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2024 High School Debate Championship

The City Club of Cleveland hosts the annual High School Debate Championship.

For more than two decades, The City Club of Cleveland has hosted the annual High School Debate Championship.

Every year, the top two area high school debaters square off in a classic "Lincoln-Douglas" style debate at a Friday forum. This allows the debaters to compete—not only for the judges and audience in the room—but also for our radio and television audiences.

The debaters will be Max Zukerman of Solon High School, coached by Trina Castro and Matt Hill; and Brooke Gemechu of Hawken School, coached by Robert Shurtz and Eva Lamberson.

The finalists will debate the topic Resolved: The primary objective of the United States criminal justice system ought to be rehabilitation.

Judging the debate are Corinne Lashley, Speech and Debate Coach at Chagrin Falls HS; Rich Kawolics, OSDA Hall of Fame Speech and Debate Coach at Laurel School; and Artis A. Arnold III, Managing Director at Huntington National Bank and City Club Board Member.

On behalf of BakerHostetler, we are honored to support this annual tradition in memory of Patrick Jordan--a lawyer, fierce protector of democracy and free speech, and a championship debater himself. You can learn more about the life and legacy of Pat Jordan at the 2022 High School Debate Championship here, or read the transcript here.


  • Brooke Gemechu
    Student, Hawken School
  • Max Zukerman
    Student, Solon High School


  • Kaitlyn Ernst
    Student, Laurel School; and 2023 High School Debate Championship Runner Up
  • Michael K. McIntyre
    Executive Editor, Ideastream Public Media