By David Russell
Take note, Sawgrass Springs Middle School students are sparking the debate scene on fire.
While debate programs are active at most schools, under teacher Linda Pierre, Sawgrass Springs’ has grown from only 12 students to over 100 in the past few years.
On January 10, the school participated in their 3rd Annual Big Questions Debate Tournament, attracting Mayor Scott Brook and Commissioner Nancy Metayer who shared the benefits of being in a speech and debate program.
Being on the speech and debate team has helped sixth-grade student Leyla Kutay write speeches “I am so grateful for this experience.”
This latest debate revolved around whether societies benefit from religious beliefs and practices. A topic complex for anyone, these students analyze the effects of religion, weighing the positives and negatives and eventually coming to a general conclusion.
Implemented in 2012, the Broward County Public Schools Debate Initiative has exploded in popularity, drawing approximately 15,000 students in speech and debate competitions, making the district the largest debate program in the country.
While enrolled, students learn to stay poised under scrutiny, practice composure under fire, and present their ideas in an organized, concise manner consistent with the expectations of college professors and employers from all over the world. These skills are acquired in a supportive environment conducive to high academic achievement and recognition of personal potential.
Future debates can be seen at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Thursday, February 24, Tuesday, March 8, Wednesday, April 13, and a to-be-determined date for the championships.
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- A Coral Springs native, Florida State University graduate, and eternal optimist, David strives to find the local hidden gems in South Florida. He has a strong interest in technology, finance, and comedy.
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