The purpose of the scholarships is to allow students to go to debate camp who may not otherwise be able to attend. These students, in turn, bring back their knowledge to Wellington to teach others about their events. In this way the scholarships benefit not just the individuals who received them, but the team as a whole.
Richard L. Cordis Jr. was an outstanding debate student at Wellington High School. He displayed a quick wit and a great intellect. Rich specialized in Lincoln Douglas debate and was an outstanding competitor. He was one of the first volunteers in the Palm Beach County Youth Court Program and was the first Youth Court Challenge winner.
After high school he enrolled at the University of Florida and planned to attend law school. Even in college he continued to serve his high school team by judging at the Florida Blue Key Debate Tournament. Rich Cordis's life was tragically cut short when he and his girlfriend were killed in a non-alcohol related accident in Gainesville.
The Cordis family recognized Rich's love of debate and even in their grief thought of others. They founded the Richard L. Cordis Jr. Memorial Debate Scholarships to help promote Rich's love of debate. Since 1999, their generosity has enabled Wellington Debate and Forensic Team students to attend debate camps and bring knowledge back to Wellington High School.
One scholarship is reserved for a novice student; applications are open to all debate students who will be returning to Wellington High School the following year. A student may not win the scholarship more than once.
Selections are based on perceived financial need, willingness to teach others what is learned, a true desire to improve debate skills, and potential for development through the debate experience. A student need not have had great debate success in order to be chosen, but should express a great desire to improve. The selection committee includes Coach Paul Gaba, Assistant Coach Eilleen Dempsey, Coach Emeritus Dale McCall and Liz Cordis. The final selections will be made by Mrs. Cordis with input from the rest of the committee.