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Julia Burke Award Nomination Deadline April 8th

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Remember, you cannot vote for them if no one nominates them. Don't hope that someone else nominates your choice. Send in your nomination today!

 

The Julia Burke Award to recognizes the high school policy debater who most closely upholds the combination of characteristics that Julia displayed in her love for the activity. These qualities include excellence in and passion for debate, a commitment to helping others, love and respect for the policy debate community and dedication to maintaining friendships despite the pressures of competition. Any policy debater who is eligible, or expected to be eligible, to compete in the TOC may be nominated for the award.

 

Julia Burke Award Nomination Website

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Please don't waste your time nominating someone who is not eligible for the award. To be eligible to win the award, the debater must compete in the 2011 TOC. While I understand the desire to rally around a friend who is having a hard time, I think it is inappropriate to use the Julia Burke Award to register your unhappiness with a decision reached by a school. Doing so distracts from the goal of this award, which is to honor the memory of Julia Burke by recognizing a debater who embodies the traits that made her so special.

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Please don't waste your time nominating someone who is not eligible for the award. To be eligible to win the award, the debater must compete in the 2011 TOC. While I understand the desire to rally around a friend who is having a hard time, I think it is inappropriate to use the Julia Burke Award to register your unhappiness with a decision reached by a school. Doing so distracts from the goal of this award, which is to honor the memory of Julia Burke by recognizing a debater who embodies the traits that made her so special.

Obviously the best way to promote "excellence in and passion for debate, a commitment to helping others, love and respect for the policy debate community and dedication to maintaining friendships despite the pressures of competition" is to prevent anyone from receiving this scholarship and award unless they are already lucky enough to be in the small pool of students that have the far-above-average financial resources necessary to compete on the national circuit and qualify to the TOC...

 

Perhaps nominating ineligible students is the best way of critiquing the aristocratic elitism of the award?

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Obviously the best way to promote "excellence in and passion for debate, a commitment to helping others, love and respect for the policy debate community and dedication to maintaining friendships despite the pressures of competition" is to prevent anyone from receiving this scholarship and award unless they are already lucky enough to be in the small pool of students that have the far-above-average financial resources necessary to compete on the national circuit and qualify to the TOC...

 

Perhaps nominating ineligible students is the best way of critiquing the aristocratic elitism of the award?

 

Perhaps the award isn't meant to "critique aristocratic elitism" and created in memory of a debater that died in an accident. Perhaps it was designed that way based on the wishes of those close to her that created that scholarship...

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Obviously the best way to promote "excellence in and passion for debate, a commitment to helping others, love and respect for the policy debate community and dedication to maintaining friendships despite the pressures of competition" is to prevent anyone from receiving this scholarship and award unless they are already lucky enough to be in the small pool of students that have the far-above-average financial resources necessary to compete on the national circuit and qualify to the TOC...

 

Perhaps nominating ineligible students is the best way of critiquing the aristocratic elitism of the award?

 

I don't think nominating a debater who will not be attending the TOC because he's an asshole is going to be seen as a critique of the aristocratic elitism of the award

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Perhaps the award isn't meant to "critique aristocratic elitism" and created in memory of a debater that died in an accident. Perhaps it was designed that way based on the wishes of those close to her that created that scholarship...

I'm not arguing that the award was intended to be aristocratically elitist, merely that (among other things) it is aristocratically elitist. You don't have to intend to bite a K in order to lose to it...

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Obviously the best way to promote "excellence in and passion for debate, a commitment to helping others, love and respect for the policy debate community and dedication to maintaining friendships despite the pressures of competition" is to prevent anyone from receiving this scholarship and award unless they are already lucky enough to be in the small pool of students that have the far-above-average financial resources necessary to compete on the national circuit and qualify to the TOC...

 

Perhaps nominating ineligible students is the best way of critiquing the aristocratic elitism of the award?

It's aristocratic and elitist...so what. Nonunique. No shit, the TOC is largely affluent white/Asian American kids. Don't criticize the award for being exclusive to the top tier of the national circuit, criticize the national circuit and work to change it so more people get access to that top tier. TOC qualification is probably the most objective standard to determine competitive success so that the potential nomination pool can be narrowed down to a reasonable number; I doubt the executors of the award would even want to consider sifting through several tubs worth of nominations using some other criteria.

