Before and After School Debate Clubs in Seattle

Seattle-based DebateAble manages a number of before and after school debate clubs locally. If you don't see your school listed, please contact us and we'll bring debate to your school, too!

DebateAble Clubs make learning to debate fun while kids grow as critical thinkers, confident public speakers, and collaborative teammates. DebateAble is the only debate program in the country developed exclusively for kids in upper elementary grades. Through games, activities and relevant topics, debaters practice making and responding to arguments in an upbeat, positive environment--with an emphasis on learning to consider both sides of any topic or issue.

For more information about Registration, Payment, Cancellation, Wait Lists and Refunds, see our General Club Registration Information page for details.

Click on your school for more information and to register:

How Clubs Work

  • Debate clubs meet once a week before or after school.
  • Fall, Winter and/or Spring sessions are offered during the school year. Session length and dates are made to fit with your school's extra-curricular schedule. Students may sign up for multiple sessions.
  • Each session concludes with a debate match during the final club meeting. Family and friends are encouraged to come see the students demonstrate the skills they've learned. 
  • Recommended class size is 9-15 students. 

Additional Support To Local Clubs

DebateAble offers additional support to local clubs, including...

  • Original debate curriculum developed specifically for kids and designed to teach debate skills in a fun, interactive and supportive environment.
  • Online registration and tuition billing
  • Scholarships available
  • On-site coach training and club site visits
  • Debate match judging
  • Participation in our annual cross-school debate tournament each May

Seattle Debate Club Coaches

Alana Rotz 
Alana teaches third grade at Catharine Blaine K-8. She graduated from Seattle Pacific University in 2008 with a BA in Communications and her Elementary Education Certificate. Teaching is a true joy for Alana.  She loves the excitement and energy that her students bring to the classroom every day. She believes it is so important for students to be able to think critically about a topic and to discuss their opinions and views in an articulate way.  
It's very exciting to see students develop these skills in debate.
Amber Vandermeulen
Amber is a teacher at McDonald Elementary School currently teaching fifth grade Humanities. A little bit more about her: She lives in the central district of Seattle with my husband, two sons and cat.  Her oldest son is 6 years old and loves to play outside.  She was fortunate to stay home with him for his first year when he was born in Northern Japan where she and her husband were teaching for a year.  She calls him their Japanese souvenir! Her younger son is a toddler at  2 years old. Amber loves to travel and study languages, and has lived and taught in France and Japan and traveled to many other countries.

Devin O'Reilly 
Devin O’Reilly was born and raised in Seattle (with a brief stint in Bellingham for an education.) Devin has worked in a variety of roles, from corporate staff geologist and county civil servant, to AVID high school tutor and as a naturalist working with Seattle Parks. His heart and home are in the Rainier Valley but he loves exploring, learning and growing with students across the city. Debate is a new discipline for him, so he can’t wait to make his rhetoric …better-ic? Superior puns always accepted at (especially gneiss rock ones!)

Holly Richins
Holly Richins is a big fan of debate and is excited to begin her first year of coaching.  She attended high school in Utah, where she was the Vice President of the debate club.  She specialized in Impromptu speaking and oratory.  She won state, district, regionals and went on to the nationals level debate competition.  Holly attended Court Reporting school, but she currently is a stay at home Mom and loves to host etiquette camps and other fun youth group programs each summer.  She loves spending time with her husband,  Jansen, and their three children Lucy, Mia and Hank......with identical twin boys on the way.

Melanie Wienecke 
Melanie is an elementary teacher, biochemist, and park ranger from Colorado. She loves teaching, and especially enjoys sharing her love of science with people of all ages. Melanie has a BA in Biochemistry from Colorado College, a Graduate Diploma in Teaching from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, and a Master of Arts in Education from the University of Southampton, England. She taught second grade in Fort Collins, Colorado, for five years while spending her summers working as a ranger in Yellowstone National Park. As a student, she participated in speech and debate throughout junior high, high school, and college. Melanie enjoys skiing, camping, hiking, cooking, and dancing.
I am excited to be sharing something that I enjoyed so much as a student and that has benefited me so much in life with the students!

Sarah Holt (Program Manager, Coach)
Sarah was raised in the San Francisco Bay area before moving to Seattle 18 years ago with her husband, Bill. Sarah has two teenage kids in the Seattle Public School system. Her love of working with kids was strengthened by countless hours volunteering in the classroom at John Hay Elementary. She has served as co-chair on the John Hay PTA and is currently on the Board of the Queen Anne Farmers Market. In addition to her role as DebateAble's Seattle Program Manager, Sarah has supported DebateAble for several years as a tournament judge and coach, where she's committed to teaching kids the fundamentals of debate in an encouraging and fun atmosphere.

Sarah Yatsko
For the last ten years, Sarah has worked at the University of Washington researching public education policies and practices across the country. Before that she spent 11 years working with arrested youth as a Sentencing Alternative Specialist in King County’s Juvenile Court. She has a B.A. from Loyola University in Baltimore, Maryland and a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Washington. She is a Philadelphia native but Seattle, where she and her husband are raising their two children, has been her home for over half her life. She is deeply passionate about the value of debate for young students and is regularly reminded of how her own early exposure continues to reap professional and personal benefits many decades later.
There are few things I enjoy more than a rousing exchange of ideas and, I believe, there are few things more important in life than being able to confidently state your case, respectfully disagree and fully consider another’s viewpoint. 

Xena Eckert

Xena is an educator, activist and performer who currently teaches 4th grade at Salmon Bay School.  She has a degree in performance from Naropa University and a Masters in Teaching from Seattle University.  She lives in Ballard with her two sons and two cats, practices Bollywood dance, throws interesting parties, and believes that people should wear capes more often.    


DebateAble Tournaments provide an exciting and unique opportunity for elementary students to participate in inter-school debates. Debaters are teamed with members of their club and debate a prepared topic. Each team participates in two rounds, arguing the Affirmative in one and the Negative in the other. Scores are tabulated and awards are presented at the conclusion to the highest scoring teams and individuals. All debaters receive a Certificate of Excellence for the skills and courage they demonstrate by presenting their arguments in a public setting.

For information about DebateAble's 2019 Tournament, click HERE.

2019 -  The United States Voting Age Should Be Lowered To Fourteen Years Old.

2018 - Tablets Should Replace Textbooks in Elementary School.
2017 - 
Zoos Should Be Banned.
2016 - Plastic Water Bottles Should Be Banned.
2015 - Zoos Should Be Banned.
2014 - The United States Should Continue To Fund Space Exploration.
2013 - Elementary Schools Should Have Vending Machines That Sell Food And Drinks.
2012 - Fourth And Fifth Grade Students Should Be Required To Do Homework.

Tournament FAQ

Thank you to our generous Tournament Sponsors: 

Signature Sponsor

Metropolitan Market has been a generous supporter and Signature Sponsor of DebateAble's Annual Spring Tournaments since 2012, providing delicious breakfasts at each of our tournaments and funding that makes our competitions possible. Sending a huge shout out to Met Market employees Burt, Lori and Tiffany for the enthusiasm and joy they bring to our debaters on those early mornings.  A special Thank You to the Queen Anne and Magnolia stores for making our DebateAble kids a priority year after year. Thank you Metropolitan Market!

Supporting SponsorUmpqua Bank is known for its community service and has been a great contributor to DebateAble, providing space for coach training and a financial contribution (along with the popular Umpqua Ice Cream Truck!) to debaters at tournament events. 

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