Boston Debate League

Boston Globe Highlights Debate en Español

July 29, 2020 | By Sara Gill

A feature on Brighton High School's Debate Team

In the 2019-2020 debate season, Boston Globe video journalist Shelby Lum followed the Brighton High School Debate en Español team. In this mini-documentary, we hear from Coach Ramon Trinidad and students on the Brighton debate team, and see their work at practices and tournaments. We see the tenacity of debaters, the unparalleled support of the team and coach, and the heartbreak when the COVID-19 pandemic cut their season short and forced the championship round online.

Although 29% of all students enrolled in Boston Public Schools are English Language Learners, there are few academically rigorous activities available for this population. Debate en Español strives to offer intellectual rigor and competition to Spanish-speaking students, providing an opportunity for Spanish-speaking students to express their opinions and intellect while they are still learning English – and to see their growing bilingualism as an asset rather than a deficit. The BDL is the first urban debate league to run a fully-equivalent Spanish division, and we have supported other leagues in building out Spanish programming.

As one student shares, “I belonged there. I wasn’t the only one [for whom] English was a second language.”

“Debate says, OK, you have a voice? You have something to say? You want to impress? Then here it is. Here’s the mike. Go impress.”
– Ramon Trinidad, Brighton Debate Team Coach

Kelly Cody, Senior Volunteer Manager, joined BDL in 2021
Joshua Nixon, ASD and Resolved Program Manager, joined BDL in
Douglas Matute
Douglas Matute, Program Manager for Debate en Español, joined BDL in 2022
Ranner Faugas, Assistant Director of After-School Debate, joined BDL in
Roger Nix, Assistant Director of After School Debate, joined BDL in
Carlos Monteiro, Instructional Coach for DI Classrooms, joined BDL in
Sarah Mayper, Senior Instructional Coach for DI Classrooms, joined BDL in
Marisa Suescun, Director of Programs, joined BDL in 2013
Kimberly Bartlett-Ra, Director of Operations, joined BDL in
Kim Willingham, Executive Director of the Boston Debate League , joined BDL in
Jackney Prioly Joseph, Director of External Affairs, joined BDL in September 2020. Jackney leads our efforts to engage and partner with community and corporate organizations to create a community of support for our students. She previously served as Director of College and Career Readiness at the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education. She has diverse leadership experience in education, nonprofits, and city government where she served under Mayor Thomas M. Menino and former City Councilor, now Congresswoman, Ayanna Pressley. A Bryn Mawr and Posse Foundation alum identified for her extraordinary leadership, Jackney works to secure partnerships that will tap and sharpen the leadership skills of our program participants.