The BUDL BUZZ – Debate and Choice 11.2016 Edition


Hello BUDL Friends!


Through the practice, discipline, excitement and challenge of competitive debate, our students are presented with countless opportunities to make meaningful choices in school and life.  This month’s newsletter focuses on debate and choice. Debate not only transforms and inspires students to be the change that they seek in the world, but hopefully shapes them to be the best versions of themselves that they can be.  We at BUDL are privileged to hear, witness, and share our students’ accounts of how debate changes their outlooks and provides them opportunities to make better choices.




Debaters at Matthew A. Henson Elementary Middle School are Making Meaningful Choices in their Lives


After-school practice at school and competitive debate on Saturdays are places of great academic, emotional, and social impact and growth for our students.  At Matthew A. Henson, debaters’ budding decision-making skills are on display in and out of the tournament.


Several 5th graders at the school offer inspiring examples. Determined to stay in debate, Malik decided to focus on his behavior, vocabulary, fluency, and presentation so as not to distract from the important points he is arguing during rounds. Meanwhile, the new partnership of Nathan and Chyna, forged when both students decided they needed a reset, is serving to complement each debater’s personal strengths. This sort of strategic thinking is not only helping them to bond as friends and teammates, but also to grow as young thinkers.


Ms. Copeland, a Matthew A. Henson teacher and dedicated supporter of the team, reiterates just how much debate is helping her students to make better decisions. She shares that following a tense interaction after school, another debater deliberately reached out to share her feelings and address the situation calmly. “Debate is helping students to understand that you can solve problems and deal with conflict without resorting to screaming or fighting,” she reports. “They are making better choices in how they look at debate, how they look at school, and how they interact with each other.”


In fact, these changes extend beyond the school wall; students have been reaching out to opposing teams across the city as well.  At the last EMS tournament, Ms. Copeland noticed that her debaters have been making it a point to talk to their opponents before the round starts, laughing, joking, and sometimes even becoming new friends. Ms. Copeland is so proud that her students are building up the debate community, one friend at a time, and applying a more objective and open mindset in not only their arguments and speeches, but also their lives.


Thank you students for your hard work and love of debate! BUDL is grateful for supporters like Ms. Copeland and the coach at Matthew A. Henson for inspiring students to make meaningful choices in their lives.








Thursday, October 27th marked BUDL’s first public debate of the school year sponsored by Pat and Peter Handal along with J4P Associates, and we could not be prouder of our six brave debaters (including one student brand-new to the debate stage!).

In front of about 50 dignitaries, public officials, and community members, teams representing Calverton Elementary Middle School and Western High School addressed whether this Fall’s presidential debates gave the American people enough information to cast an informed vote.

Speaking before the crowd, Winston Wilkinson, Chief of Staff in the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives in the State of Maryland, commended the six debaters on their confidence and poise–both of which were definitely in evidence as they questioned and rebutted each other.

We are so proud of our young people, and excited to hear them continue to share their insights with the public in 2017!






On November 3rd, Iggie Evans, our wonderful Debate 101 instructor, led students from Mergenthaler and Western in a lively discussion comprising debate anxiety, cross-examination, and how to strengthen a topic. If students would like to join and attend our weekly Debate 101 workshops, connect with HS Program Manager, Aram Boykin at for more information.


Anne Marie Rooney is the newest addition to the BUDL team! Anne Marie will support the Competitive Debate program as Program Coordinator.  An educator and coordinator with experience designing and leading classes in storytelling, poetry, social-emotional learning, and art, she has worked with libraries, community centers, after-school programs, museums, and schools to share creative expression with people of all ages. A graduate of the Cornell and Carnegie Mellon writing programs, she is co-founder of Line Assembly, a collective of poets and educators committed to community-building through the literary arts. She is passionate about supporting young people in strengthening their own unique voices, and for this reason is very excited about joining the Baltimore Urban Debate League!


Anne Marie has hit the ground running with a tournament and public debate already under her belt.  “I feel so lucky to have witnessed, in my first week, not one but two debates! At October’s Courthouse Debate, I was particularly inspired to see our debaters jump right into current events, and engage on not only a policy but also a personal level. As the new Program Coordinator, I am excited about continuing to strengthen and grow our wonderful volunteer base of community members, BUDL alumni, and current debaters. Our teams have so much insight to share with the world!”  Welcome to the team Anne Marie, we are so glad to have you!





