As a freshman at Oak Grove high school, Samiya Ali's debate career is full of potential. Just a few months in, she had already grown a tremendous amount and self proclaims: she's hooked.
While she might be fresh to the debate team, Samiya has been hearing about it for years at the dinner table. "Debate at Oak Grove is a family thing--my older brother (Zak, winner of last year's Final Tournament) did it when he was in high school and my older sister is currently the captain of the team!" Initially, Samiya joined debate at the urging of her siblings and because it would look good on college applications. She has stayed in debate because of the unique opportunity SVUDL provides to voice her thoughts and opinions and learn new things. She recently took on the role of Media Organizer for her team, where she will combine her passions for art and talking into the work of building and managing her team's social media presence. She has already begun digital drawings for her team.
Samiya loves how researching policy topics has catalyzed learning about things she never knew existed, "like human rights issues in China--my eyes were opened, I didn't know all these problems were going on." She especially loves the opportunity to research, explore, and build skills at SVUDL workshops. Samiya describes these workshops fondly, reflecting on how many friends she has made during them. Armed with a passion to speak, solid research, and an army of friends and mentors from SVUDL, there's no doubt that Samiya is off to an amazing start as a debater. With 3.5 years of debate ahead of her, the sky's the limit!
When asked what advice she has for shy students thinking about trying debate out, she confidently says, "be strong, your voice matters."
We couldn't have said it better ourselves. Congratulations, Samiya, on being this week's Debater of the Week!