Vt. students debate at the Statehouse - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. students debate at the Statehouse

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Organized arguing was encouraged at the Statehouse Monday for the Vermont Public Forum Debate State Tournament.

The topic at hand -- would single gender classrooms improve the quality of education. And for the best 24 debate teams from around Vermont, it's the only topic they have thought about for weeks.

"There's a crazy amount of research. We met outside of school, we met in school, we have pages and pages of facts and then where they're from, and then we come up with three contentions that support our cases both pro and con cause you don't know what you're gonna get," said Cordelia Bell from Bellows Free Academy.

"I will say I did not have much free time this weekend," said Alec Collins from CVU. "It's exhilarating to be in the committee rooms, during the finals -- which are in the full chambers. It's kind of a really cool illustration of the applications from our experience with debate today, what we might be able to do with it in the future."

For Collins, the future looks bright. He and his teammate, Abby Keim, were among the top four teams at the tournament -- keeping their cool even when things got a little heated. But James Dixon, President of the Vermont Debate League, says this is encouraged. "We want them to learn diplomacy and respect, but we also want them to kind of clash a little bit," Dixon said.

It's a clash of future leaders, educators -- and maybe even Presidents.

"Debate is fun... really really fun," said Veronica Farr from Bellows Free Academy.

The top four teams from Monday will go to a national tournament in Chicago. We wish them the best of luck.

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