VBI is excited to announce the recipients of the inaugural Community Equity Scholarship!
The Community Equity Scholarship is a recognition of students who have been dedicated and continue to dedicate their time and effort to promoting inclusion and diversity on their debate teams, their local circuits, and/or the national circuit. We believe it’s important to recognize the work done outside of debate rounds that is often behind the scenes.
Recipients will receive $1000 of financial aid that they can apply to any of our camp sessions. This award money can be combined with other needs-based financial aid because it is a separate amount of money being offered.
These applicants demonstrated a strong commitment to promoting inclusion and diversity both inside and outside of debate rounds. We are excited to tell you about these incredibly qualified and deserving recipients from a field of incredible applicants.
Class of 2019, The Quarry Lane School
Sai loves to sing in my free time — whether in the shower, in the car, or recording myself onto garageband — and they have played the flute for about 9 years which I pursue both as a form self-expression and a rigorous academic study. Their vision of a truly equitable debate community would have to be one where every student, coach, judge, administrator, etc. is comfortable being themselves and has a support group they can fall back on when they’re in need — this would mean instituting things like trigger/content warnings, teaching students and having them practice debating without misgendering, being open to various styles of debate (debating their merit in a safe, productive, and accessible manner), etc. — especially at camps.
Class of 2020, Success Academy
She is a stepper and an African print enthusiast! A truly equitable debate community to her is a space where there is a large representation of black judges, space where black people can speak their truth without their arguments being exploited or rejected by non-black debaters. #SuccessAcademyBC
Class of 2020, Success Academy
She dances and loves to listen to K.Dot and J.Cole whenever she can to center or hype herself up. A truly equitable debate community to Lala would be better representation of black bodies, more specifically black debaters, coaches, judges, and their arguments. She believes debaters need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable in order to learn about the other side of the story. She sends a big thank you to Nicole, Sekou, Meagan, Aida, Bintou, and Taj! #SuccessAcademyLD
Class of 2020, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy
Jocelle does Olympic Style Archery, and she is hoping to make the US team in the future. Since she grew up in the US, her Filipino accent is not perfect, but she speaks and understands both English and Tagalog (Filipino). As she attempts to envision a truly diverse and equitable debate community, she sees a group of talented individuals of all ethnicities, gender identities, religions, income level, and backgrounds working together to achieve greatness in this activity that we all enjoy. We would cheer each other on, supporting and helping each other, even if we are on opposing sides. Debate is what binds and unites us, and we must learn from each other. The debate community, as great as it is, has a lot of work ahead of itself. If we continue on the path we are going, I am sure that this community I envision will become a reality.
LaToya Green has 14 years of experience in competitive policy debate. Ms. Green experienced significant success in the five years she competed at Emporia State University, most notably earning ESU’s first individual speaker award in 50 years at the National Debate Tournament (NDT) in 2011 and being awarded the prestigious Cross Examination Debate Association (CEDA) “Debater of the Year” award in 2012, her final season. After competing, Ms. Green turned to coaching by accepting a graduate assistantship at Wake Forest University. The assistant coaching experience earned at WFU provided Ms. Green the opportunity to return to her alma mater, ESU, in 2014 as Director of Debate, before transitioning into the same role at Cal State Fullerton in Fall 2015. Ms. Green, who is the youngest director of debate in the country, has experienced competitive success in all divisions of the activity. During her short tenure as a director, she has been recognized as CEDA Mid-America Critic of the Year (2015), Coach of the Year (Weber State- 2015), and as the 2017 recipient of the Galentine Award, which recognizes exceptional women in coaching.
Heath Martin is the new Director of Speech and Debate at Presentation High School in San Jose, CA. A past president of the Texas Forensic Association, Heath is a National Speech and Debate Association Two Diamond coach who has led students to deep outrounds in just about every event offered in high school forensics. From semis of Duo Interpretation at the NCFL Grand National tournament to top 15 finishes in LD and PF at NSDA Nationals, from a Texas State Champion in Impromptu Speaking to a Debate School of Excellence Award, his students have achieved success at the highest levels. Heath hails from Louisiana where he was an All State Speech and Debate team member in both Prose/Poetry Interpretation and LD debate in high school. He went on to compete in both individual events and policy debate in college which is why the teams he has coached have always maintained a broad focus across all genres of forensic events. In his spare time, Heath has been a Diversity Awareness and Anti Bias education program facilitator for the Anti Defamation League for the past twelve years.
SunHee Simon is a LD curriculum Director at Victory Briefs. SunHee has participated in debate since the 7th grade and has been a championship debater in both Lincoln Douglas and Policy Debate. In 2015, she was one of only two people to qualify to the Tournament of Champions in CX and LD. Her freshman year at Stanford University–where she now attends–she earned the semifinal title at the Cross Examination Debate Association (CEDA) national tournament. Now, she focus on private coaching and coaching Science Park High School. She has helped her students get to late elims and finals of national tournaments like the Glenbrooks, NDCA, Berkeley, Emory, and the TOC.