Boston Debate League

Verbal Volleyball

August 18, 2023 | By Kelly Cody

Serving Up Summer Programming

As the summer sun begins to set, the Boston Debate League’s (BDL) vibrant community is embracing every moment of exciting summer programming. From enriching grad classes to electrifying debate camps, BDL is igniting the minds of both educators and students alike. Let’s dive into the whirlwind of experiences that have filled the past weeks.

Exploring Art and Knowledge: Debate Camp & Coach Camp

BDL summer programming kicked off with a four-week long Debate Camp where debaters had the opportunity to fine-tune their public speaking skills for the upcoming season, learn about this year’s debate topic of economic inequality, and have some fun with their peers! 

In addition to regular camp programming held at Boston’s Madison Park Vocational Technical High School, campers used the City of Boston as their classroom on several field trips. Campers ventured to the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate, experiencing the legal process in action through intense discussions on topics like the Green New Deal. They passionately argued for their stances, gaining first-hand insight into the legislative process. Debaters also visited the Museum of Science and the office of Latham and Watkins, rounding out an educational journey filled with exploration.

The learning continued with debaters exploring the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, immersing themselves in the museum founder’s story and the treasures it holds. Guest speakers also added to the camp experience. Notably, sociologist Thomas Shapiro graced the camp with his insights on the racial wealth gap, and Boston City Councilor Julia Mejia’s visit added a spark, engaging students in thought-provoking discussions on economic justice and wealth inequality. 

The last week of Debate Camp also coincided with Coach Camp, a week-long learning journey for BDL coaches, preparing them for the upcoming debate season.

Debate Camp Showcase: A Spectacle of Knowledge

The beginning of August marked the culmination of both Debate Camp and Coach Camp. The Debate Camp Showcase was a captivating display of talent and insights. Each lab unveiled dynamic presentations, showcasing insights gained from this year’s debate topic of economic inequality. The audience was treated to a symphony of original songs, captivating art exhibits, engaging podcasts, evidence presentations, and more.

In addition to parents and alums, the showcase was graced by special guests including Jaidyn Appel of the Summer Fund, generous donor and debate mentor Gary Bagnall, Alyson Molloy Hussey, BDL Board Consultant, Joan Kaufman from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and Boston City Councilor Julia Mejia. Their presence added a touch of distinction to the event.

Grad Class: Elevating Teaching Excellence

In mid-August, BDL educators took their teaching prowess to new heights in the transformative week-long Debate-Inspired Grad Class. This immersive course not only equipped them with materials for the upcoming school year but also delved deep into the pedagogy of anti-racist approaches in the classroom. The participants are molding young minds in math, unraveling the wonders of science, and exploring the realms of literature, all within the dynamic context of debate-inspired classrooms.

Unforgettable Moments, Limitless Learning

The Boston Debate League’s summer programming has been a whirlwind of excitement, learning, and growth. From captivating showcases to engaging museum visits, every experience has been designed to ignite minds and foster passionate debate. The combination of educational excellence and the art of debate is setting the stage for a bright and inclusive future!

Stay tuned for more updates as the journey through Debate Camp and Coach Camp continues. Together, let’s celebrate the incredible opportunities and experiences that the Boston Debate League is offering to its educators and students, shaping a generation of critical thinkers and compassionate leaders!

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.