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Boston Kids to Play Key Role in Debate

08/09/2012
Boston Herald
By Joe Battenfeld

Hundreds of Boston Public School students will have a chance to experience a potentially history-making U.S. Senate race debate sponsored by the University of Massachusetts at Lowell and the Boston Herald.

The students, members of the nationally known Boston Debate League, will be participating in events leading up to the Oct. 1 televised showdown between U.S. Sen. Scott Brown and Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren, including a mock debate that will be shown online at bostonherald.com

The students will also attend the hour-long UMass-Lowell/Herald debate at the Tsongas Center in Lowell, which will be moderated by David Gregory of NBC’s “Meet the Press” and broadcast on WHDH-TV 7News and other media outlets. The debate will be streamed live on bostonherald.com with a feed provided to other local TV stations, national networks, radio stations and websites.

“We are so very proud of our award-winning student debaters and we know they are excited to see the democratic process in action,” said Boston Public Schools Superintendent Carol R. Johnson. “We obviously hope our students learn a debate skill or two from this experience, but I have to say, our debaters are quite good — nationally ranked, in fact. If the candidates are wise, they might ask these students for a few debate tips.”

Herald president and publisher Patrick J. Purcell said, “We are thrilled to provide this unique learning opportunity to Boston Public School students. This election is so important to the future of our state — and that future belongs to our young people.”

The Boston Debate League has grown to include more than 600 high school and middle school students in 17 different Boston public schools. It is the largest student debate group in the country, and four of the students recently competed in a national debate contest. The league is dedicated to improving the education skills of disadvantaged urban youths in Boston.

“Our debaters cannot wait to participate in these upcoming political debates, and I am sure most of them will walk away understanding that they too can be the next Scott Brown or Elizabeth Warren,” said Boston Debate League executive director Steve Stein. “In fact, the winner of this debate better watch out — in 10 to 20 years, they might just have to face one of our BPS student debaters.”