Thursday, January 8, 2009

Now Debate This Announces 'The 100-Day Presidential Challenge'

/PRNewswire/ -- Now Debate This, America's only national online educational debate and $250,000 high school scholarship contest, announced a new, exciting competition to the 2009 program year to coincide with President-Elect Obama's first 100 days in the White House: "The 100-Day Presidential Challenge." This competition will ask high school students from across America to research their communities' biggest energy problems, and develop Energy Solution Proposals they can implement at the local level. The winners will earn a $5,000 clean technology prize for their school or organization, and an opportunity to share ideas with national experts, such as members of President Obama's cabinet, Congress, and the energy industry.

"In selecting the 2009 Now Debate This topic, 'U.S. Energy Independence,' we see a new opportunity to galvanize the power of America's youth to solve the country's most pressing problems," said Mary L. Hagy, Founder and Executive Producer of Now Debate This, based in Philadelphia. "We challenge all high school students to first, understand the history and context of their community's energy issues, and second, to propose viable solutions to their local problems."

Now Debate This (www.nowdebatethis.com), in partnership with the National Forensic League Speech and Debate Honor Society (NFL), presents "The 100-Day Presidential Challenge" as part of its 2009 program theme, "How can the U.S. achieve energy independence?"

"The timing of the 100-Day Presidential Challenge could not be better," said J. Scott Wunn, Executive Director of the NFL, based in Ripon, WI. Established in 1925, NFL is the nation's oldest and largest high school speech and debate organization. "The 2009 national tournament topic is alternative energy, so students, teachers and coaches are already studying and debating the issue all over the country. The 100-Day Challenge focuses that existing effort on creating viable solutions."

Students will identify and research their communities' most pressing energy problems through the creation of a timeline with background information and develop actionable plans to resolve the problems, including an economic and feasibility assessment. The contest will begin at 12:00:01 Eastern Standard Time on January 20, 2009 and close at 12:00:01 Eastern Standard Time, April 30, 2009.

Entries will be judged on creativity, historical research and analysis, the written proposal and accompanying video, documentation and feasibility. Judging panels will be convened by Now Debate This, comprised of representatives from education, non-profit, business, industry, technology and/or government sectors. Winners will be announced in May 2009.

In order to be eligible for "The 100-Day Presidential Challenge," high school student groups must:

-- Create a project web page on the Now Debate This Confab site. The
students will use this page to communicate their work through blog
entries, photos, videos, news articles and other appropriate
presentations. Judging will include evaluation of the content
generated on the group's page.
-- Research the history of energy usage in their communities, and develop
a timeline that includes the key actors and actions in their
community's energy use, as well as an explanation of the scope of the
problem today. Students must upload the timeline on their Now Debate
This Confab web page.
-- Create a SMART Energy Solution Proposal detailing the project and how
it will be accomplished. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable,
Attainable, Results-oriented, and Time frame. Student groups will use
these five categories to analyze the feasibility and economic efficacy
of the Energy Solution Proposal. The written proposal should be
accompanied by a video presentation of no more than 90 seconds, which
describes the problem and demonstrates why the students' idea poses
the best solution. Video presentations will be uploaded to YouTube.com
and SchoolTube.com.


Now Debate This launched its 2009 program on November 14, 2008 at the National Social Studies Conference in Houston. The 2009 program will consist of three competitions: "The 100-Day Presidential Challenge," "President Prep Time Essay Contest," which prompts students to write the new President about the issues they consider most important, and the "Now Debate This Scholarship Program" for high school juniors to compete for $250,000 in college scholarship money. The scholarship program will issue a call for video entry submissions to be posted to YouTube.com and SchoolTube.com in late February, 2009. The 16 semi-finalists are scheduled to be announced in May, with a summer travel study program beginning in late June, ending with the debate tournament in August.

Now Debate This is made possible through the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Forensic League, National History Day, the National Park Service and institutional and private partners including the United Nations Foundation.

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