The debate is over - and Utica Academy for International Studies students have captured the top spots at a state forensics tournament and four other honors.
Junior Alec Franks placed first and junior Danny Haidar place second at the varsity level at the January 12 debate championship in Albion, sponsored by the Michigan Interscholastic Forensics Association.
Other UAIS Legislative Debate Team members earning honors include Omar Affify for third place, Alyssa Sanderson for seventh place, Jasmine Coles for eighth place, and Sara Braqi as a finalist at the novice level. Junior Katy Surhigh placed eighth at the Varsity Level.
The team was coached by UAIS teacher Christopher Kuhlman.
This is the second straight years UAIS students have captured the top spot.
"I like what the sport does to me as a person," first-place finisher Franks said. "It forces discipline and an understanding of the workings of the world."
Added Haider: "It allows me to solve problems by myself. It helps me to be as persuasive as I can and to consider things as completely as possible."
Each student had to compete in the preliminary rounds and make it to a "supersession" to compete for the final placements. Students debate bills authored by other students with evidence and reason while following strict parliamentary procedure.
In total, the students debated 12 proposed legislative bills. Examples of topics considered were whether voting should be required of every citizen and a proposal to change the filibuster process in the U.S. Senate.
In addition to the state championship, UAIS students compete and earn honors at other tournaments throughout Michigan. The team participated in a national tournament at Harvard last year.