Middle school debaters’ competition first for Duval County

By Topher Sanders of jacksonville.com

Debate competition didn’t introduce Eugene Butler Middle School eighth-grader Davon Bostick to the skill of arguing – that’s something he already knew.

“I’ve always been good at that,” Davon said. “I’m always getting into it with my sister, so that was the easy part.”

The hard part was learning the art of research and the how to apply facts and history to his arguments. And learning those skills has helped Davon become a better debate participant and student.

Duval Urban Debate proves academic success in Jacksonville public schools

Northwestern Middle School brings home the goal after an intense final debate round against Ribault Middle Debate Team. Support the urban debate movement!

“Debate helps me better with research classes such as science,” he said. “While we’re doing the science fair, it’s easier for me to research topics.”

That’s the whole point of the Duval Urban Debate League, to help students master research and improve their academics. The league held its first championship Saturday at the University of North Florida.

Davon and 29 other students from five middle schools put forth their best affirmative and negative arguments on whether “the United States federal government should substantially increase social services for persons living in poverty in the United States.”

That was the 2009-10 resolution selected by the National Federation of State High School Associations and debated by all students in the country.

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