 

Also worth noting, last year's winner was Misael Gonzalez from Whitney Young. Haven't met him but he sounds like an incredibly nice guy. Misael and Kevin received exceptional outside financial support, but they weren't exactly standing on a pedestal of privilege like everyone else.

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Morgan and Musti 2011!

 

QFA

 

you don't actually have to attend the TOC just be expected to attend (which could mean many things).

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QFA

you don't actually have to attend the TOC just be expected to attend (which could mean many things).

 

Correct, in that you do not have to attend in order to be nominated. If you do not attend, however, you will not be one of the finalists for whom TOC attending debaters get to vote. The "expected to attend" language allows folks to nominate debaters who are applying as at-larges; it also acknowledges that some debaters who qualify for the TOC choose not to attend, or are unable to attend.

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Obviously the best way to promote "excellence in and passion for debate, a commitment to helping others, love and respect for the policy debate community and dedication to maintaining friendships despite the pressures of competition" is to prevent anyone from receiving this scholarship and award unless they are already lucky enough to be in the small pool of students that have the far-above-average financial resources necessary to compete on the national circuit and qualify to the TOC...

 

Perhaps nominating ineligible students is the best way of critiquing the aristocratic elitism of the award?

 

As one of Julia's coaches and someone who was involved in the creation of the award, I am in a good position to say that you are missing the boat here. The award was designed to foster certain values and behaviors in a specific population: those who participate in Policy Debate at the highest levels on the national circuit. We focused on this population because Julia was a part of it. We recognized that the intensity of competition poses a challenge for debaters, and that it is sometimes hard for this group of debaters to see the bigger picture and recognize that being kind, decent, and giving should come before doing whatever it takes to win.

 

One of the elements of the award is a charitable grant that the winner of the award is allowed to bestow on an organization of her choice. Past recipients have given to several urban debate leagues and the National Alliance to End Homelessness, among other groups. This aspect of the Julia Burke Award not only directly benefits people in need, but it also encourages debaters to think about acting to make the world outside of the national circuit debate community a better place.

 

The Julia Burke Foundation does many wonderful things in Julia's memory, and the high school TOC debate award is just a small part of its work. Over the years the foundation has spent far more supporting urban debate leagues than it has rewarding elite debaters. Its support of organ donation, funding of de-mining efforts, provision of scholarships for low income Bay Area students, and micro loan programs dwarf the importance and impact of the Julia Burke Award at the TOC. Please allow the Burke family this one project that focuses on a community to which Julia belonged, and about which Julia cared a great deal. Do not hijack it for your own purposes.

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The award was designed to foster certain values and behaviors in a specific population: those who participate in Policy Debate at the highest levels on the national circuit.

Sure, but it's the targeting of that specific population that I take issue with. It's fine to target the top policy teams in the country, I have no problem with awards tied to merit. But why include only the good teams that also have access to lots of money? I take issue with the exclusion of good teams that can't afford to travel the national circuit and the strong implication that the top teams of the national circuit are, automatically, the top teams of the policy debate world. (For example, elite debaters also attend NFL Nationals, but NFL is far cheaper over the course of a season than TOC.)

 

I never met Ms. Burke and have no personal knowledge of her or her involvement in the community; I am not criticizing her. But issuing an award in her name does not shield the sponsors of that award from critique that it disingenuous and economically discriminatory.

 

It's great that the foundation allows winners of the award to direct funds to UDL programs. But wouldn't it be even better if debaters across the economic spectrum had similar chances of winning? (That is, where access to lots of money wouldn't be a prerequisite.) There would also be less of a problem if the award were marketed more honestly, but it does not promote "love and respect for the policy debate community" to exclude from consideration all members of that community who do not have access to large quantities of money.

 

And yes, Nick, I do understand that it's really the TOC that is is the big problem here, but awards like this contribute to the reputation and image of the TOC as the exclusive place to determine the best teams in the nation -- which it is not.

Edited by Fox On Socks
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But wouldn't it be even better if a UDL debater could ever win the award herself? (And, from what I understand, there's no way for the UDL debaters to personally get money, just their organizations?)

