Mount Dora Middle, South Lake High and Windy Hill Middle schools are among 102 Florida schools chosen to participate in the second phase of the Florida Civics and Debate Initiative. The schools will work to elevate civic knowledge, skills and disposition through speech and debate. 

“Debate is a team sport,” said Florida Civics and Debate Initiative Director Beth Eskin. “These programs help students develop problem solving, communication, teamwork and analytical skills. It’s so rewarding to watch students grow in their craft and to work with dedicated coaches and volunteers who are passionate about bringing these important life skills to their students.”

During the 2020-2021 school year, the initiative established competitive speech and debate teams in 30 Florida school districts, with 59 schools and more than 2,000 student competitors. Mount Dora Middle and South Lake High were selected for the first phase of the program. For the 2021-2022 school year, a total of 161 schools from 48 districts will participate. 

“The Florida Civics and Debate Initiative supports student academic success while building great citizens,” Florida Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran said. “Research shows the many benefits that participating in debate has on critical thinking, test scores, graduation rates and college acceptance.”

Each school chosen to participate in Phase 2 will receive support next school year to start debate teams, professional development for new coaches, and support educational resources, tournament transportation, coach stipends and membership in the National Speech and Debate Association.

In addition, Florida Civics and Debate Initiative Summer Camps will take place June 21–July 2, and a National Civics and Debate Championship will be held Nov. 12–14.

Details and updates regarding Florida Civics and Debate Initiative events will be made available at

Recommended for you