Speech and Debate Camp: Middle schoolers tackle a presidential election using their new and improved debate skills

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Speech and Debate Camp: Middle schoolers tackle a presidential election using their new and improved debate skills

Speech and Debate campers playing a game with their counselors. Natalie Wallis/Vitruvian Post

Speech and Debate campers playing a game with their counselors. Natalie Wallis/Vitruvian Post

Speech and Debate campers playing a game with their counselors. Natalie Wallis/Vitruvian Post

Speech and Debate campers playing a game with their counselors. Natalie Wallis/Vitruvian Post

Natalie and Lauren

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This past week, 19 middle schoolers tackled some of the world’s most prevalent problems. In just 5 days they researched and came up with solutions for problems that America has been facing for decades, such as gun control and inequality in the workplace.

This type of critical thinking is part of a week-long Speech and Debate camp hosted by students from DaVinci Science High School (DVS). The focus of the camp was to simulate a presidential election, to teach the campers speech and debate skills through a relevant national decision, with the forthcoming 2020 election.

The campers were divided into four parties-the Mexico Party, the Black Bean Party, the Banana party and the Breakfast party. Each member was assigned a different role.

“We mainly chose ourselves because [for party positions] of what our strengths were,” President of the Mexico Party, Adam, said.

The four different parties had astonishingly diverse ideas and solutions to global problems. The Mexico party (President: Adam) created a solution to solve inequality in the workplace: certain people not getting paid fairly because of their race or gender. Their solution is an automated system that could be used by any company that would oversee every employee’s contract and assures that they get the right salary for what their job was. This would prevent the managers from being able to lower or raise a worker’s wages because of their race or gender.

The Black Bean party, represented by President Lilli, focused mainly on gun control, to reduce the shootings of people and animals.

“We would go through more thorough background checking for those getting guns because that will limit the number of people that have them and it will stop shootings as much,” said Jacob, the Campaign Manager of the Black Bean Party.

The Banana party represented by President Jet concentrated on preventing animal abuse.

“We think that we would use the presidential position to make sure that we are treating people, if they harm animals, as though they harmed a human,” Bri, the Media Manager for the Banana party, said.

The Breakfast party represented by President Mario directed their attention to motorcycle safety and virtual reality classrooms.

“One of his [Mario’s] campaign ideas is to make a motorcycle lane to stop motorcycle crashes and his other one is to have classes in virtual reality so you don’t have to go to school, which would just be easier,” said Henry, the Media Manager of the Breakfast party. This expresses the quintessential desire of the online generation to have everything on a device.

This camp teaches youths the fundamentals of speech and debate.

“What I think is really special about this camp is just that it teaches like a lot of real-world skills that you actually need,” said Valeria Castellanos, a counselor for the camp. Skills such as confidence can be seen greatly improving over just five days.

“There are three campers who when they first came to the camp they were really kept-to-themselves and they didn’t really speak to anybody but as they got comfortable with everyone they learned how to talk to other people and work with them as well.”

In just five short days, these campers all grew tremendously while learning about important political factors in the world while also making new friends. While only in middle school they’ve been introduced to and have come up with solutions to real-world problems. All in all, it’s never too early to get youths invested in the real world, and if you’re looking for a place to start, DaVinci’s Speech and Debate camp is the perfect fit for you.

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