The Crescent City Debate League (CCDL) is a collaborative project launched in 2009 by local teachers with students and faculty from Tulane and Xavier Universities. The Crescent City Debate League continues to work with Tulane & Xavier students, as well as a dedicated group of volunteers and teachers, and driven middle school students. When the Crescent City Debate League started, only three schools competed regularly. Following the Middle School Public Debate Program (MSPDP) format we have expanded to sixteen teams across the Greater New Orleans area that compete at each tournament; including public, charter, and private schools. The League is able to work with Tulane & Xavier University students who participate in almost every aspect of the tournaments, including coaching at local middle schools, training programs, judging tournaments, and trophy distribution. Every sixth-to-eighth-grader in the New Orleans area is invited to participate in our tournaments.
The local community, Tulane, and Xavier collaborate to host four separate tournaments each year. Area middle schools volunteer to host one tournament in the fall and one tournament in the spring. Tulane University hosts one tournament in the fall and one tournament in the spring; we hope that this gives students the opportunity to experience a college campus. These tournaments feature our teams in four debate rounds, with two impromptu topics and two research topics. The CCDL announces the research topics at least one month in advance and the impromptu topics the day of the tournament. CCDL’s increasing success has led to the honor of hosting the regional tournament for the southeastern region of the MSPDP.
CCDL strives to change students’ perception of themselves and the world around them. The program encourages students to engage with challenging topics, ranging from the purpose of the Electoral College to the nature of international treaties. Students will develop skills such as researching, note taking, extemporaneous speaking, teamwork, and sportsmanship . Every aspect of a students’ academic career can benefit from these experiences. Most importantly, these are invaluable assets the students will utilize throughout their lives.
This League could not thrive without the contribution of each individual.
Administrative Committee: Ryan McBride, J.R. Stevens, Gregory Tacconi-Moore, Taylor Stevens, and Courtney Cantrell.
Kwame Anthony Appiah, Laurence S. Rockefeller Professor of Philosophy at Princeton University, awarded the Tulane Debate Society an American Philosophical Association grant.
The Middle School Public Debate Program is currently using our project here at Tulane University as a model as they work to start similar debate projects at universities across the country.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu and Mayor C. Ray Nagin have both honored Ryan McBride, the program’s founding director, for working with teachers, principals, middle school students and Tulane students to establish a citywide debate league in New Orleans.