March 7, 2016 / Inspiration, News, Press Releases / Posted by: Elise Hanks

World Speech Day to Mark First Grand St. Settlement Youth Debate Tournament

Middle school students from each of Grand St. Settlement’s six Manhattan afterschool sites will send their champions to the agency’s first-ever debate tournament on Tuesday, March 15, World Speech Day. The students have been preparing arguments about the issue of gentrification in their neighborhoods and will arrive ready to compete for the trophy and Lower East Side Pride bragging rights.



These students join the New York Urban Debate League (NYUDL), recognized as the most successful debate league in the nation, as well as youth across the globe as they put their research, civic knowledge, and public speaking skills to work.

“Debate isn’t just about helping youth create strong formal arguments in support of an issue or cause; here, debate is about life-long learning, critical thinking and skill-building. This initiative empowers youth to use their voice for advocacy and pushes them to achieve beyond what they thought possible,”

– Mimi Woldemariam, Deputy Director of Youth Services in Manhattan, who also competed with NYUDL as a student.

Made possible through partnership with the New York Urban Debate League and months of practice during afterschool programming made possible by the city’s Department of Youth and Community Development, the competition aims to empower students from under-resourced communities to engage in public speaking, civics, law and ethics – all of which are key to our youth program’s curricula to build active and educated community members and leaders.

The tournament will begin at 3:30 PM with slots for teams from six schools. The panel of judges will include Executive Director Robert Cordero, who is looking forward to celebrating the tremendous accomplishments of all the competing students. The winners will be announced at 6:00 PM.


Download the Press Release.

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