Debate Partners With STEM Academy


Photo by Seth Miller

Michael Castranovo, 10, prepares for an upcoming competition after school in the debate room.

Jack Lewellyn, Staff Writer

After one year of the Jerry Knight STEM Academy’s after-school debate classes, seventh grader Lillian Osborne took it one step further. She wanted more opportunities for her class, so she partnered with the Legacy debate team. Osborne agreed to the STEM Academy participating in small branches of upcoming tournaments.

“We did the best we could during the club’s first year,” Osborne said, “but we wanted to take it to the next level.”

Lilian contacted Legacy Debate Coach Howard Ritz who accepted the partnership and gave STEM Academy students resources and lessons. The Legacy Debate Team also allowed the STEM Academy students to participate in the Angel Tournament on Sept. 15.

“While some are uncomfortable, every student is still willing to tackle the challenges put forth,” Mr. Ritz said.

The students of the Jerry Knight STEM Academy’s debate program further their knowledge and communication skills by creating practice cases. One of their cases went over the pros and cons of safety and demonstrated their ability to obtain data on their own. The students meet weekly to discuss both their after school cases and tournaments throughout the year.

“It’s like learning how to ride a bicycle,” Mr. Ritz said. “You have to do it yourself and get those training wheels off as soon as possible.”