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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

High School Debaters Compete to Win $150,000.00 in College Scholarships

This past Saturday, I went to an event-an reenactment of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass speeches-at the famed Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church in Philadelphia. This was the church started by Richard Allen. Anyway, at this event ,I met Malik Neal ,who is 16 years old and a senior at West Catholic High School.

Malik is a finalist in Now Debate This!, a national competition where students have to debate American history topics. Students from all over the country entered this competition and there were several rounds of competitions, but now the contest is down to Malik from Philly and Philip Hayes from Texas.

The final debate is tonight at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia at 7:00 p.m. Malik will argue that Abraham Lincoln was the best US President and Philip will argue that George Washington was the best president. The public decides the winner. You can attend the event live and for free at the Constitution Center or watch online and vote. The winner gets $150,000.00 in scholarship money and the runner-up gets $50,000.00 in scholarship money.

Malik Neal reminds me a lot of James Farmer, Jr., the youngest debater in the movie The Great Debaters.

Now Debate This! is produced by Pinnacle Performance. Mary Hagy is the President of this organization which specializes in heritage education.

For more information and to see videos of Malik and the other contestants
go to
* Portrait of Lincoln by Robert Shetterly

The National Constitution Center
525 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA

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