On Saturday, November 12th for BUDL’s third high school tournament in partnership with the Baltimore Catholic Forensic League held at Dulaney High School located at 255 E. Padonia Road, Lutherville-Timonium, MD 21093.  Also come check us out at our next tournament on December 17th!


Contact HS Program Manager, Aram Boykin at or Anne Marie at if you are interested in judging or would like to volunteer!






Before we all prepare for the Thanksgiving Day holiday, please join us on Saturday, November 19th for an elementary-middle school tournament held at Roland Park Elementary and give thanks to the hard work our students have put forth all semester. Please join us to give cheer and thanks to the wonderful students who present persuasive arguments on vacant housing in Baltimore.
Sign up today and judge a debate, help us serve a pizza lunch, or silently cheer on students as they tackle rounds with confidence!





Debate Strategies & Skills in Math?


Ever wonder about our Professional Development work with hundreds of teachers in Baltimore City schools? Led by Teaching & Learning Manager Jen Wheeler, teachers across the District are infusing debate skills and strategies in their classrooms. Though debate and math are not conventionally associated with each other, the evidence-based skills and logic actually go hand-in-hand.  Students are asked to present their opinion and reason, explaining the answers to the math problem.  




The picture above shows third grade math students applying these debate strategies and concepts as they problem-solve in a methodical manner, explaining their logic and showing their work to marry logical reasoning to their opinions. Thank you teachers for helping students identify the many ways to strengthen and solidify critical and logical thinking in the classroom! If you are interested in learning more about Professional Development and how debate supports all subjects taught in Baltimore City schools, teachers, and classrooms, contact Jen Wheeler at for more information on BUDL’s “It’s Debatable!” professional development program.  Debate is truly making a difference in teaching and learning in Baltimore.   






November 29th is Giving Tuesday, a national day dedicated to philanthropy.  BUDL invites you all to support our mission and cause this holiday season as we continue to reach more students through a love of debate. Funds generated from this day support the after-school programming and tournaments we host across Baltimore throughout the year. Help us reach more students and donate today. In the spirit of giving, do not forget to share your love of debate this November with friends and family. To participate, click on the donate button today.  Thank you for changing students’ lives through debate!


If you participate in the MCC, CCC, CBACFC, please designate BUDL as your charity to support our cause this year.


Maryland Charity Campaign

If you participate in the MCC, CCC, CBACFC please designate BUDL today as your charity and support student voice in Baltimore!

EIN: 810596405 
Combined Charity Campaign
Combined Federal Campaign
CFC CODE: 50294


Click here to donate to BUDL and be a part of Giving Tuesday!







Middle & High School Choice Fair


On December 10th, 5th- and 8th-grade students and families can learn about school options at the annual Middle and High School Choice Fair at the Baltimore Convention Center from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m on Saturday, December 10. The Choice Fair is a wonderful opportunity to learn about school options, talk with school staff, see student performances, and meet other families.


Need Help Preparing for College? FAFSA College Help


Attention HS students and parents: attend a free help session led by Baltimore City Schools!



Wednesday, Nov. 30: 4:30 – 8:00 p.m. District Office
200 E. North Ave., 1st floor Board Room


Many of us sit surprised and disappointed at the results of the recent election. I submit that there still is hope through debate! While what we watched the candidates do hardly looked like debate, it highlights the need for real debate. Through debate, we look at both sides of an issue. Through debate, we learn the importance and strength of arguments. Through debate, we consider and reconsider the many aspects of what we are pondering. Through debate, we determine our own choices. As we go through this month, consider how you use debate to determine your choices. Would your choice be the same without debate? How do you think others use debate to inform their choices?


Debate is a necessary part of democracy, therefore I hope we all remain brave enough to stay in debate over the issues that face us. Let’s not stay at just debate, let’s act on the ideas and thoughts unearthed through debate. We are amazing. There is power and choice through debate. Use it to change the world! ~Coleen Reyes




Without you, BUDL could not provide after-school programming and competitive debate tournaments for students across the District.  Give a gift to BUDL and support the good work happening in Baltimore. Share us with friends and tell them about how debate matters in your life.


Thank you for the debate love!