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 Fay Walker 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 Fay Walker 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

Every year, a group of committed and engaged high school students meet to plan and produce City Club forums for other high school students.

Members of the Youth Forum Council come from a number of area high schools and they meet regularly to determine the topics and invite the speakers for as many as five forums each year. After that, they run the show, handling all logistics of each program. Our Youth Forum provides a unique opportunity for participants to develop effective communication skills by holding group discussions on current events and public affairs at Forums, develop analytical thinking abilities by debating the topic and points of view reflected by the Forum speaker, and encouraging positive community involvement by providing a direct experience with engaged dialogue—the very fiber of American democracy.

Over the years, the Youth Forum Series has covered a number of important topics ranging from affirmative action to international relations. The Forums are always timely and invigorating. Speakers have included Cleveland Mayor Jane Campbell, Greenpeace Executive Director John Passacantando, and former Special Envoy to Afghanistan Peter Tomsen.

Students interested in local and national issues, have diverse points of view, enjoy team projects, and want leadership opportunities are encouraged to join the Youth Forum Council.

For more information on upcoming Youth Forums, or to request a Youth Forum Council application, please contact Fay Walker at or (216) 621-0082. Youth Forum Council applications now being accepted and are available online here.

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.