A nationally recognized debate program, the Houston Urban Debate League (HUDL), will serve 300 low-income, at-risk high school students in the Harris County area after the Board of Trustees approved the initiative on July 18.

The program, CASE Debates, is a joint project between HUDL and Harris County Department of Education’s Center for Afterschool, Summer and Enrichment for Kids (CASE for Kids), which serves 9,000 at-risk students in the greater Houston area.

HUDL currently operates solely within Houston ISD and has a successful track record providing debate programs and camps for approximately 1,000 students each year. CASE Debates will expand the current HUDL model by serving at-risk teens from 20 high schools in five Harris County school districts.

“Part of our mission is to equalize educational opportunity for students in Harris County, and this program will open doors for many at-risk teenagers,” said HCDE Board President Louis Evans. “Our children will come of age in a global economy, and the ability to communicate effectively and think critically will be key to their success.”

The program provides three in-depth seminars for youth and coaches along with three debate tournaments throughout the school year.

HUDL Board Chair Heather Hatfield attended the meeting in support the expansion of the program into additional Harris County school districts.

“Debate changes lives,” Hatfield said. “We look forward to working with HCDE and the students of Harris County.”

For more information about CASE Debates, call CASE for Kids at 713-696-1331.

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