Arrow Down
Join our mailing list for news, updates, and ways to get involved!
Help us grow debate in Kentucky!
When we reach more students, we can use debate to change more lives. 


Sunday School

Our Mission

The Bluegrass Debate Coalition (BDC) works with Kentucky schools to make competitive debate available to every high school student.

The BDC believes that debate increases student academic performance, enriches and expands their college and career opportunities, and provides the intellectual and networking tools for youth to thrive as active, responsible leaders in their communities.

We are working to achieve our mission by developing accessible educational resources, supporting the development of new debate programs, and hosting low-cost online tournaments. 

In the Classroom

Who We Are

The Bluegrass Debate Coalition is led by Director Lily Nellans. Lily competed in speech and debate from middle school through college. She graduated from Western Kentucky University and the London School of Economics. Learn more here

Lily is joined by the staff and students of the University of Kentucky Debate Team, led by Director of Debate Dave Arnett. Learn more about the team here


The BDC is guided by a decorated and experienced Advisory Board made up of debate and industry professionals. Meet our Board here


The BDC is an extension of the Digital Speech & Debate Initiative (DSDI), a program of the University of Kentucky Debate Team.

The purpose of the DSDI is to promote the growth and impact of debate, using online tools to support accessibility to debate.

Learn more about the DSDI and access resources for online debate here.

KY_Lexington_Horse Farm Horses at Fence_


Coaches are the foundation of any successful debate team or league. There is absolutely no substitute for hard working and committed adults providing the bedrock for competitive speech and debate.

Recognizing this, a core goal of our program is to support BDC-affiliated teachers, parents, and supporters by providing them with accessible instructional resources, training, and professional development opportunities. 



Volunteers make up the backbone of our organization. Bluegrass Debate Coalition volunteers help develop educational resources, provide assistant coaching to students, and judge tournaments. We welcome all volunteers with a passion for high school debate. Previous debate experience is welcome, but not required. Contact us below to learn more about how you can get involved!




For any inquiries, questions or recommendations, please email or fill out the following form


Thank you for donating to help us grow debate opportunities for Kentucky students.


Donations can be made online here

Checks made out to the "Bluegrass Debate Coalition Fund" can also be sent to the office address below. 

Contact Us

Thanks for submitting!


145 Graham Avenue, Room 225

Lexington, KY 40508

Tel: (515) 499-5392