Thursday, April 26, 2007


In what has become an annual rite of spring for me, I went to the DEBATE Kansas City awards ceremony tonight, and by the end of the night I felt happy, hopeful and inspired.

One reason is that the program has been growing like gangbusters. The league started in 1998 with seven schools in one school district. According to a recent report from the league, it now has "29 member schools in five school districts: Kansas City, Missouri, Kansas City, Kansas, Turner Unified School District, Center School District and University Academy Charter School. In the first five years of operation debate related services were provided to 930 students. In the last two years DKC has grown to serve over 1,000 students, including over 600 this year."

But the best part is seeing all the kids I've gotten to know over the years climb the stage to claim their medals and trophies, to hear where they're planning to go for college, and to make fun of some of them for any silly reason I can think of.

And the even better best part is seeing Central totally kick ass.

The league's been around for almost a decade, and, so far as I know, they've won the sweepstakes award (the top prize) all but one of those years.

They won it again this year.

I mean, you know the story by now. The way our system is set up, kids from Central aren't supposed to succeed, let alone be the best. Yet, year after year, they beat the charter schools, and the Kansas schools, and Center School District, and the college prep school that supposedly gets all the district kids. And then they go out into the suburbs and they beat those kids too.

That alone makes the DKC awards night a veritible holiday for me.

(And next year's going to be even better; Central won sweepstakes with a squad that's almost all Juniors.)

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