MDTA - Minnesota Debate Teachers Association


President's Message - Fall 2009

Several months into the new administration, it seems like it should be time for a new president’s message. 
I want to thank Chris McDonald for his great work as my predecessor in this position. I took the reins of a strong organization thanks in large part to Chris. We should all be grateful for his service in this position, as well as his other leadership roles in the forensics community. Similarly, I thank the Executive Board and all of the members of the MDTA for creating such a strong foundation.  
While we should all be proud of Minnesota debate, MDTA nevertheless faces significant challenges in maintaining and expanding debate opportunities for students. Our overriding mission should be achieving growth in the activity. This will be difficult, especially considering the realities of our current economy. However, we have some important assets to bring to bear on the problem. 
I want to reemphasize one opportunity that has not yet been sufficiently publicized. Joe and Lynn Schmitt have given much to the Minnesota debate community over the years, but they are now offering an unprecedented financial contribution, which was announced at the last general membership meeting. They have offered to match contributions to the MDTA of up to $25,000 per year for three years, for a total of $75,000. I cannot adequately express my gratitude for this generous offer. Our task, now, is to find the other donors to get this effort rolling.  Chris McDonald will be coordinating our efforts to solicit matching funds.  Anyone interested in contributing or helping in the effort should contact Chris or me.  We would obviously welcome donations as well as commitments of time. 
This and other outreach efforts will be a critical part of the agenda for our next general membership meeting, which will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 12, at Midland Hills Country Club.  (I make no comment on the rumors that I have chosen this location to ensure that I can play a round of golf that morning and still make it to the meeting...).  I look forward to seeing all of you at that time, if not before. In the interim, I hope you enjoy the small remnant of your summer, and here’s to a successful 2009-2010 season. 
Cort Sylvester

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