South Orangetown Central School District

Debate-Casting members attend YMCA Youth and Government Conference

South Orangetown Middle School Debate-Casting Club delegates presented a bill they drafted at the New York State YMCA Youth and Government Conference in Albany, November 19-21.

Debate-Casting Club President Arabella O., Vice-President Roxy K. and Treasurer Valentina R. sponsored a bill aimed to ensure all NYS schools have kosher, vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, halal and dairy-free options to give students with dietary restrictions the opportunity to have school-provided lunch. After presenting their bill, it passed and eighth grader Arabella won the award for Outstanding Delegate Award. “It was definitely a learning curve but it was such a great experience. Everyone was so grateful to be there and the energy was insane. I feel like participating in this conference makes you really grow up because you’re meeting new people with different perspectives and it’s interesting to be with people with common interests,” explained Arabella. Roxy noted, “It was such a fun experience! It has already helped me in school by helping me share my voice and not be afraid to speak up in classes.”

Advised by SOMS Library Media Specialist Kim Landgraff, the SOMS Debate Club was reimagined this school year and it now title the Debate-Casting Club and the debates will now be podcasted by members. “For the first time, this year, our style of debate has changed and now mirrors what students need to know to submit a bill and how to debate when they go up to Albany in November. This will allow them to become familiar with the format of bills and how the procedure works when they debate in the State House. The trip to Albany allows students to share their voice. They sponsor and present their own bill, which then is debated by hundreds of students from across the state. SOMS students also get to share their voice when they listen to other students’ present bills and then they can participate in debate. I hope SOMS students hear some interesting bills written by their peers from around New York and were able to make new friends, even if con statements were shared or bills were defeated. In the end, civil discourse wins,” said Landgraff.