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UK HOSTS NATIONAL HIGH SCHOOL DEBATE INSTITUTE

By Kathy Johnson

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The three-week program has attracted 144 high school debaters from around the nation to learn theory and techniques of debate as well as researching next year's national high school debate topic.

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July 1, 1999 – (Lexington, Ky.) – Some of the best high school debaters in the country are attending the National Kentucky High School Debate Institute at the University of Kentucky through July 11.

Coordinated by UK Director of Debate J.W. Patterson, this annual UK institute is the third oldest high school debate camp in the country and one of only about a dozen hosted by a college or university in the United States.

The three-week program, which opened June 19, has attracted 144 high school debaters from around the nation. They are learning the theory and techniques of debate as well as researching next year’s national high school debate topic, which deals with education reform in secondary schools and is expected to be a popular topic among high school debaters.

During the institute, student debaters also will engage in practice rounds, and a tournament will be held at the end of the session.

A unique aspect of UK’s summer debate camp is Patterson’s recruitment of top high school debaters who will be seniors next year. They serve as Institute Fellows.

"These highly successful debaters serve as role models for the less experienced debaters," Patterson said. Many of those Institute Fellows have participated in the Kentucky High School Tournament of Champions hosted by UK each May. It is considered the premier high school debating event in the country.

Patterson also has recruited a staff of college debate coaches and former college debaters from around the country as faculty for the institute.

Institute fellows Daniel McKenzie of El Cerrito, Calif. and Andrew Rothschild of Houston, Texas said they are impressed with the commitment of the staff at the Kentucky National High School Debate Institute.

"This is a high quality camp for high school debaters. The staff is focusing on improving every debater here," McKenzie said.

"These high school debaters of varying levels can all gain the extra polish to elevate their skills," Rothschild said.

George Kouros, who recently graduated from Emory University where he was on the debate team, is serving as an instructor at UK’s debate institute. He also attended the UK institute when he was a high school debater. He said the institute offers the students an excellent opportunity to hone both their research and presentation skills.

"Ninety-nine percent of the work in debate goes into research. Speaking is important, but if you aren’t prepared and haven’t researched all arguments on the topic, you won’t perform well," Kouros said.


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