Extra Credit: Debate Camp - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Extra Credit: Debate Camp

Memphis, TN (WMC-TV) - While a number of students head back to school today, some of them will put lessons they learned at Summer Debate camp to work this school year.

Overton High School Sophomore Tiya Bradley is already involved in drama, but after spending a week training in the camp held at the University of Memphis she wants to try something new, "I wanna try debate. Especially after this camp 'cuz (sic) it's taught me so much that I didn't know."

The Memphis Urban League puts on the camp with the sponsorship of Memphis City Schools and the University of Memphis, bringing in debate champions and consultants from all over the country.

Consultants, like Brent Handsford of Atlanta who, like Tiya, began debating his sophomore year in high school, worked his way into national debate champion status and a full ride scholarship to Emory University.

Handsford says he consults now because debate changed his life and hopes to pass that opportunity along. "Debate's a big part of our culture, but we don't know how to put it within this game, yet. And that's what we teach them to do." Handsford adds, "I hope they walk away with a nice foundation that can be built upon and also I hope they walk away with at least one debate-round under their belt."

Twenty MCS schools participated in this year's summer debate camp which ran from July 20th -24th in the U of M Theatre and Communications building.

This was Northwest Prep Academy's first year to send students through the program. 

Northwest principal Michael Smith, who considers debate a sport, says Debate Camp is a lot like summer training for athletics. And he believes debating benefits students the same as any other sport, "...It gives them the confidence, it gives them that self esteem, and it gives them an opportunity to feel good about themselves." He also says most students who participate in debate also increase their grade point average, show better behavior and attendance in school.

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