Archive | Student Voices

Students Reflections

The 721M Cityhawks Revolutionaries, second place winners in the 2023 debate championships, shared their thoughts on the debate season. They wrote about their favorite debate questions and their goals for next year.

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Student Reflections

The 721K Knights of Reason debaters shared their thoughts on debating this year.

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Debater Comes to District Office

Debater Vladmir, from the Q752 Debate Team, made an appearance at the district office, as part of his duties as Student Council president.

He was all smiles at the podium.

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Research Before the Debate

The students of 23Q at Lifeline research and write thoughtful essays prior to their debates. Here are pro and con essays from the 2018 1st round debate, “Should students be required to wear school uniforms?”

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Student Reflections 2018

Thanks to Laura Mayer, from 721M, for these student reflections, and congratulations again on your second place win.

From Alexis:

OMG! I was so scared, I was shaking when I got up there. I felt like there was something on my face but there wasn’t. I was getting stage fright.

Continue Reading →

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177Q Supports Puerto Rico

Bridgit Hamill from 177Q sent us the following news, which we just had to share:
“Tomorrow our class (the P177Q debate team) is having a bake sale to benefit a family in Puerto Rico directly affected by Hurricane Maria.  Because we try to keep current on the news in order to study for debate, we were discussing this topic.  The kids were very sad and passionate about wanting to do something to help. ”

Thank you for the great work you are doing!

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Food for Thought

This just in from Sondra Lowe-Stuart, culinary teacher from 721M, regarding the final live debates:

“The team would like to say thank you for the opportunity to once again cater for your event. They all had their own reflective moments that I wanted to share with you.

Jayden said he was happy to cook food for you.

Gary said it was “too much work, but he liked it.”

Mehki said he liked “cooking the food, but he loved making the juice because it was his favorite kind.” Continue Reading →

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373K Student Reflections

The students of 373K had these thoughts to share about being on the 2015-2016 debate team:


My name is Joshua and I’m part of the debate team. How I feel about the debate is that it was hard and you need to compete against other schools.”


Hi my name is Tauheedah and I feel proud because we tried our best and we did a lot of work. What I like being in debate because I get to argue.”


I am part of the Brooklyn transition center debate team. My name is Nery I thought being in the debate team was awesome because of it was a good experience. I liked arguing. I liked working as a team.”


These types of things don’t come and go in life. Being a debate member is something you have to work hard to compete and be a part of. Being a part of the Transformers requires a lot of skill and talent. This type of job takes serious work, but it doesn’t stop you to not have fun. Knowing the fact that I helped the 373k debate earning their FIRST win. It something to be very proud of. Yes, We may lose pretty much all our battles. But we still learn something. We still gained better skills. Talking in front of the camera with a live audience is not easy at all. And in my opinion, the Transformers made it look easy. Winning is not everything, and it doesn’t have to be.”


I was sad for the first competition because we lost and I got really angry….”

Thank you to teachers Patricia Kwiecinski and Elizabeth Skovera for leading their Transformers team.

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Student Judges, 373K

Students from 373K served as judges for the high school championships. Here, in their own words, are what they have to say about the experience:

Judging was not easy at all.

“Judging was not easy at all. It was very hard choosing who did better. Both teams were strong and worked as a team. At the end, I scored both teams equally. It was a very tough choice. In the end, the pros won just by 2 points. Both teams had very strong statements and no weaknesses were spotted. This was a very serious debate and I’m glad I was part of it.” (William Garcia)

In my opinion, I agreed with the con side!

“I think today’s debate was very good. The topic was about private prisions [sic]. Can we have them legalized? In my opinion, I agreed with the con side! Public prisons are better because inmates can catch up on the world without them from visits, or phone calls from family members, and friends. I got some help from my fellow debaters because I don’t know which side to choose. Being a judge is hard, when you’re a little off-tracked to decide which number of points to give to the teams. But, with a little help with the others, it can be easy, like the judges who helped me decide on deciding on either pro or con on private prisons.” (Killian McMahon)

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Student Reflections, 224Q

Rosalina Lee’s students at 224Q — The Shurgan Knights — shared their thoughts on this year’s season:


Nicholas Watson: “I like being the opening statement on the debate because I like being first”.


Christa Marks: “My experience during the debate was pretty awesome. I like the teamwork and the hard work going towards the debate. This debate made my speaking and reading improve. There are also flaws that make me annoyed about the debate like my counting on my teammates, emotional things going through people minds. Also, more debate time would help, like instead of 2 minutes so 3 minutes would be helpful”.


William Pender: “I really liked this debate because the subjects are what is going on in real life”.


Antonio Lyons: “I had a good experience with the debate. I also like the topic that was giving to us was really good to discuss about. I did not like the timing to start the debates. I think that the debate should start at 9:30am instead of 10:00am”.

Thank you, debaters, for your input and honesty.

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Student Reflections, 186X

Latasha Jones’ students at 186X — The 186X Debaters — posted their thoughts on this year’s season:

Ashley Thorpe: I like being on the debate team because it gives me confidence. I like to win because that tells me that all of our hard work is paying off. I also don”t mind when we lose because that tells me that we need to work harder.


