Students from Sampson Academy and Farmington debate at Eastern Michigan University for the first time through a program to build self-esteem

Students have been preparing for 5 weeks for big debates on Animal Testing and whether or not peanut butter should be allowed in public schools. 

The big moment is here! Students from Detroit Public Schools’ Sampson Academy and Dunckel and East Middle Schools in Farmington have been preparing for the past 5 weeks for their big final debate on Saturday, December 17 in the Eastern Michigan University Student Center, as part of the STARS Middle School Debate Program in Farmington, a program designed to build self confidence and increase learning outcomes among middle- and low-income students.

The topics are Animal Testing and whether or not peanut butter should be allowed in public schools. 46 students will compete.

Where and When:

Saturday, December 17

10 a.m.- 7:30 p.m. (Sampson Academy arrives at 2 p.m.)

Eastern Michigan University
900 Oakwood Street, Ypsilanti, MI, USA 48197
Event will take place in the Student Center/Room 330

The final debate will be judged by volunteer judges with political or legal backgrounds.

Harvey Santana, 10th House District State Representative, will judge Saturday’s debate. Shelley Foy, who works in the Wayne County Prosecutors Office, will assist.

About the Stars Middle School Debate Program

The Stars Middle School Debate Program grew out of a class project of Autumn Harris, a student at Eastern Michigan University, who is majoring in Social Work. The purpose of the project was to examine the effects of educational programs on student self confidence and esteem. Harries sought to create a program to build the confidence of the participants and improve learning. Parents have since said that the debate program also has helped to improve behaviors and social interactions of their children.

Harris’ idea was coupled with a middle school debate program spearheaded by a parent-run group in Farmington, Together For Accelerated Learners (TAL). Dorothy Robinson, a Literacy Coach at Sampson Academy in Detroit, later said she heard about the program in Farmington and thought it would be a great opportunity for her students.

The first 5 week program was developed for students new to debating. The Detroit and Farmington students are the first set of students to go through the 5-week program. Due to the success, a 12-week program has been added and will start in March 2012. Another 5-week program will be offered in March for students who are new to debating.


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