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The Rhode Island Spotlight Weekly Feature

Debating Their Future

Every month dozens of city kids gather for a competition. Not on a court or a field - but in classrooms throughout Providence, for all-day debate tournaments sponsored by the Rhode Island Urban Debate League. Jim Hummel finds the tournament is only part  of the equation, as the students have to spend hours getting ready for their opponents.


It is a coup d'état of sorts on this Saturday in late October - a peaceful coup as dozens of high school students have overtaken classrooms throughout Mount Pleasant High School, where they will spend the  day....debating.
They are part of the Rhode Island Urban Debate League, formed in 1999 for high school students from Providence, Pawtucket, Central Falls and Woonsocket.  The tournament in October had a Halloween theme, with the participants encouraged to arrive in costume.
Belanger: ``I so firmly believe that there is no activity that can better prepare a young person for virtually anything they want to do.''
Ashley Belanger came to Rhode Island six years ago to become the organization's first executive director. She watches a similar transformation year after year.

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