Augsburg College’s Minnesota Urban Debate League program provides services, support, and materials to more than 750 students engaged in competitive academic debate at 40 high schools and middle schools across the Twin Cities metro area. This year marked the first time that the state debate championship featured two teams from the Minnesota Urban Debate League: St. Paul’s Highland Park and Minneapolis’ Washburn high schools.
Led by Executive Director Amy Cram Helwich and Faculty Adviser Robert Groven, an Augsburg communication studies professor, the program helps increase school engagement and connectedness, which boosts young people’s confidence in their academic abilities. The program’s impact is shown through a 100 percent on-time high school graduation rate and a 99 percent college acceptance rate for debaters. “No other out-of-school program accomplishes such significant gains,” according to Groven.
[Pictured]: Twin Cities middle schoolers participate in a Somali debate initiative led by the Minnesota Urban Debate League.