High School Outreach

The John R. Park Debate Society is proud to work with the Utah High School Forensics community. Our goal is to assist the local debate community by offering coaching/judging support to high schools in need, by offering scholarships to promising high school competitors, by hosting a summer workshop (the Beehive Forensics Institute) for High School competitors, and by offering our campus for the annual Beehive Bonanza in October, and the Utah Tournament of Excellence in April.

Why outreach?

The John R. Park Debate Society has situated high school outreach and support as a key element of our program because we are committed to the transformational educational outcomes that forensics training supports. According to a recent study by the National Association of Urban Debate Leagues (urbandebate.org), a leading high school debate outreach organization, training in forensics supports a windfall of benefits for students. Among their findings, they conclude that students who debate in high school:

  • Are 70% more likely to graduate than non-debating peers
  • Are 3 times less likely to drop out than their non-debating peers
  • Are 70% more likely to reach the ACT CollegeReady reading benchmark
  • Score 25% higher on college-level literacy tests
  • Are likely to attend a four year college or university (75% of debate participants will attend a four year institution of higher education)

Similarly, other research by Dr. Gordon Mitchell, Director of Forensics at the University of Pittsburgh, concludes that debate provides a pivotal means through which students: gain confidence in their ability to participate as active, civic-minded citizens; learn the principles of open and fair debate that are critical to a healthy democracy; and, develop the abilities to evaluate political discourse encountered in everyday life. The National Forensics League confirms the role of debate in training effective political leaders noting that a majority of members of U.S. Congress have participated in forensics training.

How to participate:

The John R. Park Debate Society’s High School Outreach Coordinator helps facilitate support for high school forensics programs to provide no-cost volunteer coaching and judging. If you are a high school coach who is interested in attending our tournament, sending students to our workshop, or working with our volunteer program, please feel free to browse this website or to contact our coordinator, Robyn Moreno, with any questions or comments!

CLINIC EVIDENCE