Student Programs

The City Club of Cleveland has engages high school students from across Northeast Ohio with a School Outreach Program, annual High School Debate Championship, Youth Forum Council, and annual High School Free Speech Essay Contest.

School Outreach Program

High school students from across Northeast Ohio are invited to participate in all on-site City Club Forums. Often the questions posed by students are among the most pointed and resonant questions. Over 30,000 students have participated in the Student Program since its inception more than 30 years ago.

The City Club has an ongoing commitment to sharing its work with our region's youngest citizens. The Student Program at the City Club has grown into a mainstay and has become a very important component in our educational outreach initiatives. The Student Program provides students with hands-on exposure to lessons about citizenship, civics, and history. Students participants not only learn about current affairs, they learn how to analyze complex issues facing society and how to express a mature point of view.

All on-site forums are open to students for free and include lunch. The Forums begin at 12:30 p.m. and conclude at 1:30 p.m. For more information or to bring your class, contact Julia Wang at or 216-621-0082.

The City Club is proud to provide civic education to our region's future leaders. The following donors make the Student Program possible:

The Jeffrey David Epstein Memorial Fund
The Harry K. Fox and Emma R. Fox Charitable Foundation
The Laub Foundation
The Fred E. Scholl Charitable Foundation
Spahr Charitable Trust

For more information or to become a participating school, please contact Julia Wang at or 216-621-0082. 

High School Debate Championship

For over two decades, the City Club has hosted the annual High School Debate Championships. While most high school students are watching basketball finals and preparing for spring break, these enterprising students prepare for the High School Debate Championships, as well as for state and national competitions. The City Club gives them the opportunity to show off their skills. Every year, the top two area high school debaters square off in a classic "Lincoln-Douglas" style debate at a Friday Forum. This gives the debaters the opportunity to compete not only for the judges and the audience in the room, but also for our radio and television audiences. Debate teams from across Northeast Ohio are invited to attend as guests of the City Club and BakerHostetler.

The High School Debate Championship is sponsored by BakerHostetler in memory of Patrick J. Jordan. Mr. Jordan was a partner of the firm and an outstanding debater in high school.

Youth Forum Council

The City Club of Cleveland Youth Forum Council provides an opportunity for 35 high school students to examine the value and impediments of free speech; discuss and learn about national and international issues of critical importance; and be challenged to discover ways in which they can actively participate in public life. These students, hailing from all across the Greater Cleveland area, plan and facilitate cost-free forums and programs, important to local youth and their teachers. Past speakers in these forums include former Cleveland Mayor Jane Campbell, Greenpeace Executive Director John Passacantando, and former Special Envoy to Afghanistan Peter Tomsen. Through this unique experience, council members are exposed to differing viewpoints while having the opportunity to share their ideas in a public space.

If learning democratic leadership skills by working with students from diverse geographical, religious, racial, and cultural backgrounds sounds interesting to you, please apply here. Stimulating critical thinking about American public policy, international relations, environmental concerns, and numerous other issues is vital in today’s society and the Youth Forum Council provides a rare opportunity for students to explore these topics together.

The City Club of Cleveland Youth Forum Council truly enhances the regular school’s civics curriculum to a “classroom without walls”. If this program interests you or a high schooler you know, please apply today by clicking here!

For more information on the Youth Forum Council, please check out our Facebook page or Twitter. To read more about our past forums, check out our student-written blogs. For any questions about upcoming Youth Forums, please contact us at or call (216) 621-0082.

Youth Forum programs are sponsored by:
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Free Speech Essay Contest

Every year The Hope and Stanley Adelstein Free Speech Essay Contest (now in its fourth year) challenges high school students to examine the role of free speech in the 21st century, 

All high school students in Northeastern Ohio are eligible to apply for scholarship prizes. Essays should pull from personal experience, current events, history, politics, art, anything really so long as they are backed up with evidence. Essays will be judged on their clarity, content, originality, and significance.

This year's topic will be posted in the fall. Applications are accepted from January-March, check out last year's topic to start preparing for this year.