Barkley Forum for High Schools

2023 — Atlanta, GA/US

Melissa Maxcy Wade Social Justice Award

Emory University forensics has a long history of encouraging students to use their forensics skills for the greater good of our society.  Both as a collective and as individual members, the Barkley Forum encourages service to others.  The Barkley Forum was at the forefront of the urban debate league movement to bring debate to disenfranchised students.  When middle school students expressed a desire to debate in Georgia, the Barkley Forum formed partnerships to provide those opportunities to students.  The Barkley Forum for High Schools itself was originally founded as a service to the forensics community in Georgia.  

While we value and reward competitive success at the Barkley Forum for High Schools, we also value service to others, and we wish to reward and recognize a student competing in our tournament who has a passion for social justice work and a desire to continue to use his or her gifts and skills to serve others in his or her community.  

The Barkley Forum established this award in 2013 as the Social Justice Award, and in 2016 we renamed the award the Melissa Maxcy Wade Social Justice Award in honor of Melissa’s retirement after 43 years of service to Emory University.   Melissa embodies the spirit of this award.  She has always sought out ways to empower people from all walks of life to find their voices to make the world a better place.  

Any forensics competitor who is active on their squad and who will be attending the 2023 Barkley Forum for High Schools may be nominated for the award.  Nominations can be from coaches, judges, or other members of the forensics community who are familiar with the student’s work. 

Nominations should include:

  • The name, school, and year in school of the nominee

  • The reasons for the nomination, preferably including anecdotes and examples of the student’s service

  • The name and affiliation of the person submitting the nomination

Nominations should be emailed to using the form found here by January 5, 2023.  Finalists for the award will be announced during the week prior to the tournament, and the award will be presented at the online Opening Awards Ceremony.  

In addition to a framed award, the award recipient will receive a $250 cash prize to be directed to the charitable organization of the recipient’s choice and a $100 cash prize for the recipient’s/nominator’s debate program.  The 2022 recipient was Anika Parthiban – Thomas Edison EnergySmart Charter School (New Jersey).