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April 19, 2010
Trinity Establishes Urban Debate League Scholarships
University first in the nation to offer and award scholarships specifically for urban debaters
SAN ANTONIO – Trinity University has established the Urban League Debate Scholarship and has awarded two of the scholarships to students participating in debate through the National Association of Urban Debate Leagues (NAUDL) network.
Trinity is the first school in the nation to offer scholarships specifically for high school seniors who participate the Urban Debate League program. The scholarships will be offered annually and will cover full tuition for up to eight semesters.
Founded in 1985 in Atlanta, NAUDL is composed of more than 500 urban high schools from 24 cities in the United States, including Dallas, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, and St. Louis. Each city features its own league, which organizes academic debate programming among participating public schools.
“Urban Debate Leagues were created in an effort to overcome some of the access barriers to participating in high school debate,” said Jarrod Atchison, assistant professor of speech and drama and director of Trinity’s debate program. The leagues give students from low income school districts the resources to learn debate and to compete in local tournaments.
According to the NAUDL Web site, the Urban Debate League has boosted literacy scores among students by 25 percent and raised grade point averages by 10 percent. Nearly all Urban League debaters graduate from high school.
Professor Atchison also feels the University has a special opportunity to reach urban debaters and “to recognize the tremendous assets they can give not only to the University but the University can give to them. It will be a great partnership.”
Although currently there is no Urban Debate League in San Antonio, Trinity University debaters have actively been involved in the program, coaching high school students and judging tournaments for Houston’s Urban Debate League. Professor Atchison said Trinity would be a committed local partner should a league start in San Antonio.