Thu05252017

Last updateThu, 25 May 2017 11pm

Politics

MU Debaters Strive to Make a Difference

Debate Team PictureTen Monmouth debaters— who in addition to preparing for college debate tournaments— have been busy coaching Asbury Park high school students every Thursday after school and accompanying them to debate tournaments affiliated with the Urban Debate League.  On the weekend of February 8th, the MU debaters coached the Asbury debaters at a tournament at the Institute for Collaborative Education in the South Bronx and February 12th to the 14th. MU debaters took the students to a tournament at Harvard University.  The team won several individual speaking awards at both tournaments.  The Asbury debaters met with the 2015 New York City Policy debate champion Dante de Blasio, son of the city’s Mayor, Bill de Blasio.

The Asbury Park debate team gives special thanks to MU Debaters captain Danielle Doud, Angela Ryan, Kaitlin Allsopp, Prachi Patel, Abdullah Rashid, Kevin Ospina, Emely Diaz, Angel Soto, Marasia Laster, and Victoria Borges. 

In his 2012 State of the State address New Jersey Governor Chris Christie highlighted o Asbury Park High School as one of the state’s lowest performing high schools.

While New Jersey had a comparatively high graduation rate in 2014 —88.6 percent—, Asbury Park high school remained an outlier; graduating only 49 percent of its student body, making it one of the few high schools in the state that had more students’ drop-out of it rather than graduating.             

According to research findings by Brookings.edu, seventy percent of people that are incarcerated are high school dropouts, including most violent criminals and high school dropouts also links to drug and alcohol addiction, teenage pregnancy, and pretty much every social problem. 

The MU-Asbury Debate Mentoring program was created in 2009, born out of Dr. Rekha Datta’s Big Brothers/Big Sisters Project Bam with Asbury Park High School.  The good news is since 2009 there have been 75 Asbury students compete on the Asbury debate team —most for multiple years— and to date one hundred percent of them have graduated from High School and all but three have gone on to college, the other three joined the military. 

This program is fully funded by an MU debate grant secured from TD Bank – with the special assistance of Tony Lazroe, Freda Karpf, and Beth Brody.   Another interesting spinoff is that Lianne Kulik, MU alum and former debater from 2012, was recently hired as a teacher at Long Branch high school —another at risk High School— and she started a debate team there that is now also competing in the Urban Debate League and thriving.  

The MU Debate Team was recently contacted by another neighboring at risk high school seeking assistance in starting another high school debate team in the area.  The Monmouth debaters will next be competing themselves in California over spring break and will also be coaching the Asbury kids in upcoming tournaments this semester.  

PHOTO COURTESY of Monmouth University Debate Team

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