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Incubate Debate program prepares next generation of debaters

Incubate Youth Economic Summit teaches teens how to reason, write, and convey ideas
Posted at 5:22 PM, Mar 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-22 17:22:19-04

PAHOKEE, Fla. — Inside Pahokee Middle-Senior High School, some of South Florida's best and brightest fine tuned their research skills and learned the power of persuasion through debate.

"I always had a passion for public speaking, especially because with Incubate it's helped me with strengthening my skills," said Lenae Washington, a junior at the Center for International Education in Homestead.

The teens are part of Incubate Debate, a non-profit and high-school program for students from Florida's urban and rural, underserved communities.

"I think one of the important parts of debate is just communication learning how to talk to people, learning how to have respectful conversation with people," said Sophia Correderas, a senior at Dr. Michael Krop Senior High in Miami.

On Tuesday, the young debaters gathered for the Incubate Youth Economic Summit in Pahokee and listened to lectures on the issues impacting the country.

The summit took place as Supreme Court nominee, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, fielded questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington D.C.

Judge Jackson said her high school's debate team near Miami prepared her for success in law and life, and now she's become a role model for students like Lenae Washington.

"Especially because we've never seen a black woman as a Supreme Court justice and that was one of my dreams," said Washington, "and now seeing her, that gives me even more motivation to go for my dreams,"

The students with Incubate Debate participate in tournaments, which help teaches them how to reason, write, and convey an idea.

"This is a platform for them to show off those skills and research," said Incubate Debate Founder James Fishback. "So many of our students, their story is so similar to her story."

"I love learning about these policies that I know Ms. Jackson is using right now," Correderas said. "She is the daughter of two teachers and I'm the daughter of two teachers, so she feels more personal to me than ever."

Jackson's historic nomination has sparked the fire, confidence, and passion in the young students.

"Just seeing her more now, it just drives me even more to continue to debate and continue speaking on these topics," Washington said.