Hundreds of students from across Michigan attended
the Mackinac Center’s 2011 High School Debate Workshops to learn more about
this year’s national debate topic, “Resolved: The United States federal
government should substantially increase its exploration and/or development of
space beyond the Earth’s mesosphere.”
More than 12,000 debate students, coaches and teachers
have attended the Center’s workshops over the past 23 years, receiving valuable research material and debate tactics from
nationally acclaimed experts. Participating this year were: Adrian High School,
Blissfield High School, Hudson Area High School, Lenawee Christian School,
Detroit Cody High School, Detroit International Academy, Davison Faith Baptist
School, Saginaw Heritage High School, Lake Fenton High School, Detroit
Renaissance High School, Romeo High School, Detroit University Prep High
School, Midland Academy, Holt High School, Kalamazoo Phoenix High School,
Rockford High School, Zion Christian School, Crossroads Charter Academy, Forest
Hills Central High School, Interlochen Academy and Petoskey High School.
“I appreciate the Center’s workshop,” said Lisa Russcher
of Zion Christian School. “Every year I love taking my students to it because
they learn so much and it helps them prepare very well for each debate that
presented was well-researched and well-presented,” said Pamela Tow-Conley,
long-time debate coach at Forest Hills Central High School, who has brought her
students to the Grand Rapids debate workshop for several years.
“This is my first year
debating, and I will use the information and techniques given to me by your
speakers,” said Jordan Hayes of Hudson High School.
You can watch a video of participating students and
teachers discussing the benefits of debate at www.mackinac.org/15891.
Speakers this year included Greg Rehmke, director of
educational programs for Economic Thinking/E Pluribus Unum Films; Mike Winther,
debate coach and president of the Institute for Principle Studies; and Harris
Kenny, a policy analyst with the Reason Foundation. Rehmke and Winther are both
members of the Mackinac Center’s Board of Scholars.
Speakers and students discussed the amount of money the
government now spends on space exploration, the government’s role in such
research, the recent increase in private space travel investment and whether or
not the moon and certain planets could or should be colonized. A portion of
each workshop was also devoted to debate tactics, such as how to craft an
argument on both sides of the issue, how to effectively cross-examine opponents
and how to efficiently research the topic.
Winther commented after the workshops that, “Most
rewarding to me is the year-to-year changes in philosophy that I have observed
in a couple of the teachers. That is a great encouragement.”
Once again, the Mackinac Center will be offering up to four
$1,000 college scholarships for students who attended the debate workshops and
submit an essay about this year’s topic.