||Jennie Savage, Chair Emeritus
Director of Speech and Debate,
Palo Alto Senior High School
My commitment to SVUDL stems from first-hand knowledge of the transformative personal and political power of high school debate. My time as a debater in high school set me on a path to work in public policy, politics, and education for more than 30 years. Through all my professional work - from the Southern Poverty Law Center to the Children's Defense Fund, to Capitol Hill; from Planned Parenthood to Adobe, Inc. to Palo Alto High School - the skills, connections, and confidence I developed in debate made my success possible.
When the chance came to spread debate to the many young people in need, I jumped at the opportunity, having been inspired by the many years of success of Urban Debate Leagues at bettering the lives of thousands of students nationwide. I first served on the founding board of the successful Bay Area UDL in Oakland and served as founding board chair of SVUDL. I'm also actively involved in training and supporting women candidates to run for public office and see debate as a way to build a pipeline of compelling, informed, diverse leaders who have a transnational focus and 21st century thinking skills.