High school students from the five USD 500 Public High Schools are invited to participate in the 8th Annual Senator David Haley Wyandotte County Youth Policy Debate to be held on Sat., May 11 from 5 to 8 p.m. at Kansas City Community College Upper Jewel.

The event, the brain child of and sponsored by KS Sen. David Haley who is an experienced and talented extemporaneous speaker. Haley says he started the event to encourage young people to be able to think on their feet when confronted with an issue, to be able to take a stand on an issues and to deliver convincing dialogue.

While the event has a category for experienced debaters, Haley says he’s particularly encouraged by the opportunity participation in the program gives those without debate experience.

Students compete on two levels, those with and without debate experience. Within those categories that compete either as an individual or as part of a two-member team.

The competition follows the rules of debate with students given the topic, with participants randomly assigned to develop either a pro or con position on the issues.

Potential 2019 debate topics include: higher taxes for the wealth, concealed carry, climate change, prison reform, supporting impoverished communities, reparations, shared parenting vs equal parenting, and Medicaid expansion.

Participants compete for cash prizes. With the winner(s) in each category taking home a financial reward.

For outsiders, Haley says attending the event, “makes for good afternoon theater. To watch them argue points they don’t believe in with a straight and earnest face… it’s amazing.”

To register, students should email kay.mercer@senate.ks.gov. When you register, indicate whether you’re an experienced debater, your grade level, the school you attend and whether you want to participate in the individual or duo category.

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