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Congratulations to the 2014-2015 Francis Scott Key Elementary/Middle School Debate Team!

At the beginning of the school year, several students decided to venture into the realm of competitive debating at FSK! Our school is privileged to be a member of The Baltimore Urban Debate League (BUDL), which was founded in 1999 as part of a national initiative driven by the Open Society Institute to transform public education by bringing debate back to the urban classroom. 

This season, the league hosted debate tournaments for burgeoning debaters from October through May. Francis Scott Key had the highest number of sixth grade novice debaters in the school’s history with the league, along with several veteran debaters. The tournaments provided a forum for all students, regardless of grades and classification, who are normally underserved in the current school system.  Debate has the potential to touch every aspect of a student’s life as it provides an excellent opportunity for students to develop and master the life skills of oral communication and critical thinking.  Argumentative essay writing is also a skill that is aligned with the Common Core standards. 

Members of the debate team are expected to be self-motivated, ambitious, and self-sufficient. Successful debaters put in the work when researching, writing arguments, cross-examining their opponents, and presenting rebuttals. 

Students were required to conduct research on topics such as universal pre-k and the banning of speed cameras in Maryland.  Using their research, students developed argumentative essays and practiced speaking for the affirmative and the negative.  One Saturday a month, students participated in 3-round tournaments with other Baltimore City elementary and middle school students.  Each tournament allowed our young debaters to grow more experienced and more confident.  Congratulations to the following FSK students who won medals as top individual speakers and team debaters: 

  1. Letre’ Giles, 7th grade (2nd year debater)
  2. Kolbe Parnell, 6th grade (2nd year debater)
  3. Wesley Dixon-Abraham, 6th grade (2nd year debater)
  4. Aniya Anderson, 6th grade, Novice division
  5. Ma’Zae Smith, Novice division
  6. Rameen Aamir, Novice division
  7. Larissa Morales-Ramirez, Novice division
  8. Skyler Rositzky, Novice division
  9. Alicia Maddox, 6th grade, Novice division 

Other newcomers who participated in tournaments and developed a love for competitive debate were:

  1. Damel Edwards, 6th grade, Novice division
  2. Devin Malone, 6th grade, Novice division
  3. Samuel Hunter, 6th grade, Novice division
  4. Ayana Jackson, 6th grade, Novice division
  5. Briana Hines, 6th grade, Novice division
  6. Tykia Simpson-Peete, 6th grade, Novice division
  7. Haron Hudu, 7th grade, Novice division

Finally, at the citywide Championship Tournament, Rameen Aamir and Larissa Morales-Ramirez won #3 and #2 top individual speaker trophies in the Novice Division, respectively.  Not only that, but they won second place overall team in the Novice Division!

Congratulations to the 2014-2015 Francis Scott Key Elementary/Middle School Debate Team!

Deneen Moore-McDonald

Social Studies Teacher/Debate Coach




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