30 Middle Schoolers Benefit with Our Virtual Speech & Debate Club Workshop! Led by a Middle Schooler

In partnership with VT Seva Virginia Branch and her local middle school, Hrishita Mareddy, 14, conducted a Virtual Public Forum Speech and Debate Club Workshop open to all children in grades 6-8 for free. This debate club started on 10/13/2020 and ended on 10/31/2020 with a total of 9 sessions. Over this 3.5 week period, Hrishita taught over 30 middle school students public forum debate free of charge for 1.5-2 hours each session.

“ Be the change you want to see in the world.” - Mahatma Gandhi

Debate is expensive:

Many students in low-income earning families do not have the resources nor the financial security to partake in certain extracurricular activities. Speech & Debate happens to be one of them. Debating coaching centers are expensive, researching is time consuming and may cost money, and to enter national competitions, debaters often pay hefty entry fees. The students that are fortunate to be practicing debating, myself including, know that trying out for the high-school debate team is scary-enough even with experience. Giving these kids the exposure they need early on can give them an upper-hand when competing against others, and improve their speaking skills

Speech & Debate gives students:

  • Advanced public speaking skills

  • Practice with researching/finding credible and reliable sources

  • A strong understanding of how to develop a clear line of argumentation

  • Essay-writing skills

  • Argumentative and oral skills

  • Vast general knowledge

  • A steady foundation to base a high school debate career

  • Ahead of the game when competing with others for a spot in debate team tryouts

  • College applications/resumé

My sincere thanks to Abhishek Chennamaraju, VT Seva, Virginia and VT Seva National Communications team for their continued support before, throughout and after the workshop sessions. By the end of the club, students were able to create their own Pro and Con cases on a given resolution. They then battled their peers in a debate match, and gained firsthand experience in public speaking and debating. They also received individualized feedback and were given all of the resource slides used in the workshop sessions. Our suggested donation fee for this club was $20, and all proceeds went to VT Seva, an amazing organization. More on their wonderful charity and volunteer community service work here: https://www.vtsworld.org/ ~ Hrishita Mareddy

More About Hrishita Mareddy

Hrishita Mareddy (14) is a sophomore that attends Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville, Maryland. She is currently in the International Baccalaureate Magnet Program, and will graduate in 2023. She has been debating for well over 4 years. Her initial interest in teaching debate began when she realized she wanted to start a club to help young students gain important skills for their college career. Speech and Debate improves presentational and oral skills, researching and argumentation, and general knowledge. She wants to thank the wonderful directors at VT Seva for giving her the opportunity to mentor. She had a blast teaching the young middle schoolers about Public Forum Debate, and cannot wait to continue the club next semester!

VT Seva encourages and empowers youth to give back to the community and is very proud of volunteers like Hrishitha for utilizing their time and talent to help fellow students.

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