Big Walnut High School teachers Stacey O’Reilly, Kristin Kovak and Angie Stooksbury and their freshman English students held the high school’s sixth annual freshman debate in the auditorium on Feb. 18.
Stooksbury said the debate topic changes from year to year. This year’s topic was: Should contact sports be removed from school athletic programs?
The affirmative team — supporting the removal of contact sports from high school athletic programs — won the debate.
“Members of the entire freshman class work in their individual classrooms on debating,” Stooksbury said. “There’s a tryout after school and the top debaters are chosen. The 10 students who make up the two teams, for and against, work outside the school day to prepare for the big debate.”
The affirmative debaters were John Elliott, Stephanie Smith, Anna Cryan, Merrick Kasper and Autumn Leidtke. Members of the opposition debate team were Samantha Pascal, Kylie Paykoff, Emily Thompson, Daisy Rooney and Marybeth Brown.
This years judges were high school athletic director Brian Shelton, clerical assistant Michelle McDermott, assistant principal Kelly Bloomer, and student judges Kaitlyn Morrison, Logan Nelson and Jacob Bowens.
“We want topics that are current, hot button issues that engage the students, and a debate format provides a really good opportunity to look at issues students are concerned about,” Stooksbury said. “The debate unit is an essential part of the freshman curriculum. We want to empower our students with the confidence and ability to tackle a problem and be able to research, evaluate and come up with solutions.”
Each debate team — for and against contact sports in high school athletic programs — had three-minute presentations, refutations and opportunities to modify their remarks and respond to the other side of the issue before closing remarks.
Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093.