Partnership for After School Education


Aubrey Semple is one of the most decorated and award winning African American debate coaches in the United States, and one of the leading advocates for afterschool debate programs in New York City. From his start as a quiet, shy, high school debater to his transformation into the New York City Urban Debate League's first program director, Aubrey has dedicated his life to the mission that all students should have access to debate opportunities, and that every school should have a debate team.

In the four years that Aubrey has worked at the Debate League, it has grown from the smallest to the largest urban debate league in America today – serving over 1,000 students and 100 schools each month. As a result of his efforts, last year the NYC Urban Debate League was honored by the White House Youth Awards as one of the nation's top afterschool organizations in the Arts and Humanities.

Aubrey sets an exceptional example as a role model for youth, especially for students of color who seek people they can identify with to help them succeed in school. Last year, he led the first team of students from the South Bronx and Brooklyn to ever qualify for the nation's most prestigious tournament and to become the top debaters in the nation. Aubrey shows that resources, wealth, and privilege are of no importance when students of any background are empowered with the passion of debate.

Aubrey has aided students over the years in achieving success in higher education, last year alone helping 200 of his debaters graduate on time from high school and get accepted to college. In fact, several of his program alumni have received partial or full scholarships to prestigious colleges due, in part, to their involvement in his debate programs. In addition to this student impact, he trains teachers to start, sustain, and successfully coach debate teams, amplifying his reach and instilling the power of debate in even more young people throughout the city.

Aubrey is what the New York City Urban Debate League is all about – getting students passionate and hooked for life on learning, academics, civics, leadership, and community. Every day, every night, every weekend, and all summer long, Aubrey is dedicated to providing the best debate education opportunities possible for NYC's youth.