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Calvin Coolidge Debate Invitational!

Thank you to the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation, William C. Bryant High School, and 32 high schools, 170 students, 63 volunteer citizen judges, not to mention parents, guests, family members, teachers and staff who made the 2016 NYC Coolidge Cup Qualifying... read more

Celebrating our Queens Borough Champions!

This weekend for the first time the Boroughs of the Bronx and Queens hosted their Championship Debate Tournaments. Thank you to all schools and students for participating in this historical event! Thank you to New York State Senator Rivera for presenting at the Bronx... read more

Queens Debate Championships Coming Up!

The Queens Debate Championships Saturday, April 16th – Preliminary Rounds (Hunter’s Point MS) TBA – Semifinals & Final Rounds (Queens Borough President Office) Queens Thank you to Hunters Point Community Middle School, and Coaches Bart... read more
Queens Debate League Featured in the News!

Queens Debate League Featured in the News!

MS 202, Robert Goddard School’s Debate Team featured in the Queens Chronicle. MS 202 tied for 1st Place at our March 5th tournament in the Bronx featuring over 30 schools and 300 students! Congrats to MS 202 and congrats to all 300+ debaters! Article Link... read more
Queens Debate League Makes History!

Queens Debate League Makes History!

Queens Debate League Makes History in Far Rockaway! → JANUARY 23, 2016 Our debate tournament and the KAPPA VI Eagles were profiled in the January 22nd issue of The Rockawave!  Click here for the full article!  We’re excited to see debate participation and access... read more



Our History

In 2011, there were ZERO schools in Queens with competitive debate teams. This was an educational travesty because Queens if counted as a city would be the fourth largest city and school system in the United States. The mission of the Queens Debate League is that every school in Queens should have a debate team and every student should have access to the best debate education opportunities.  Thanks to support from the New York City Department of Education and the New York City Council our program is free for Title I schools in Queens.

Why Debate

“Competitive debate is one of the great equalizers of educational opportunity.  In a number of respects, competitive urban debate is uniquely suited to building what’s been called the ‘Four C’s’ of 21st century skills—critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity. And to that list I might add a fifth ‘C’— for civic awareness and engagement.” – US Secretary of Education honoring our debaters in Washington DC.  Our debaters won 1st in the nation and visited the White House to meet the President.

Through independent peer-reviewed research we know that urban debate prepares students to succeed in school and in life.

90% of urban debaters graduate on time.

72% of urban debaters with the highest risk of dropping out graduate on time.

Each semester that a student debates, his/her grades will improve.

At graduation, the average GPA of an urban debater is 3.23, significantly above the college readiness benchmark.

Debaters are more likely to test as college ready.

After graduating from high school, 86% of urban debaters enroll in college.

Urban debaters are 80% more likely to graduate from college.

Urban debate prepares students for twenty-first century careers.

Our Accomplishments

Queens is now home to some of the most successful debate teams in the region.  Maspeth High School and Queens High School of the Sciences have won top awards at every local and regional tournament. Maspeth High School has also qualified teams to the National Speech & Debate Association’s National Debate Championship – which is the largest academic competition in the world. A Queens High School student also won 1st Place in the nation Top Speaker Award at the National Association of Urban Debate League’s National Championship as well as multiple bids to the nation’s most prestigious debate tournament, the Tournament of Champions.

Interscholastic Debate Program

Our interscholastic debate program or after school debate program supports school based debate teams. We provide monthly tournaments, workshops, professional development, and any other support to start and sustain successful debate teams. We work with the following schools in the borough: AGAPE, Hawtree Creek Middle School, Hunters Point Community Middle School, KAPPA VI, Queens High School of Sciences

Curricular Debate Programming

In partnership with the Middle School Quality Initiative we work with schools to implement debate across the curriculum in every subject area.  We work with the following schools in the borough: P.S. 043, Waterside School for Leadership, Village Academy, Jean Nuzzi Intermediate School, PS/IS 116 William C. Hughley, I.S. 238 – Susan B. Anthony Academy, Queens United School, Hunters Point Community Middle School.

Queens Debate Tournaments

Our core program are monthly Saturday tournaments.  We provide at least three rounds of debate competitions, workshops, breakfast, lunch and an awards ceremony for all students.

Queens Summer Debate Institute

Our debate program is year round. During the summer we offer a free summer debate institute for students.  Our Debate Institute offers a rigorous curriculum of public speaking, research, rhetoric, current events, and public policy. Mornings include lectures on debate skills and topics and afternoons are devoted to small lab groups to practice debate skills.  The debate institute culminates with a summer debate tournament.  The Queens Summer Debate Institute is one of our largest summer debate institutes and we are so honored that the institute is hosted by Maspeth High School.

Queens Travel Debate Team

We also support travel scholarships for the top high school debaters. This allows students the opportunity to travel and compete at some of the top tournaments on the East Coast including Harvard University, Yale University, and other out of state and national tournaments.

Queens Outreach

We have a program director and outreach staff who visit schools to help train teachers who are new to debate and start and sustain successful debate programs.

New York City Urban Debate League Citywide Programs

All our programs throughout the city are available for all students.  We offer tournaments nearly every weekend, workshops and Debate Nights every month, citywide debate invitationals, summer debate institutes in each borough, the New York City Debate Championships, and other debate opportunities year round.


September: Season Kick Off Workshop (Queens High School of Sciences)

October: Queens Debate Tournament #1 (Far Rockaway High School)

November: Queens Debate Tournament #2 (TBA)

December: Queens Debate Tournament #3 (KAPPA Middle School)

January: All City Fall Debate Championships (Brooklyn Tech)

February: Queens Debate Tournament #4 (Far Rockaway High School)

March: Battle of the Boroughs Tournament (Bronx Science High School)

April: Queens Borough Championships (TBA)

May: City Championships (Institute for Collaborative Education)

Summer: Queens Summer Debate Institute (Maspeth High School)


Queens Interscholastic Debate Schools


Hawtree Creek Middle School

Hunters Point Community Middle School 


Queens High School of Sciences

MS 290

William E. Grady Career and Technical High School


Queens MSQI Debate Schools

P.S. 043

Waterside School for Leadership

Village Academy

Jean Nuzzi Intermediate School

PS/IS 116 William C. Hughley

I.S. 238 – Susan B. Anthony Academy

Queens United School

Hunters Point Community Middle School


Queens Debate League in the News



“Maspeth Debaters Sweep Tournament” (11/6/14)
“Debate League Comes to Queens” (4/24/12)
“Debate Team from a Hardscrabble School Seeks National Honors” (3/14/02)

Queens Debate League on Television