Jersey Urban Debate League
Developing Global Leaders at Home

About the JUDL

"Because I was a high school debater, I know the value of debate in stimulating and enriching the intellectual development of a student. That is why I am so excited that the Jersey Urban Debate League will be offering the debate experience to hundreds of high school students across the city of Newark."

Roger Leon, 
Deputy Chief Academic Officer
1987 NJ State Debate Champion, Science HS

What is Debate?

The preparation and delivery of debate arguments provides students with the opportunity to think critically, develop their academic research skills, improve their communication abilities, solve problems creatively and increase their self confidence. Because students involved in debate regularly engage in writing, information analysis, and in-depth library and Internet research, debate students often receive higher grades than nondebaters in high school and are more likely to continue on to post-secondary education. Debate enables students to present their views effectively and respond to arguments of those who disagree with them. In a time when youth violence is of increasing concern to all, debate teaches students to command attention with words, an alternate oudet for day-to-day conflict, and gives them a tool with which they can combat physical aggression.

What is the Jersey Urban Debate League?

The Jersey Urban Debate League (JUDL) was established through a grant from George Soros' Open Society Institute and operates in a partnership with FOCUS, Inc. JUDL has covered an area with a radius of 10 miles with Newark at the center. The cities involved in the league contain well over 30 schools serving predominately African-American and Latino students. The league will offer training for students and coaches, logistical and financial support for team operation and monthly local debate tournaments.

The JUDL began its operation in Newark. Science High School in Newark began its debate program in 1978. During the ensuing 24 years, Science High has experienced strong competitive success on the state, regional and national debate circuits including over 20 years qualifying for the national finals and over 20 varsity state championships. The Newark Public School district's central administration stands ready to support the expansion of debate to all of Newark's public schools.

How We Do It?

The JUDL hosts several Saturday tournaments for our high school conference and middle grades conferences. Each debater competes in at least 3 individual debates at each tournament with each high school debate lasting 1 1/2 hours and each middle grades debate 40 minutes.

In addition to hosting local tournaments, JUDL provides logistical support and resources for our debaters to complete in 20 state, regional and national tournaments. For most students, it is during these tournaments ranging from the NJ state championship tournament in Basking Ridge to prestigious national invitationals at Princeton, Yale, Harvard and Emory universities that the possibilities of higher education are realized.

Why Do We Do it?

JUDL was founded because competitive debate is a unique and effective bridge to successful collegiate and professional career paths. We personally take account for assisting each debater achieves admissions to a college or university. Our dedication to each student creates a sense of community and a support system for debaters for the rest of their lives.

Many students in urban areas lack opportunities that are key to developing their intellect, confidence, and ambition. Students are left to themselves to find their own internal drive, never even made aware of what an enriched world awaits them. Through the development of an extensive education program, we develop global thinkers and create opportunities for success.

What Can You Do?

The Jersey Urban Debate league needs adult and college student volunteers in order to offer the debate experience to the greatest number of Newark high school students possible. Volunteers are needed for:

> Logistics support > Judges > Vendors
> Youth mentors > Chaperones > Transportation
> Counselors > Office work > …your unique talent

If you are interested in this effort and can help in any way, please contact us at the address, phone, fax or email listed below!

JUDL c/o Science Park, 260 Norfolk St, Newark, New Jersey 07103
Phone: (908) 578-2776 or (908) 447-1373 Fax: (973) 268.5468
Email: or click here