The deadline to register for one of the four Mackinac Center 2009 High School Debate Workshops is approaching fast.

Now in its 22nd year, the workshops have helped close to 10,000 high school debaters prepare by giving them resources, information and tactics provided by nationally known speakers and debate coaches. This year's topic deals with social services and poverty.

Workshops this year will be held Oct. 5 in Livonia, Oct. 6 in Adrian, Oct. 7 in Grand Rapids and Oct. 8 in Traverse City. Coaches can register here.

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Students who attend not only gain valuable knowledge they can use during their upcoming debate season, but they also have a chance to win one of four $1,000 college scholarships as part of an essay contest. There have been a variety of winners over the years, including back-to-back winners from Saginaw Heritage in 2006 and 2007, while Catholic Central and Zion Christian, both in Grand Rapids, had two winners each in 2006 and 2008, respectively. Jessica Wilson, a 2008 graduate of Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central, was the first two-time winner, earning a total of $2,000 toward her college education.

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