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Mrs. Vaden's Great Debate of 2018
Mrs. Vaden's Great Debate of 2018
David Dodge
Thursday, April 19, 2018

Thursday, March 29, was debate night at the Beebe Middle School Media Center. Team members from each side gathered around their tables for last minute addendums to their opening and closing arguments.


The fifth grade students had been Reading History as their Informational Reading curriculum, and writing Informational essays in Writing. In the final Writing of the unit, students researched the two sides of the Colonists in the American Revolution, the Loyalists and the Patriots. Students used print media which consisted of books from the Media Center,  and books purchased through the Daughters of the American Revolution Helen Pouch Memorial Scholarship to research for their Opinion Essays.


To become eligible to participate in the debate, students submitted one final writing, two short news articles of the time period, supporting both sides of the debate.

Debate teams utilized Enrichment time during the school day to prepare for the debate. As teams, they chose which essays would be presented as their opening and closing arguments. A list of possible questions was the study material for four days of practice. The Loyalist Debate team consisted of Cohen Barnes, Hannah Beaher, Brody Benton, Ben Gorham, Terry Owen, Lexi Pepiot, and Charlie Smith. The Patriot team members were Jossalyn Benton, Jake Bivens, Mackenzie Brundage, Allison Burgess, Jadelynn Carter, Shaun Huntsman, and Destiny Parrett. 

On Thursday, teams were judged by a two-person panel. Ms. Lindsay Sanders, and Mr. Jim Wooten. Ms. Sanders is AP certified in Government and U.S.  History and teaches at Beebe High School. She is the Key Club Sponsor, and also leads students abroad as the Educational Tour Leader through EF Tours.  State Representative  Jim Wooten is also the Beebe Badger Football Coach, a Board Member of Economics Arkansas, and is Chairman of the Beebe Public School Education Foundation.   Panelists asked questions on three topics, and concluded with a follow up question. Teams rendered closing statements, and retired for refreshments provided by Principal , Brandy Dillin, as panelists deliberated the debate overall winner.

Addressing the teams, Ms. Sanders applauded the scholars for their willingness to participate in the debate and their ability to speak in front of adults. “That is something that a lot of adults have trouble doing!”  She also encouraged the students, adding, “Never stop learning!”

Mr. Wooten informed the students, “This is my first appearance as State Representative”. He was very complimentary, stating, “You can take this with you into High School.  You can be proud of what you have done here this evening.”

Each participant was awarded a Certificate of Participation. As a part of the Beebe Middle School Community Involvement, parents were an integral part of the evening, showing support and enthusiasm for their student participants.  Several students showed interest in a similar debate next year.