Throughout this year, we have been celebrating the contributions of Melissa Wade to the Atlanta debate community after her recent retirement from Executive Director of the Barkley Forum. Melissa will continue her debate advocacy as the President of the Glenn Pelham Foundation for Debate Education (GPF). The GPF is the umbrella organization for the Atlanta Urban Debate League.

Melissa Wade is a principle founder of the Atlanta Urban Debate League, which sparked the urban debate league movement that now exists in more than 20 major U.S. cities. As a long-life debater and Emory University alumna, Melissa became concerned about the lack of access to debate, historically attainable only by the privileged. Working alongside educator Betty Maddox and Atlanta Public Schools, Melissa worked tirelessly to bring debate education to Atlanta’s most high needs schools. Debate acted and continues to act as a great equalizer in education. Today, the league welcomes a diverse group of students to participate in an activity that was previously reserved only for students that could afford to travel regionally and hire full-time debate coaches. We look forward to seeing her legacy continue and grow.

To learn more about Melissa, visit her thank you page.