The 2010 DEBATE-Kansas City (DKC) City Championship sponsored by the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association (KCMBA) was an opportunity for the best debaters in the city to shine and a rewarding experience for all involved. Nearly 200 DKC students competed in student congress and policy debate at Lincoln Preparatory High School on Saturday, February 27th with the top competitors advancing to the finals on Sunday, February 28th at UMKC.
The City Championship featured guest speakers, tough competition and unique opportunities for the students participating. The winning varsity duo from Kansas City Central has been selected as one of two DKC policy debate representatives at the Urban Debate Nationals in New York. Meanwhile, Coronado captured the first ever policy debate championship in middle school. In the biggest event, middle school student congress, Sam Arnold’s (Center) chivalry helped him earn first place. Complete results are found here.
“KCMBA has been tremendous in sponsoring the City Championship,” noted Gabe Cook, DKC’s Director. “They provided food, prizes, trophies, judges, a guest speaker, and two debate camp scholarships.”
Jennifer McAdam, Chair of KCMBA’s Young Lawyers Section (YLS) Public Service Committee, noted, “the Young Lawyers Section of the KCMBA was delighted to sponsor the City Championship tournament for a second year.” Jennifer took part in the awards ceremony along with Betsy Blake, a KCMBA YLS board member, and guest speaker Michael Williams, of Williams Law LLC.
To kick off the Saturday awards ceremony, Mr. Williams gave a presentation highlighting opportunities in the field of law. His speech demystified the process of becoming a lawyer and encouraged students to consider the legal profession. Mr. Williams also fielded questions from students wanting to know more about his experiences and the field of law generally.
In addition to tournament sponsorship, KCMBA has also created a program (Lawyers in the Classroom) whereby KCMBA lawyers and UMKC law students volunteer their time and expertise to mentor young debaters. “The Lawyers in the Classroom program has been a hit among the lawyers and law students that volunteer,” said Betsy Blake, a coordinator for the new program. “The volunteers often comment about the skill level of DEBATE-KC students – we think there are some great future lawyers in our midst!”
Dr. Prince’s Drive for Excellence
Dr. MiUndrae Prince, Kansas City, Missouri Assistant Superintendent for Federal Programs/Chief Compliance Officer addressed the students before lunch to congratulate them for participating in academic debate and to inspire them to continue reaching for excellence.
Dr. Prince applauded students for engaging in an activity many people fear more than death: public speaking. He praised the students’ efforts to pursue excellence through debate, but noted that pursuing excellence required commitment, the right attitude and defining excellence for yourself.
“Expect more than others think is possible,” Dr. Prince said, challenging the scholars to set high goals and commit to achieving them.
High School Results
As the champions in varsity policy debate, Sidney Brown and Marquez Waldrup-Banks of Central will be attending the Urban Debate Nationals in New York, sponsored by the National Association of Urban Debate Leagues (NAUDL). One other DKC team will be selected to attend on an at-large basis.
In novice policy debate, Central struck again. The top seeded duo of Brionna Thompson and Corrie Mills were set to meet the winner of the semi-final on Sunday. However, a health condition meant Brionna was unable to join her partner for the final round. Going “maverick,” Corrie debated both speaker positions and defeated Lee A. Tolbert’s team of Jalani Smith and Brittany Arnold Jones.
In high school student congress, the Presiding Officer (PO) stole the show. Kalib Keath of Lincoln Prep spent most of his time during the competition, including the final round, serving as the Presiding Officer. As the PO, Kalib kept order in the session, called on speakers, kept track of precedence and was responsible for enforcing Robert’s Rules of Order. His outstanding efforts were rewarded with a first place trophy.
The race for sweepstakes (or total points earned by a school), was captured by a familiar force. Kansas City Central has won every DKC high school tournament this season, and the City Championship was no exception. With strong competitors in both policy debate and student congress, Central has simply been the best.
Middle School Results
For the first time at a City Championship, DKC offered policy debate for middle school competitors. Coronado Middle School was up to the challenge, advancing two teams to the semi-finals along with the eventual winners, Aviance Battles and Angelica Straws.
In student congress, Sam Arnold’s (Center) act of chivalry helped him earn first place. During the final session Mr. Arnold was called upon to give his third speech, and with the scoring rules of congress, he knew a third speech would greatly help his chances at victory. However, he declined the speech, noting that based on the rules of congress (precedence) another student deserved the floor.
“Sam Arnold displayed integrity and caught everyone by surprise,” noted Isaac Allen, DKC’s Program Coordinator and the Presiding Officer for the final session. “It is very rare to see a student sacrifice their own competitive success in favor of fairness.”
However, Mr. Arnold’s sacrifice paid off in the end. The scoring in student congress allows judges to consider good citizenship in selecting a winner through a process called “nominations”. Sam’s unselfish adherence to the rules helped him earn nominations from impressed judges. Along with judges, the students in the final session were allowed to vote. Their combined rankings contributed to one quarter of the total scoring.
“I know from tallying the student vote that several of his peers rewarded Sam’s honesty with a first place vote,” noted Mr. Allen. “It was nice to see Sam rewarded by his fellow competitors.”
The total sweepstake award went to Lincoln Prep Middle. With a strong showing in both student congress and policy debate, the Tigers took home a third straight sweeps victory.
The 2010 DKC City Championship would not have been possible without community support. Judges were recruited from across the city, including several members of the KCMBA, faculty from UMKC and other area universities, DKC alumni, and dozens of former debaters.
Meanwhile, the gracious hosts at Lincoln Prep made day-one seamless. Former coach, Martha Brackman, returned to help current coaches, Lyle Davis and Mike Russo, provide accommodations for hundreds of students, coaches and volunteers. In addition, Lincoln students rolled up their sleeves to serve food and keep the building clean.
The sponsorship provided by the KCMBA allowed DKC to run a first rate tournament. With two meals, guest speakers, and prizes for all participants each student was given a meaningful experience.