By the time it was over, about a dozen Richmond Hill High School students had spent an hour debating four of the country’s most pressing social and economic issues in front of a standing-room-only crowd at the school’s east cafeteria.
Along the way, the school’s Young Democrats and Young Republicans might have showed some adults a thing or two about civil political discourse. That didn’t go unnoticed.
“Next Saturday, (the Young Republicans) are going to a U.S. Senate candidate’s debate,” said Young Republicans sponsor Russ
Carpenter, who teaches government at RHHS. “I’m interested to see if that debate has the same level of civil dialogue that the high school students exemplified.”
That’s not to say the kids didn’t care about the issues.
Carpenter’s counterpart with the Young Democrats, French teacher Mark Linsky, said both sides were in “full form.”
“I was impressed by their knowledge of debate topics and their passion when they shared their opinions on controversial issues.”
The event, sponsored, organized and produced by the students, began with social studies teacher and moderator Sharon Worsham smiling out at the large number of students in the audience.
“And they say high school students aren’t interested in politics,” she told the audience, noting the debate was aimed at proving “a debate on politics can not only be interesting, but it can be fun and it can be civil as well.”
And with that, each side had an opportunity to argue for and against positions on four topics — the Affordable Care Act, Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, immigration and national firearm legislation.
Those who spoke were Young Democrats Faiz Saulat, Mosha Patel, Bridget Gomper, Justin Rave, Tatiana Baker and Chris Hildreth.
Young Republicans taking part in the debate were Katie Hillery, Hunter Fischer, Liz Wallace, Andrew Martinez, Blaine Chapman, Jacob Mabrey, Kenneth Luke, Anika Stadther, Ashlyn Fesperman and Max Makhinson.
Read more in the March 22 edition of the News.