Spark Scholars Academy

General Information

  • Free debate workshop for Black and Latinx students
  • Meets during 90-minute-long weekly lessons on Zoom
  • Sessions will start in late September / early October
  • Students entering grades 6-10
  • Students will be able to seek extra support at weekly office hours run by varsity debaters


  • Students will compete against students from other programs or schools in state-wide tournaments 
  • Modified Public Forum structure
    • Cases, rebuttals, summary, final focus, and cross-examination, where students hone interrogation skills.
  • The first tournament will be on December 5, on the resolution, “Resolved: College should be free.” 
  • Students will attend a topic lecture led by the instructors of each session discussing background information on the topic 
  • Students will be given research packets detailing common points, so that they have a foundation to expand upon during their research
  • Tournaments will have entry fees of $5. Spark Scholars may be able to cover all tournament entry costs


Academy Curriculum

The Spark Session

Description: for students who have no prior debate experience.

Curriculum: Students in Flame session will learn in-depth about:

  • Strategies for each speech in the round
  • Nuanced and effective ways to write cases
  • Their cross personas — the personalities that they convey to the judge each cross-examination in the way they answer and ask questions
  • Word economy — they will practice being able to craft compelling arguments in concise sentences
  • Organization. Students will practice having clear organization in their speeches and planning their content in a way that best utilizes the time available
  • Developing a narrative, the “story” prominent in each speech of the round that convinces the judge

the flame session

Description: for students with past debate experience (including Spark Scholars).

Curriculum: Students in Spark Session will:

  • Familiarize themselves with Public Forum Debate structure
  • Learn how to think quickly during cross-examinations, where they have to ask and respond to probing questions
  • Practice refuting their opponents arguments and crafting their own compelling cases with the Claim, Warrant, and Impact structure.
  • Use different types of responses to opponents’ arguments, including turns, de-links, and mitigation.
  • Attend lessons on research skills and case-writing, as well as round strategy
  • Learn to take notes quickly by “flowing” during rounds

Ready to enroll for free?

Scroll to top