On Thursday, March 14, 2013 Boys and Girls High School and Brooklyn Collegiate High School debated on the topic of “Health Care—A Right or A Privilege”.
Bernard Gassaway, Principal of Boys and Girls High School, opened the debate by welcoming students. Ms. Joan Eastmond, Community Liaison of Velmanette Montgomery’s Office, New York State Senator of the 18th District, congratulated both Brooklyn Collegiate High School and Boys and Girls High School and wished them well.
Ms. Cami Whittingham, Assistant Principal of the Barack Obama Leadership Academy, introduced Mr. Samba Diallo, owner of Jarama Barber Shop, one of the Solomon Project Barbershops, located on Fulton Street and Franklin Avenue who sponsors the haircuts for the young men debating. Mr. Diallo stated, “The community stands behind the Solomon Project because the students at Boys and Girls High School have brought honor to our community.” Ms. Whittingham also introduced Michael White, Founder of the Solomon Project who chaired the debate.
Mr. White introduced the judges for the debate, Boys and Girls High School’s Judge Advocate Reverend Conrad B. Tillard, Sr., Minister of Nazarene Congregational United Church of Christ in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York and Brooklyn Collegiate High School’s Judge Advocate Mr. Davis. Professor Louise Layton of Essex County College, NJ was the neutral judge.
Boys and Girls High School was the first to address the audience. Christopher Bough (BGHS Junior) stated the 2-minute and 30-second “Definition” of Boys and Girls High School’s argument. It was clear that the affirmative argument was for “top health care” to be made available for all human beings and against “top health care” only for the privileged.
Brooklyn Collegiate opened by attacking with “The Expense of Health Care”. Their argument made points that health care is so expensive that everyone does not have a right to the same level. Some people can afford to pay more or pay less and because it requires payment, it is not a right.
Kerry Benoitt (BGHS Junior) added a second opening of four minutes by stating facts of the over-100-year struggle with establishing the health care system. He kept an analogy of the theme of a baseball game and the two teams were basic rights and privileged.
Christine Johnson Alexander (BGHS Junior) started the rebuttals off with “Social Ills” which expressed how privileged health care used social ills of racism, discrimination, separatism and promote inequality with health care.
Knaqui Germain (BGHS Senior) was explosive with the second rebuttal “International Perspective” that connects international statistics of the United States Health Care System ranking and contrasting against health care expenditures.
Shortly after Brooklyn Collegiate’s response, Christopher Bough dropped the “National Perspective” and correlated President Obama’s State of the Union Address with “top health care” being available for citizens of the United States. Boys and Girls used five minutes. Brooklyn Collegiate returned after each BGHS rebuttal with very strong attacks on basic rights. Brooklyn Collegiate continued their attack on privileges.
After the strong “rebuttal” segment period there was a dismissal for certain students and the EnViDe Tech dancers took stage for an explosive halftime show. Students of Ms. Helena McCalla’s Dance Class showcased a hip-hop choreographed routine to “Poison” by Bell-Biv-Defoe which matched Boys and Girls High School’s argument perfectly.
Returning from intermission both teams took stage for the “Question and Answer” segment. Kerry Benoitt answered all questions that Brooklyn Collegiate’s Judge Advocate Mr. Davis asked. Afterwards, Reverend Conrad Tillard, Boys and Girls High School’s Judge Advocate asked the Brooklyn Collegiate team questions.
After the “Question and Answer” segment the “Closing” segment began with Christine Johnson Alexander leading off with the first three closings. Her first closing was “Heritage”, and her second closing was “Future vs. Past”. Brooklyn Collegiate rested after their first two three-minute closings.
Boys and Girls continued with a barrage of strong closings, with Christine Johnson Alexander’s third closing “The Survey”, which explained the outcomes of the local survey they conducted on health care.
Knaqui Germain followed with the fourth closing on the topic of Magic Johnson and his story of being privileged and surviving HIV. Christopher Bough’s closing number five was “Solomon’s Grandfather”, and he went into character taking on Representative Paul Ryan and saying to him what he thought about his budget proposal to block the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act.
Miss Maris Cooper (BGHS Senior) continued the barrage of closings with the sixth “System of Control,” the seventh “The Ironic Tragedy of Dr. Charles Drew,” and the eighth the “Local Perspective”, addressing the recent health care topic of NYC—Mayor Bloomberg’s attack of large sugary drinks. Miss Cooper called for the mayor to use his power to improve the indexes of response time and quality in the 161 public hospitals. Finally, Kerry Benoitt concluded and recapped the argument in 30 seconds.
The final scores were Brooklyn Collegiate High School with a score of 68 out of 75 and Boys and Girls High School with a score of 72 out of 75 points for the victory. Principal Gassaway stated, “Both schools were exemplary. The students were well-prepared and presented convincing arguments. I was proud of all of the student debaters and their coaches”.
Boys and Girls High School’s Debate Class will begin the next topic in the “Solomon’s Race to The Top Series”. In addition, the debate team will be preparing to debate Cicely Tyson High School of Performing Arts, East Orange, NJ—who were the opposing team from the Presidential Series Final and Christ the King, Newark, NJ, who are currently undefeated. All teams will meet in the tournament “Urban Meets Suburban”, which will be held late April at The South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) and compete against schools in suburban leagues.
Please join us for upcoming home debates at Boys and Girls High School. When adults support young people that are making positive choices, engaged in activities that promote consciousness, positive school culture, academic excellence and increase community connectivity it reinforces the message that they are participating in the correct activity and on the correct path. The debate was sponsored by the Yanks Group with Michael White, founder of Solomon’s Adventures, and organized by Ms. Cami Whittingham, Assistant Principal of The Barack Obama Leadership Academy of Boys and Girls High School; Ms. A. Best-Adams, Academy Director; and Miss Katrina Brown with the support of the entire school.