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High School Students Join Youth Development Expert at Drexel to Debate College vs. Career Readiness

October 17, 2013

Positive youth development Dr. Michael Nakkula will join Drexel on October 29

Four talented high school students from the Philadelphia Scholastic Debate League will debate the merits of college versus career readiness on Tuesday, Oct. 29 from 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., as part of the Critical Conversations in Urban Education lecture series hosted by Drexel University’s School of Education.

The debate, which will include student teams from Parkway West and Olney Charter High Schools, will be moderated by Megan Hess-Homeier, debate/drama coordinator of After School Activities Partnerships (ASAP).

Dr. Michael Nakkula, a distinguished scholar in positive youth development, also will participate in the event by exploring the issue of “possibility development” and preparing youth for the future. Nakkula is a practice professor and chair of applied psychology and human development at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education.

A reception will take place prior to the event. Representatives from college preparation and career readiness programs will be available to attendees throughout the evening.

The event, entitled “Coming of Age in Philadelphia: High School Students Debate their Future,” will take place in Mitchell Auditorium in the Bossone Research Center (3140 Market St). It is free and open to the public. To register, call 215-895-6770, email or visit The event also will be webcast live at

Nakkula’s teaching and research focus on the resilience and the promotion of possibility development among low-income children and youth. He is particularly interested in the integration of counseling, mentoring and educational processes in urban schools to create contexts that allow students to thrive in school and during their transition to higher education and career opportunities. Nakkula works with many national organizations to develop applied research strategies that promote the study of developmental and educational initiatives in support of optimal youth development.

The School of Education’s Critical Conversations in Urban Education lecture series, which began in April 2012, aims to become a vehicle for discussion within the Drexel and Philadelphia communities. It seeks to create a space for dialogue related to a range of education topics in an urban context for a mixed audience.  The series provides professional development that augments understanding of factors in preparing educators, and that transforms learning outcomes for urban students.

The event is sponsored by Drexel’s School of Education, the Lindy Center for Civic Engagement and the After School Activities Partnership.

About the After School Activities Partnership
After School Activities Partnerships was created in 2002 at the request of city leaders to bring to public awareness the dangers of the afternoon hours for unsupervised youth in Philadelphia. Since its inception, ASAP has rallied the Greater Philadelphia community to recruit volunteers, teachers and organizations to lead enrichment clubs across the city, with an emphasis on areas with high rates of poverty, crime, and truancy. ASAP’s dual goals are to increase the number of after school enrichment programs for school-aged youth to improve academic achievement and provide alternatives to unsupervised out-of-school time, and to disseminate information on these programs to parents and caregivers. For more information, visit

About the Philadelphia Scholastic Debate League

The Philadelphia Scholastic Debate League (PSDL) is the competitive organization for public and charter school debate teams in Philadelphia with 35 middle and high school debate teams competing in the Public Forum Debate format. Monthly topics are disseminated by the National Forensics League and ASAP provides evidence packets and sample cases to help students and coaches with the rigorous research and case writing required by debate.  Middle school debate is open to all types of after school sites, including rec centers, parochial schools and libraries. High school teams compete in weekly matches at Central High School during a 10-week fall season. Middle school students compete at a variety of interscholastic tournaments throughout the year. ASAP provides training, topics, resources, support, a variety of competitive opportunities and membership to outside leagues such as the Pennsylvania High School Speech League and the Catholic Forensic League. For more information, visit