This past Wednesday night, many weeks of research, developing arguments, and practicing them paid off for the 100 high school students who competed in the Jewish Federation Annual High School Debates. The experience is such a positive one that many students take part each year of their high school career, and some even come back to judge or to time-keep after graduation.
The debates are designed to give students the opportunity to delve into challenging topics of current relevance to Israel and our community. Here are this year’s topics:
At the same time, students develop critical thinking, research and presentation skills that will serve them well in the future, whatever areas of study or work they ultimately pursue. Their preparation for the debates includes developing a logical sequence for their arguments, providing sufficient supporting evidence for each assertion, and demonstrating their level of advance preparation by effectively countering the points of view presented by their opponents.
Teachers play an important role coaching the student debaters, and one teacher – Eleanor Braude – has been coaching teams for the past 15 years, devoting countless volunteer hours to her students. She has helped them learn how to rebut arguments and respond to cross-examination, but more importantly she has inspired students to develop their self-confidence and to direct their love of Israel into critical thought about the various facets of very real issues facing the country, its citizens and its leadership. This is the last debate for which Mrs. Braude will coach teams, as she is set to retire at the end of this school year. We wish her all the best, and we will try our hardest to tempt her back next year as a judge.
Kol hakavod to all the debaters who participated. Here is a list of the winning teams:
KDHS – Adam Clark, Josh Bugis, Saul Kalvari, Ethan Kenney
KDHS – Yair Rosenthal, Itamar Sitbon, Benjamin Munt, Elan Geelmuyden
KDHS – Yuval Daniel, Justine Balin, Michelle Nifco
KDHS – Lis Grinfeld, Aimee Lutrin, Leeor Burton, Leora Schertzer
Shalhevet – Ora Pacht, Manya Dubrawsky, Aliza Meltzer, Devorah Davidowitz
Shalhevet – Shoshana Acoca, Naomi Mattuck, Maya Belson, Michal Abramchik
KDHS – Shmuel Hart, Mikey Neiman, Shane Rozen
KDHS – Max Chark, Shain Kahn, Isaac Pekeles, Noahm Rosen
PTI – Moshe Baitelman, Akiva Unger, Gavriel Prizont
PTI – Josh Blicker, Eli Moldofsky, Aaron Casplaros, Shlomo Kalchman
KDHS – Sam Khalifa, Bram Samuels, Adam Sanders, Alex Ferera
KDHS – Ben Katz, Aliza Hirsh, Vivian Grinfeld, Anna Baron