Local Debate Initiatives
The Bard Debate Union has been working with local middle schools and high schools and the Bard Early Colleges for over a decade to help teach, coach, and mentor aspiring young debaters!
Debate in Hudson Valley Schools
In Fall 2010, the Bard Debate Union partnered with the Red Hook School District to develop the first Red Hook debate program. Through the program, a member of the Bard Debate Union would visit the Red Hook Middle School every two weeks in order to work with students on speech and argumentation skills and to organize classroom debates. Given the tremendous success of the middle school program, we began working with the Red Hook High School in Fall 2011 and the Rhinebeck High School in Fall 2013. Since then we have worked with teachers and students in Germantown, Hudson, Woodstock, Kingston, Poughkeepsie, Arlington, Pawling, Cold Spring, Dover, and Harrison to help them to build and sustain their debate clubs and to build a debate network throughout Hudson Valley schools. We host an annual high school debate workshop each fall and an annual middle and high school debate tournament each spring, in addition to holding regular “Community Debate Practice” online which is open to all members of our local middle/high school debate community.
Debate in the Bard Early Colleges
Beginning in Fall 2011, the Bard Debate Union began working with the Bard High School Early Colleges in Manhattan, Newark, and Queens to create debate clubs on their campuses. By inviting students from the early colleges to tournaments on Bard’s main campus in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY, students were able to get excited about debate and brainstorm ideas for expanding their own debate programs. In Fall 2015, we began working with BHSEC Cleveland and in Spring 2018 we began working with the early colleges in Harlem, Hudson, and Baltimore. It is our aim to support the development and growth of thriving debate programs across the early college network.
Middle/High School Debate Tournament at Bard
The Bard Debate Union hosted the First Middle and High School Debate Tournament at Bard in March 2012. The tournament hosted approximately 40 students from the Bard High School Early Colleges in Manhattan, Newark, and Queens as well as the Red Hook and Rhinebeck High Schools and the Red Hook Middle School. It was such a success that we decided to make this an annual tradition. Since the first tournament, the tournament has grown dramatically in size, with over 120 students from 12 schools attending our 9th Annual Tournament in 2020. Over the years we have had the privilege of hosting students from the Red Hook, Rhinebeck, Germantown, Hudson, Woodstock, Kingston, Poughkeepsie, Arlington, Pawling, Cold Spring, Dover, and Harrison school districts as well as students from the Bard Early Colleges in Manhattan, Newark, Queens, Harlem, Baltimore, and Cleveland. For this year’s tournament dates, click the “Events Calendar” link under the “Public Debates/Events” tab!