 

 

Last years winner was a UDL debater

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Last years winner was a UDL debater

Touche, I did not know that (how often does that happen?). But I think the broader point is still valid, it's very expensive to qualify to the TOC. Predicating an award on TOC attendance rewards those who are elite and have access to the money to go to the bid tournaments (which are not evenly distributed around the country) then the TOC itself.

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The broader point stands. Predicating an award in which being at the TOC is a criteria of eligibility rewards those who are lucky and talented enough to be at the TOC in the same way predicating a gold medal on being present in London in 2012 rewards those who are lucky and talented enough to compete at the Olympics.

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The broader point stands. Predicating an award in which being at the TOC is a criteria of eligibility rewards those who are lucky and talented enough to be at the TOC in the same way predicating a gold medal on being present in London in 2012 rewards those who are lucky and talented enough to compete at the Olympics.

Being talented and lucky is necessary, but not sufficient, to qualify to the TOC. If you do not have the financial resources available (your own, your school's, or some benefactors') to travel to multiple bid tournaments, then it does not matter how talented or lucky you are, you will never qualify to the TOC.

 

You have to be lucky and talented to qualify to NFL Nats too, but money is a much lower barrier to entry there.

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I think you're still missing the boat here. The award is a memorial to remember a debater who died in a tragic accident. Why chose the TOC? Lexy already answered this question:

 

"The award was designed to foster certain values and behaviors in a specific population: those who participate in Policy Debate at the highest levels on the national circuit. We focused on this population because Julia was a part of it."

 

Why chose the TOC? Because Julia competed there and cared very deeply about that community. Please allow those who wish to honor her memory in this way the choice to honor her in they way they feel is most appropriate. Your politics here are misplaced.

 

John Hines

College Prep

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You have to be lucky and talented to qualify to NFL Nats too, but money is a much lower barrier to entry there.

 

So is your advocacy that the Julia Burke Award should be given at NFL Nationals to a debater who qualifies for that tournament? Or that it should be connected to no tournament at all and be open to any Policy debater? Or is even that too elitist? Should receiving the award be open to anyone who participates in any form of debate, from Policy debate to Mock Trial and Model UN? What about those who participate only in classroom debates because they are not privileged enough to attend a school that offers competitive debate. Should receiving the award be open to debaters in other countries, especially those that do not share the United States' extreme economic privilege?

 

If any or all of these folks were eligible to receive the Julia Burke Award, how on Earth would we choose the winner? At what event would we present the award? Would anyone notice or care?

 

Julia Burke never attended NFL Nationals. She debated at the TOC in her sophomore year. You may prefer NFL Nationals to the TOC, but there is no escaping the fact that her community in the world of debate was the group of Policy debaters who travel the national circuit.

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Being talented and lucky is necessary, but not sufficient, to qualify to the TOC. If you do not have the financial resources available (your own, your school's, or some benefactors') to travel to multiple bid tournaments, then it does not matter how talented or lucky you are, you will never qualify to the TOC.

 

You have to be lucky and talented to qualify to NFL Nats too, but money is a much lower barrier to entry there.

 

I think you are overestimating the amount of money it takes to qualify to the TOC, or at least the somehow complete inability of underprivileged high school students to raise money. In my personal experience as a debater who is qualified to the TOC from a high poverty, UDL school, the barriers to entry can be high, but far from insurmountable. As schools like Beacon prove, raising money can be a sufficient strategy to support a robust travel schedule.

 

Also, schools like Baltimore Talent Development prove that skill and a little luck are sufficient to achieve national circuit success, even though neither Kevin Whitley nor Leah Reid attended the more prestigious camps (or any camp for that matter this summer), have any funding outside of the minimal money their school gives them, and have little established reputation.

 

Finally these comments ignore the plethora of debate teams that are on the cusp of establishing powerful national circuit programs, even in geographically and monetarily poor positions. These include DuPont Manual (re-establishing a program), Newark Science, University, Northside College Prep, and a bunch of others it would be hard to list right now.

 

Even if you win that people who attend the TOC are overwhelmingly privileged (likely), Misael Gonzalez, an excellent debater and person who exemplifies the characteristics of the award, proves that those debaters can win the award without any level of privilege.

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As schools like Beacon prove, raising money can be a sufficient strategy to support a robust travel schedule.

 

 

Chill son, we madd broke

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