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Our Graduates: Their Future Plans and Lessons Learned

Graduates Collage

We are incredibly proud of this year’s graduates. Although they will face unique challenges amidst today’s upheaval – whether from COVID-19, economic uncertainty, or the devastation of police violence in our community – we’re inspired by their open-mindedness, optimism, and where they’re going next. Find out more about their future plans and what they’ve learned from the end of senior year.

Minneapolis Graduates 

Patrick Henry High School

Emily Kral 

Emily Kral

Emily competed in national topic high school debate at Patrick Henry High School.

Plans after graduation: Attending University of Wisconsin-River Falls for history and education

Favorite debate memory: “Just the community in general. I met so many wonderful people through debate.” 

What are you learning right now? “I’m learning more about how to adapt to unexpected situations.”

 

Ridwan Ali Mohamed

Ridwan Mohamed

Ridwan competed in national topic high school debate at Patrick Henry High School. 

Plans after graduation: Continuing her education 

Favorite debate memory: “The thing I admired most about debate is the sportsmanship people showed even when it got to the point where you wanted to pull your hair out. So many people in my pool were often considerate and kind, especially after a scary round.”

What are you learning right now? “I am learning to stay healthy both physically and mentally. I have been doing a lot of cooking, learning new tricks, and whatnot. Most importantly I’m learning to be the best version of myself! I’m using this time to do a lot of soul searching!” 

“My heart goes out to every single individual who this pandemic has impacted and I pray for everyone’s well being! I hope all are healthy and keeping sane.”


Roosevelt High School

Sandy Bolton 

Sandy Bolton

Sandy competed in national topic policy debate, Spanish Debate League, and coached at Keewaydin. 

Plans after graduation: Attend the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities to study Spanish and Education.  

Favorite debate memory“Winning JV City Champs with my old debate partner, Samia, and coaching middle school debate.”

What are you learning right now? “I’m definitely learning how to make more of an effort to stay connected with people. It’s hard, but it’s definitely worth it.”

 

Samia Abdalla

Samia - Urban Debate Graduate
Coach Tiana Bellamy (left) and Samia (right)

Samia competed in East African Debate League in middle school and national topic policy debate at Roosevelt High School.

Plans after graduation: Attending St. Catherine University for Nursing

Favorite debate memory: “Winning JV championship 1st place sophomore year and having our team stay behind to congratulate us!”

What are you learning right now? “Not everything works out the way we hope for it to, but we just got to make the best out of it.”


South High School 

Featured Graduates:

Emily Merryman

Emily - Urban Debate Graduate

Emily competed in Spanish Debate League at South High School

Plans after graduation: To study engineering and veterinary sciences

Favorite debate memory: “Sharing all my experiences with my best friend. She convinced me to join.”

What are you learning right now? “I’m learning that we’re all in this together and we need to support each other through isolation because it can be really heavy on a lot of us.”

“You may feel alone right now but trust me, you’re not, we’re all here for you together.”

 

Leslie Ponce Sanchez 

Spanish Urban Debate - Leslie

Leslie competed in Spanish Debate League at South High School.

Plans after graduation: Gap year 

Favorite debate memory: “When my partner and I won for the first time, it felt like a nice accomplishment.” 

What are you learning right now? “I should not take things for granted.” 

“Thank you for providing the pizza!”

Itzel Medrano

Competed in Spanish Debate League at South High School

Plans after graduation: Attending college

Favorite debate memory:“The preparation for our debates.”

What are you learning right now? “I learned that the future is unknown. We have our plans, but God has others.”

More Graduates:

Carlos Ortiz Quezada

Competed in Spanish Debate League at South High School

Jose Aragon-Rodriguez

Competed in Spanish Debate League at South High School


Thomas Edison High School

Featured Graduate: Mariela Villanueva Rosas

Competed in Spanish Debate League at Edison High School
Plans after graduation: To attend college
Favorite debate memory: “The way everyone united to defend their point of view.”
What are you learning right now? “How to be more patient and take care more of myself.”

“Debate was an incredible experience! It helps you learn to trust yourself.”

More Graduates:

Marifer Villanueva Rosas

Competed in Spanish Debate League at Edison High School

Nora Nederloe

Competed in national topic policy debate at Edison High School; coached at Marcy Open School.


Washburn High School

Featured Graduates:

Jaime Ochoa Medina

Spanish Debate Jamie
Jamie (right) with partner Genesis (left)

Competed in Spanish Debate League at Washburn High School

Plans after graduation: To attend Augsburg University

Favorite debate memory: “Spending time with my friends during debate and reading the evidence.”

What are you learning right now? “It is what it is.” 

“Although I did not expect this, I am proud of the hard work I have done.” 

 

Joshelin Lopez

Spanish Debate Team South HS
Joshelin with the Spanish Debate League team.

Joshelin competed in Spanish Debate League at Washburn High School

Plans after graduation: To attend Concordia University-St. Paul

Favorite debate memory: “Going to the competitions.”

What are you learning right now? “Expect the unexpected.”

 

Simon Jarcho

Simon (left) with debate partner, junior Isabel Kleckner.
Simon (left) with debate partner, junior Isabel Kleckner.

Simon competed in national topic policy debate at Washburn High School and coached at Field Middle School.

