SU2023 The Art of Debate Camp

The Art of Debate Camp


The Art of Debate introduces students to public speaking and critical thinking skills they will use for the rest of their lives. Students learn how to construct a logical and coherent argument, how to put together a speech, how to think on their feet, how to ask pertinent and probing questions, and how to conquer fear of the podium. The camp features lectures from nationally recognized debaters, but also puts students in the place of the debater, through speaking drills and impromptu exercises. The camp concludes with a mini-debate tournament, giving students an opportunity to put their skills into action.

Art of Debate FAQs

What’s the schedule for the Art of Debate Camp?
Camp II (July 10 – 14) will run each day from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM. Drop-off starts at 9:30 AM. Parents should pick their campers by 1:15 PM.

Camp IV (July 24 – 28) runs each day from 9:00 AM to 12:00 noon. Drop-off starts at 8:30 AM. Parents should pick their campers by 12:15 PM.

Camp VI (Aug. 7 – 11) runs each day from 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM. Drop-off starts at 11:45 AM. Parents should pick their campers by 3:15 PM.

Where does the camp take place?
All activities take place on the Sparhawk grounds and classrooms.

What should my son wear to camp?
Campers should dress in comfortable, warm-weather athletic attire and bring a bag lunch and drink from home.

What else does my son need to bring with him to camp?
As we will be both indoors and outdoors during the day, campers should bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and bug spray!

Do Art of Debate Camp t-shirts cost extra?
The price is included in the camp fee. Each camper will receive a Sparhawk Art of Debate Camp t-shirt on the first day of camp.

Camp Leadership

Matt McDonald teaches Language Arts, Literature, and Math at Sparhawk Academy. His son recently won the NCFCA Christian Speech & Debate championship held at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Contact Mr. McDonald at

Full profiles for Mr. McDonald and other Sparhawk teachers are available here.



Brendan McDonald competed in debate for six years, including all four years of high school. Brendan won three debate tournaments, including a Team Policy online national open at which there were 84 competitors. He also placed second at his regional tournament in 2020, and fourth at the Coolidge Cup in 2019. Brendan considers speech and debate vital to his development as a student and as a person, as he discovered skills and career paths he had never considered. Brendan is currently a student at Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in southern New Hampshire.

Justin Marwad competed at the highest levels of the National Christian Forensics and Communications Association as a high school student. He is a frequent contributor to Ethos, an online publication that carries advice for debaters. Justin is currently a student at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell.


Camp fee: $325 ($50 discount for currently enrolled Sparhawk students)

Sessions and Times:

Camp II (Monday, July 10 through Friday, July 14; 10am -1pm)
Camp IV (Monday, July 24 through Friday, July 28; 9am -12 noon) 
Camp VI (Monday, Aug. 7 through Friday, Aug. 11; 12pm – 3pm)

Entering Grades: 6-12

Enrollment cap: 15 Per Session

Camp location: Sparhawk Academy