City Council District #7 Debate Initiative

Our Mission

Every school  should have a debate team. Every student should have access to the best debate education opportunities. Debate is one of the best academic programs to prepare students for college, career, and civic success.


Tournaments Hosted


Our flagship program is our Saturday Debate Tournaments. We host debate tournaments every month during the school year and summer for high school and middle school students. Each monthly debate tournament will feature different topics including current events, economics, environmental affairs, philosophy, international politics, law and justice, and every other topic - topics traditionally not covered in school curriculums.  Students practice every academic skill preparing for these tournaments including reading, writing, researching, listening, practicing, public speaking, questioning, team work, and every other academic skill.  Academic learning time basically doubles through this out of school time program and culminates with the monthly debate tournament. At each tournament we serve over 300 students, teachers, family members and volunteers. Tournaments are all day from 7:00am-5:00pm and include breakfast, lunch, debate rounds and an awards ceremony.  Our Tournaments are free thanks to City Council support.


February Harlem Debates @ Hamilton Grange Middle School


Hamilton Grange Middle School hosts our Harlem Debate Tournament in February during Black History Month. Over 200 students, teachers, families, volunteers participate in this tournament.


Website Landing Page of the Tournament


Tournament Results Page


Middle School City Championships @ Hamilton Grange Middle School


District #7 also hosts our Middle School Championships each year at the end of the school year. Hosted every year at the Hamilton Grange School and PS 161. 200+ total participants. Over 200 students served. Over 100 volunteers, guests, parents from the community. This is a Saturday and Sunday Tournament. We provide breakfast, lunch, debate rounds all day and an awards ceremony. On Sunday we host elimination rounds for the top teams including quarterfinals, semifinals and the Final Round.


Tournament Photo Album Day 1


Tournament Photo Album Day 2


Website Landing Page of the Tournament


Tournament Results Page



District Schools and Students Served


Half of our work is debate tournaments every Saturday. The other half of our work is how we support our teachers, schools and students through outreach and starting and sustaining debate programs in schools. We have outreach coordinators in each Borough to support schools, train teachers, provide curriculum and professional development, coordinate local debate scrimmages, year round virtual support (webinars, emails, phone calls, etc), help teachers recruit and start debate programs at their school, and anything else needed to start and sustain a successful debate team. We provide assistant coaches and volunteers to schools to support their debate programs. We have all day teacher training conferences at least four times a year.


As a result we have successfully partnered with the following schools in the district to create sustainable and successful debate programs through year round support:


District Schools Served:


Columbia Secondary School for Math, Science, and Engineering


The Hamilton Grange School


West Prep Academy (03M421)


Special Awards & Recognition:


The District 7 debaters are among some of the top debaters in the city, wining awards at nearly every NYC debate tournament. 



Other District Debate Programs


  • Harlem Summer Debate Institute. We host a free summer debate institute at Columbia Secondary School.  Each year from 2014 over 100 students participate in the Harlem Summer Debate Institute. Summer Debate Institutes often cost thousands of dollars. We provide a free summer debate institute for NYC youth. We provide daily debate workshops, top debate trainers, breakfast, lunch, summer tournament and more.
  • Debate Club. All District 7 students are able to participate in our debate programs for free. We have a Debate Club that serves students without debate teams at their schools.