Cultural Comeback: The Chinese Club Begins a New Year


John Calame

Dubs in Debate: Distinguished history teacher and Speech and Debate coach Mike Robinson poses proudly with well-earned team awards.

Many moons ago, when the debate team was merely an idea, and history class was simply a chore, North Atlanta needed a spark to ignite the fire behind students’ minds. They needed a teacher that loved his job and was proficient at it too, and lo and behold, Mike Robinson entered the scene. With Atlanta roots and extensive academic background, Mr. Robinson is a passionate teacher and coach that any school would be glad to have as a staff member.

Robinson’s interest in debate sparked back in his nostalgic high school days when he was a student at Grady -now Midtown- High School. Robinson racked up championship titles -seemingly with ease- as the captain of one of the most successful debate teams in the state. While he hadn’t yet decided that teaching was his passion, Robinson certainly knew his strengths and played to them, dominating debate tournaments in his youth. “I was a state champion my junior year and the president of my team in my senior year,” he said. “It was my passion, and I pursued it diligently because I loved the invaluable skills and memories it gave me.”

An Atlantan, he opted not to stray too far from home and elected to attend his studies at Georgia State University. Still not knowing exactly what he wanted to do as an undergrad, he graduated and elected to work at a bookstore – a job he would maintain for the next decade. During this, however, he wasn’t simply sitting idly but rather obtaining his master’s degree in history education. With a background in debate, Robinson knew he had a knack for making powerful arguments, so why not use his talent to inspire the next generation of students? “Teaching was an attractive profession to me,” he said. “The opportunity to positively influence future inquirers drew me to a career in education.” 

Once he found his way to North Atlanta, Robinson wanted to return to the debate roots he had pursued as a teenager. Motivated by the urge to beat his alma mater, Grady, and instill a love of debate in curious students, Robinson poured a lot of himself into the role of coach. Fast forward three years and the debate team is enrolling a record number of students in advanced-level debate and speech competitions. “Last year, we were able to compete at the state level and win multiple speaker awards,” he said. “It is priceless to work with students who care deeply about debate and its impacts on their lives.”

Whether it be coaching or teaching, Robinson has spent his past three years sharing his knowledge with deeply motivated dubs. Robinson is a wonderful teacher to have at North Atlanta High School. It may only be his third year, but if students had a say in the matter, he’s sure to be here for a while.