docked. An important resource assisting schools in writing their cases will be the 2014 Citi Financial Literacy Debates Research Guide, assembled by Citi expert financial professionals.

Finally, each school will be required to conduct one internet-based practice debate (which is in addition to the in-person practice debate at the third workshop).

School Compensation

Each participating school receives $500 in coach compensation. The first $250 will be disbursed after the CDC receives drafts of the four cases teams are required to submit. The second $250 will be disbursed on site at the debates on May 9th.

Contact us if you have any questions.

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