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Old Parkland Hosts Inaugural Mayor's Cup Debate

Bill Zeeble
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings at the first ever Mayor's Cup debate.

High school debaters from across the Dallas school district took center stage at the first ever Mayor’s Cup contest Thursday night.

They debated a topic that’s generated a lot of heated discussion in Texas in recent years: school vouchers. The competitors were members of the Dallas Urban Debate Alliance. The 10-year-old organization encourages Dallas ISD kids to get involved in competitive, academically rigorous debates.

Victor Pena, a senior at Thomas Jefferson High, shared the victory with Kathy Nguyen, a North Dallas High junior. Pena said it wasn’t really about beating his opponents.

“Honestly I don’t think this is a win for our debate team. I think this is more of a win for ‘team debate,’ because Dallas urban debate program has helped me lot. Even for the people that lost, they’ve also been blessed by the program that we have today.”

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings encouraged Harlan Crow to host the contest at the state-of-the-art, wood-paneled, debate chamber in the Old Parkland Hospital campus that Crow renovated.

Bill Zeeble has been a full-time reporter at KERA since 1992, covering everything from medicine to the Mavericks and education to environmental issues.