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Speakers wow at 2024 HUDL Annual Awards Luncheon


Friends and supporters of the Houston Urban Debate League gathered at the J.W. Marriott Downtown on April 18, 2024, to hear directly from students whose lives have changed thanks to the skills they learned in debate.


HUDL Chair Jim Summers and Luncheon Chair Amy Geise welcomed the crowd of students, parents, donors, and representatives from the Houston Independent School District and Harris County Department of Education CASE Debates program. Rob Glass, Director of Debate for the University of Houston Honors College, spoke about UH's ambitious commitment to urban debate, including the introduction of an expanded summer camp program for HUDL students. The city co-champions in policy debate, each hailing from HISD's Heights High School, were recognized for successfully carrying the HUDL flag at the National Association for Urban Debate Leagues' National Championship tournament.

But the highlight of the day were four student speakers who addressed the audience about how debate changed their lives. Jonathan Barnes, a senior from Westchester Academy for International Studies, credited debate for a successful high school career that will take him to Yale University in the fall. Steven Barrios Najarro, a senior from Blanson CTE High School, talked about how debate has inspired his goal of attending law school and becoming an immigration attorney. Aaron Fernandez and Hector Doratt, recent HUDL alumni who now attend UH and compete as debate partners, spoke warmly about how debate helped lift them out of challenging circumstances and put them on the path to collegiate achievement.


HUDL thanks its supporters for making this special day possible, and for their continued commitment to bringing debate to all of Houston's students.



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