I was a 4 year policy debater for Parkway North High School in St. Louis. At the University of Missouri-Columbia, I debated for 2.5 years on the NDT/CEDA policy debate circuit, achieving some competive success (though constrained by lack of institutional funding). I have coached and assisted high school teams to 2 state tournaments and 2 national tournaments and donate my time on request to teams looking for advice, coaching, or help. I also donate time to judging debate tournaments when I can.
I have a discussion on the state of debate in Missouri as well as some arguments on why the circuit has been less than smart about maintaining interest and integrity here at the Missouri forum on www.cross-x.com, the premier high school debate website. If you’re interested in the subject it is a good read.
If you don’t know much about the activity, I can assure you that debate is one of the best things for high schoolers to engage in. It was one of the most intellectually stimulating activities I’ve ever engaged in and provided me with a solid intellectual foundation for approaching knowledge and advocacy. If you can ever advocate for something germane to secondary education, advocate for the institution and support of debate activities in high schools. The benefits are profound.
Full disclosure: I was affliated with Cross-x for many years have great respect for Phil Kerpen, the guy who owns the site. Phil’s politics are a little different from mine (he’s a right-leaning libertarian and I’m a left-leaning libertarian but he has a mind of tremendous precision and I’ve learned tons from his work.