Plans after graduation: To attend University of Minnesota-Twin Cities 

Favorite debate memory: “The first middle school tournament I coached at for Field. Getting to see the kids I had taught debate to compete and have fun in the activity for the first time was unforgettable.”

What are you learning right now? “I realized I shouldn’t rely on a single event to have closure for something I spent years doing. Missing NAUDL and the end of the middle school season was crushing, but ultimately, i’m still happy with my career and the way it ended.” 

 

Víctor Fuentes

VIctor - Spanish Debate League

Competed in the Spanish Debate League at Washburn High School. 

Plans after graduation: Attending Normandale Community College & working

Favorite Debate memory: “Our last trip with the team. It was so fun and we ate a lot.” 

What are you learning right now? “Regardless of the situation, we should believe, we should have hope, and never give up on anything.” 

“Being part of Spanish debate was a great experience.”

Ifrah Ali

Ifrah - Urban Policy Debate League

Competed in national topic policy debate at Washburn High School.

Senior Quote: “You have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world. And you have to do it all the time.” -Angela Davis

More Graduates:

Maya Sprenger Otto

Competed in national topic policy debate at Washburn and coached at Clara Barton Open School.

Monica Fernanda Penaranda Fajardo

Competed in Spanish Debate League at Washburn High School.

Sebastian Mercado

Competed in Spanish Debate League at Washburn High School.


St. Paul Graduates

Central High School – St. Paul 

Featured Graduates

Max Walker

Max - Central High School

Max competed in national topic policy debate at Central High School.

Plans after graduation: Attending Yale University

Favorite debate memory: “Spending time with my teammates in Fort Lauderdale at the 2018 NSDA National Tournament.”

What are you learning right now? “Our society is resilient!”

“Join debate! It is a great way to meet interesting people and broaden your intellectual horizon.”

Cassie Devries

Cassie DeVries - Urban Debate Central High School
Cassie DeVries (right) with debate partner.

Cassie competed in national topic policy debate at Central Senior High and was a coach at Murray Middle School.

Plans after graduation: 4 year degree at Gustavus Adolphus College 

Favorite debate memory:“Going to Concordia with some of the new rookies this year, and seeing them fall in love with debate.”

What are you learning right now? “I’m learning that you must truly make the most of every moment. My last day of school I got to go coach at Murray, and I wish I had been able to say goodbye to them.”

More Graduates

Lucy Nieman

Lucy competed in national topic policy debate at Central High School.


Como Park Senior High School

Roselyn Yeboah

Roselyn - Urban Debate Policy Graduate

Roselyn competed in national topic policy debate and financial literacy debate at Como Park High School.

Plans after graduation: Attending Gustavus Adolphus College

Favorite debate memory: “Every single bus ride after debate. I was the time where we talked about every controversial issue. We had a lot of fun regardless of if we won that day. Debate is an experience I will never forget.”

What are you learning right now? “I am learning that we have to make the best of every situation and be strong.”

More Graduates

Chiamaka Chijioke

Chiamaka competed in national topic policy debate and financial literacy leadership debate.


Highland Park Senior High School

Featured Graduates:

Elsa Snowbeck

Elsa - Policy Debate Urban Graduate

Elsa competed in national topic policy debate at Highland Park Senior High and Middle School, plus returned to Highland Park Middle as an assistant coach.

Plans after graduation: To spend a gap year in Sweden studying music (subject to change due to travel restrictions); and studying International Relations and Environmental Science at Carleton College

Favorite debate memory: “Traveling to Dallas for Nationals with Henry, Zach, and Sandy and Zuko from Roosevelt was incredible, as I got to experience both high-level competition and the wonderful community that there is within the UDL.” 

What are you learning right now? “That nothing is guaranteed, and that there’s only so much Duolingo I can do in a day.”

“Debate was by far the best part of my high school/middle school experience! I’ve learned so much about a huge variety of topics and skills and I’m so grateful for all the support that the UDL gives to debate in the Twin Cities.”

Mason Eischens

Mason - Policy Urban Debate Graduate

Mason competed in national topic policy debate at Highland Park.

Plans after graduation: To attend the University of Minnesota-Morris

Favorite debate memory: “Advancing to quarterfinals at NAUDL champs.”

What are you learning right now? “That online school isn’t for me.”

 

Zachary Glaser

Zach - Policy Urban Debate Graduate
Zachary Glaser (right) with debate partner, Tristan Kmoch (left)

Zach competed in national topic policy debate at Highland Park.

Plans after graduation: Attending Carleton College in Northfield, MN, with plans to join the parliamentary debate team.

Favorite debate memory: “I’m incredibly grateful to the UDL for supporting debate at every level. Not only am I lucky to have debated in the Twin Cities, but to become a community member and receive the encouragement to give back has been fantastic.”

What are you learning right now? “I’ve learned that mood, at least for me, is almost entirely determined by my physical well-being. In order to appreciate learning, my hobbies, my family, or my friends, first I need to make sure I’ve slept well, eaten well, and moved around a bit.

More Graduates:

Henry Kelly

Tristan Kmoch

Pachia Lee

Samuel Woldegiorgis

Alexander Busch


Johnson High School

Bryce Chromey

Bryce competed in national topic policy debate.


Washington Technology Magnet School

Carmen Castillon Castro

Carmen competed in national topic policy debate and helped coach at Washington Technology Magnet School-MS.

 

Follow our social media pages to send your congratulations messages to our graduates! We’ll be posting profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.