National Honor Society (NHS) is an organization which seeks to cultivate leadership skills within the youth of the community. The NHS program at CCHS, sponsored by teacher Dwayne Dixon, has always sought to do the same. This past week on January 16 and 17, NHS hosted its annual mock debate, presenting a “world leaders conference at the UN” for the student body.
Nine leaders stood at nine podiums across the stage, each representing a nation of importance in regards to current world issues. The United States was represented by senior Bruce Glasserman, Israel was represented by senior Zachary Perrotta and Palestine was represented by junior Philip Brinn. North Korea was represented by junior David Lee, France was represented by senior Emma Sheridan, and Russia was represented by senior John Lystad. Great Britain was represented by senior and NHS president, Tamarah Wallace, China was represented by juniors Sarah Seng and Alex Katsotios and Syria was represented by junior Frank Insigna.
Each of these nations were significant to the greater debate based on the affairs discussed which included, but were not limited to the following: the North Korean missile crisis, the Syrian Refugee Crisis, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, climate change and alleged collusion between Trump and Russia.
NHS has 137 students within its membership that were informed of this debate, and each of them were given the opportunity to participate by either trying out to portray one of the world leaders or taking part in some other aspect of the event, such as moderating or decorating.
“Those kids self select,” club sponsor Dwayne Dixon said. “The way the process works is that, it’s an NHS project…we explain to them who the countries are and ask kids to self select and if you feel like you’re knowledgeable you can audition for that particular part.”
Most students knew whether or not they were informed based on their knowledge of current events. However, the club was also willing to “coach kids up” granted they were capable of presenting the case of that particular nation, but they didn’t have all of the knowledge required.
“The genius behind this whole debate was our president, Tamarah Wallace,” Dixon said. “We’ve been preparing for two weeks, maybe three and really the reason why we’re able to pull this off in such a short time frame is because the students were so knowledgeable about current events.”
Wallace quickly discussed her action plan for the event which involved a lot of student involvement. Lee chaired the event and Administrative Vice President Sabrine Brismeur helped with scheduling and moderating as well. Prior to the event there were five meetings in total to prepare.
“The goal here is to inform the student body of the world around them, as it is imperative for growth as not only an American citizen but a citizen of the universe,” Wallace said.
The debate itself was witnessed by the majority of the student body in the auditorium in their first, second, fourth, fifth, sixth and eighth hour classes. Though students laughed at the semi-comedic interpretations of the world leaders, they were still able to learn from the process.
Before each topic was discussed, a brief overview was provided and each of the world leaders had to conduct extensive research in order to participate. Of course, these representatives have their own views of these topics despite their portrayal of any given leader.
“Well, as a liberal, I will concede that I personally hold President Trump in low regard,” Glasserman, who portrayed Trump at the debate, said. “But as a debater, I definitely enjoyed being able to accurately depict the President’s stances so that the students can hopefully hear what our government, and its leaders, bring to the table regarding policy on the world stage.”
Photo courtesy of Felipe Lopez of the National Honor Society