This summer, Chicago Debate League students prepared vigorously for the upcoming debate season by participating in the 13th annual Chicago Debate Summer Institute (CDSI). 156 students representing 37 schools attended the workshop, with 118 attending at least one full week of classes. The CDSI has become a national model for the urban debate summer institute, with new Urban Debate Leagues drawing on the CDSI’s data-driven practices.

Here are a few student comments from their post-workshop evaluations:

• “Most debaters from my school went this year. It really gives you a head start on what you need for the upcoming year.”

• “I made some great friends, gained debate experience, and wish there were a few more days at the end.”

• “My experience was a good one because I am a shy person and now am better at talking in front of people.”

• “I learned a lot from no knowledge at all, the staff was great, and it was a lot of fun.”

Eighty eight students took part in the institute tournament, with top awards in the Varsity division going to students from Brooks College Prep, Marshall Metro HS and Morgan Park HS. Award winners in the Junior Varsity tournament division attend Harlan, Jones College Prep and Whitney Young.

Coaches from CDL schools, as well as college coaches and debaters served as instructors and lab leaders at the CDSI. High school coaches from Brooks College Prep, Hope College Prep, Hyde Park Academy and Von Steuben, and college instructors from Northwestern University and the University of Texas took part.

The Chicago Public Schools obtained over $100,000 in grants from federal stimulus funding and the Workforce Investment Act for nearly one hundred students to take part in a 6-week internship culminating in the CDSI. CDL debaters took internships with more than a dozen elected officials, several law firms and leading non-profit agencies for the month of July. Their paid summer internships culminated with two intensive weeks of academic training – this is what serving the educational and professional futures of the deserving public school students in Chicago truly looks like!