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Staten Island Live, May 19th, 2018



Lara Bernard and Thurushi Rajapakse from Frank D. Paulo Intermediate School won the New York State Urban Debate League Championships. (Photo courtesy of Meredith Feigel)

Two students from Frank D. Paulo Intermediate School (I.S. 75) won the New York State Urban Debate League Championships.

The two students -- eighth-grader Lara Bernard and seventh-grader Thurushi Rajapakse -- were partners for the competition.

"Debate is a place for advancement, not only in academics, but in friendship and expressing yourself," said Bernard.

The pair thanked their coaches and peers for inspiring and encouraging them to work hard.

"The I.S. 75 debate team has opened a world of opportunities for me," said Rajapakse. "It taught me that there is never a right or wrong answer. We invested time and effort, and I'm thankful and proud to say that it paid off."

Rajapkse and Bernard are both first-year debaters, according to one of their debate coaches, Meredith Feigel.

"Their ability to truly listen to one another and work together has inspired the entire team, and even taught me a thing or two," Feigel said. "They truly deserve this."

About The New York City Urban Debate League

Our mission is that every school should have a debate team and every student should have the opportunity to the best debate education opportunities. One of the most critical problems in education today is the academic and civic achievement gaps. Our solution is to provide the best college, career, civic, communication and community opportunities through year round academic debate. Each month we work with thousands of students and hundreds of schools. We support debate practices every day, debate centers every week, tournaments every weekend, workshops every month, debate camps all summer, and year round support for any student and teacher. We are one of the the city’s most award winning curricular and extracurricular programs. We have received awards from the White House, National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, Presidential Commission on the Arts and Humanities, National Institute for Museum and Library Services, The Social Index of Top 100 Nonprofits, BoardSource, Points of Light’s Civic Accelerator, Teach for America, and by the First Lady as “one of the top arts and humanities based programs in the country.” Why Debate? Debate teaches every academic skill and every academic subject. A Great Debater means a person who has the skills and confidence to lead, to speak up, to argue, to question, to read and write to right the wrongs, to know about the world around you, and to change the world around you.

The New York City Urban Debate League
25 Broadway, 12th Floor