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Morality lessons lead to hot debates in Mr. O’Leary’s classroom


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Archbishop Ryan juniors recently debated controversial topics in Mr. O’Leary’s theology classes in an annual activity stemming from morality instruction.

“I do this activity in order to educate, not only my students, but myself as well,” Mr. O’Leary commented.

These “all star debates,” which were done after a series of other smaller debates, focused on topics such as flag burning, white privilege, and the need for school uniforms. The “all stars,” who were chosen based on their performance in previous debates, were Nicholas Dauber, Jason Keen, Christian Kustra, Newosi Neba, Brendan Scanlon, and Joseph Whitcomb. Each of the debate topics were chosen by the students themselves, and were based on what they felt most strongly about.

They were three-on-three debates, where each participating team had to prepare two opening speeches and a closing speech. Next, the actual debate would begin among the teams themselves, and then, after a couple of minutes, the entire class would get to interject opinions.

Many students in Mr. O’Leary’s classes have expressed how entertaining, yet educational, it is to watch six different people find ways to get their opinions across.

“When it gets to a point where one team is giving out straight facts and the other team just stands, it’s kind of funny to see what happens next,” said junior Rebecca Mensch.

At the end of the live action debating, the audience had to complete an assignment, that indicated who they think won the debate, and what their positions are on the topic.

Even though some of these sensitive topics can ignite serious arguments, each team manages not to turn it into a screaming match and they express their opinions respectfully.

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Morality lessons lead to hot debates in Mr. O’Leary’s classroom