“Before debate, I was never willing to change my opinions…[But] in debate, I constantly had to learn both sides of the argument.”N., 12th Grade

Created in 2002, After School Activities Partnerships (ASAP) provides after school enrichment programs for elementary, middle, and high school students across the city of Philadelphia. Programs including chess, debate, drama, and scrabble aim to “increase academic achievement and help young people grow intellectually and socially.”

Through ASAP Debate, more than 350 Philadelphia students in 45 middle and high school clubs explore important real-world issues while building the critical reading, writing, thinking, and public speaking skills relevant to post-secondary education and employment opportunities.

ASAP organizes a six-month high school debate season consisting of weekly after school matches held at Central High School, as well as monthly middle school tournaments held at various locations throughout Philadelphia. In addition, ASAP provides initial training to new debate coaches, ongoing resources and instructional support, free transportation to events, and access to a variety of regional, state, and national competitive opportunities for advanced debaters, including the Pennsylvania High School Speech League (PHSSL) and Philadelphia Catholic Forensics League (PCFL). In 2016, six students from Academy at Palumbo and Science Leadership Academy represented Philadelphia at the National Catholic Forensic League Finals in Sacramento, California!

This year, five young female debate students from Academy at Palumbo, Central High School, and Science Leadership Academy qualified to represent Philadelphia at the Catholic Forensics League Grand National Tournament in Louisville, Kentucky! To learn more about their incredible accomplishments and to support their upcoming trip, please visit ASAP’s debate page.