We are fortunate enough to have auto qualified again to the Tournament of Champions (TOC) in Lexington, Kentucky. The TOC is the best of the best competing in multiple debate formats from international circuits. Last year, we made it to the octafinals at this prestigious tournament and have acquired another bid at the Lakeland Westchester tournament last weekend. This is by far the most amount of debate tournaments we have attended in one debate season, 8! It is unfortunately our last year in high school and we wanted to make our last debate tournament worth it before heading off to college! We could not have a better ending to our high school debate career than the TOC for a second year in a row.
At the Lakeland Westchester tournament we battled through 10 rounds to get to the semi-finals, which is the requirement to get a silver bid to qualify. The silver bid gives us an opportunity to participate in the Silver Division of the Public Forum entries. We did not give up, even while facing four private schools as well as other prestigious schools with established teams and coaches. We unfortunately do not have a debate team and are the only team from our school debating without a coach, and still did not quit despite these barriers with the help of the New York City Urban Debate League and others within the debate community.
My desire to debate stems from the drive that I have to grow as much as I can so that I can eventually become a lawyer. I want to be the voice to those who don’t have one, specifically those who are underrepresented and oppressed. My conviction to study law has grown through my academics, and the fire has been further kindled through my favorite Thursday night program, How to Get Away with Murder. - Julio C.
My enthusiasm for debate comes from the will to advocate for myself and issues that directly affect me, especially as a young man of color. Arguing controversial issues has allowed me to become more confident speaking out about real life issues, and has motivated me to pursue my passion of debate. - Raj S.
Raj and I have debated for over five years and have seen a tremendous growth in our public speaking, writing, research, and social skills. We want to continue this journey and share it with those who have continuously supported us and those who will join us along the way.
We are honored to be invited to attend the TOC for a second year! Sadly, we cannot afford the expenses of going. The funds from this campaign will help with travel expenses, lodge, food, and other amenities while we’re at the tournament. We hope that you can consider making a donation – even a small one – to support us in our last debate opportunity, and help us make our lasting mark in our final debate tournament of our high school experience!
Julio Cordero & Rajendra Singh (Leadership & Public Service High School, Class of 2019)