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CASE team brings home first national title in HUDL history

The Houston Urban Debate League proudly congratulates the debaters of Alief Elsik High School on their stunning national championship victory!

Elsik's Anthony Hoang, Diego Castillo, Ebenezer Appiah, and Rodrigo Trujillo took first place in World Schools Debate at the National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA) Championship Tournament. The Elsik team, which qualified for the NSDA national tournament by winning the HUDL City Championship in March, became the first HUDL City Champs to win a national title.

NSDA Nationals, the largest academic competition in the country with over 7,000 students competing, determines national championships in a variety of speech and debate events. The Elsik team, dubbed the "Space City Violet" team for the tournament, prevailed over 219 other teams from around the country in World Schools Debate, the largest event at NSDA Nationals.

The students of Alief Elsik won a thrilling final round debating the "opposition" position on the resolution: This House believes that the benefits of expanding the US Supreme Court outweigh the harms. The team's success proves that HUDL teams can compete with and win against the country's best.

Congratulations and kudos also go to Elsik coach Ashley Freeman, HUDL-CASE for Kids coach Andy Stubbs, and CASE director Toni Candis.

HUDL and CASE for Kids began their partnership in 2017. With the support of the Board of the Harris County Department of Education, CASE for Kids and HUDL provide an opportunity to build, support, and sustain academic debate programs at schools throughout Harris County, following a format HUDL pioneered with the Houston Independent School District (HISD).

HUDL introduced the Worlds School Debate format in HISD schools in 2013. According to former HUDL Board Chair, Charles Chafer, “Dr. Tuna Snider was instrumental in getting the World Schools division started here. He invited me to Slovenia in 2013 as we were looking for a way to improve our HUDL offerings. I was immediately sold and returned with a mission to start a worlds division in HUDL. Tuna’s work and legacy lives on.”

HUDL congratulates the champions on their extraordinary and inspiring success. The HUDL Board of Directors express our deep gratitude to the league's supporters; our partners at HISD, the Harris County Department of Education, and CASE for Kids; and our national partners at the National Association for Urban Debate Leagues (NAUDL). Their support over the years has enabled HUDL to serve thousands of students, all of whom celebrate today with the new champions.

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