Hawks, Bishops a winning debate combination

FREEHOLD, NJ – The Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders recognized a unique collaboration between college and high school students May 12 and commended the students and their leaders for bringing honor and distinction to themselves, their teams and their community.


“The Asbury Park High School team has been working with the Monmouth University Debate Hawks to strengthen their skills and were debate-ready,” Freeholder Amy A. Mallet said. “These young men and women went from amateurs to multiple award winners in a very short period of time thanks to a strong learning partnership.”

By taking nine awards, including first-place trophies for top school, top debate team and top individual speaker at the Baltimore Urban Debate League tournament, the Asbury Park High School debate team out performed 11 high school teams at the Baltimore event.

The Asbury Park High School Debate team was established through a grant provided by the Monmouth University Institute for Global Understanding and with the assistance of the Monmouth University Debate Hawks team. The goal of the partnership was to enhance the Asbury Park students’ critical thinking skills by strengthening written, oral and technological communication abilities.

Members of the both teams attended the May 12 Freeholder meeting to accept their recognition.

Asbury Park High School Bishops Debate Team members include the two-person teams of: Jaslyn Williams and Christopher Shields, Kevin Ewrer and Reheem Scott-Griffith, Noroa Mondesir and Miguel Nunez, J’Asia Johnson and Iman Hall, and Joyce Jones and Aaliyah Napoleon.

Monmouth University Debate Hawks team members include: Captains Kristyn Basaliza and Greg Morga and team members Marilyn Fattorusso, John Ryan Feldman, Arielle Giordano, Brandon Karkovice, Michele Koeck, Tamari Lagvilava, Alexandria Matz, Olivia Mills, Delila Osmankovic, Miriam Peguero, Parker Ritzdorf and James Seip.

Leading the teams were Coach Joe Patten, Assistant Coach Melanie Sambataro and Asbury Park High School teachers Christine DeMarscico and Kim Brightman. Patten is an assistant professor of political science at Monmouth University.

At the 12-team Baltimore Urban Debate League Tournament in March, the Asbury Park Bishops swept all major award categories in their division that culminated in the triple crown for top school, team and individual speaker. The Baltimore host school also presented Monmouth University a special award for an outstanding debate program.

“This partnership represents the kind of creative approach that should be emulated,” Mallet said. “In these difficult economic times leaders in government, business, education and all fields need to come up with new and different ways to bring about successful outcomes.”