Written by Payton Burdette

Debate class was added this year and taught by Alan Shaeffer. The students developed a lot of skills related to debating such as forming arguments, avoiding logical fallacies, and planning counter arguments. On the final day of ESM week, a debate was held in front of the school. There were three debates that covered three different topics. Mariah Grigsby and Rachel Combs debated Austin Alvarez and Gladys Jacob over the topic of the death penalty. Diego Sanchez and Avery Jackson debated illegal immigration against Joanna Arthur and Gabby Hager. Aden Wilgus debated Nordic Socialism with Payton Burdette. While the crowd watched the debate, there were three judges that determined who won. Austin Alvarez and Gladys Jacob won the first debate. Joanna Arthur and Gabby Hager won the second debate, and Payton Burdette won the third debate.

When asked about his thoughts on how the class went, Mr. Alan Shaeffer said, “Overall, I was thrilled with the outcome of this course and have a strong desire to teach it again. I think it is so important to not only learn how to counter someone else’s arguments over a given topic, but also to remain calm when doing so. We currently live in a cancel culture which tries to erase, throw out, or silence any statement that disagrees with those in positions of power. Social media is full of examples of people who get angry and frustrated when their ideas our contradicted and they lash out by alienating others and themselves or making derogatory remarks. This is not how we are to handle disagreements. I think “debate” prepares students to handle this in a controlled, Godly, and rational way. It was my privilege to instruct during this course and I look forward to doing it again!”

Hopefully debate class will make a return next year!

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