Stephanie Hargrove: If we lose its ok because maybe we will win next time. Win or lose I’m still happy with the results as long as we give it our best.


Nicole Jones: I was scared when I joined the debate team. I felt like that because I didn’t know some of the words. I’m still trying to get used to the words. Now we are going to the the championships and we will win. I hope that I will get over my fear of speaking on stage.

Thank you, debaters, for your honesty and input.

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36K Reflections….

The 36K Debaters of the Future reflected on their loss to 25R last week and shared their thoughts below:

Eric’s reflection:

My plan for the next debate is to come in strong and give good responses and if we do that, we will succeed. My regret is not coming strong like I use to do. My team has plans for the next round even if we win or lose. My thought is that we have to win to go into 3rd place and never give up. Our last debate we didn’t get to practice a lot because of state testing, also we need to practice a lot more. We did do good, but everyone has their ups and downs.

 Andre’s reflection:

My name is Andre. I was on the champion debate team last year. This year we lost the debate that would have taken us to the finals. Now that we have had almost a week to get over our loss, my thoughts are that we lost, so what, that doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. The good thing is that at least we get to have another round before the year is out. We will be debating for 3rd and it’s better than nothing as long as we are all still in the debate there is nothing to be upset about. We won many debates then lost one, so I can understand how you will be upset, but you have to think of the positives and forget about the negatives. We all need to remember that we are all in it together, everyone of us, no matter what happens, we will find a way to get through it and rise up again as champions. My only regret is that we didn’t win, but I have hope that the fight for third will be tremendous and victorious. Our plan for the next round is to improve and to do our best. I know we can do it, all we have to do is believe.

Zayvon’s reflection:

My thoughts for the debate are that I feel like it was my fault entirely. After being off the team for two debates for a few reasons, I ultimately failed to prove my worth to the team. I also feel that if I wasn’t there, the team would have won. I feel that the true reason that I made those mistakes is that we had almost no time to practice. I only have one regret that I didn’t try hard enough when my teammates stepped up to the plate and did great even with the fact that they had to deal with the state test. I was hoping that we wouldn’t lose even with my mistake. I’m not sure whether I should be on the team for the next round, but at least we can get third place and keep fighting the good fight.

Aleyah’s reflection:

You win some you lose some, but last week we lost for the first time and I felt upset, sad, and annoyed that we put so much hard work and effort into this debate team but come to find out we lost. The other team did better on some of the stuff we didn’t do so well on.  I’m not going to lie, we should have worked harder. I was so disappointed with myself because that was a big woops for me. You know losing isn’t always easy right? I have regrets yes. One of my deepest regrets was that some people were not always taking this team as seriously as I did. I think that people who do not put as much effort into this team and who do not show that they’re really willing to work hard shouldn’t be on the team. I felt upset because I really cared.

We should have worked so much harder! Like my teacher Ms. West says, you’ve got to “Push yourself.” All I can think of was doing better and accomplishing something. Thank you guys for giving us a chance to go on and trust me when I say we will make a comeback.

Stephen’s reflection:                                                                                                                      

My thoughts on the loss are that it is stupid to be angry. As one of the other losing teams said, we can’t let a score on a board determine how we feel, it’s your choice to be happy. Everyone I know on my team was devastated from our loss and crying but not me. Inside I was torn up, but I told myself to calm down and that you win some and you lose some. My plans for the next debate team are that I would be more persuasive by using better, if you will, higher class vocabulary. I will also read strong and hope that my speech is perfect.

Wali’s reflection:

My thoughts on the debate are that even though we lost, we still feel like we won. Next time we’re going to bring it all by studying more and backing up our answers stronger than before. We’re going to come up with even better questions and answers. My only regret is that we didn’t take it more serious during practice. Some of us were playing around and didn’t even care. Our plans for the next debate are bringing our all against the school. With better topic presentation and a stronger closing statement, were going to take 3rd place because 1st 2nd or 3rd, or even 4th, we’re still going to be remembered for what we achieved.

My (teacher Micah’s) reflection on our loss last week:

What can I say? Losing stinks. This was an especially hard one because we have one of the larger teams in the district, and a lot of students had worked incredibly hard to earn their spots on that team. It’s really difficult to work towards a goal for the whole year, only to fall short in May.

That being said, our opponents (25R) were on point. They did everything right in the debate, and their team deserved the win. Good luck to them and 352X in the finals!

I started this week still feeling bad about the loss, but I got a nice surprise from one of our debaters at breakfast on Tuesday. He came in with a page full of notes for both the pro and con sides of the final topic! (which I had not asked for). He said, “We got to get ready for our next round right? Our year’s not over yet.” His initiative reminded me of what’s important, every round is a learning experience, and you keep moving forward. 369K, get ready, we’re coming for you!

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CTEA Thoughts….

The 233Q CTEA Debaters shared their thoughts about getting bumped out of the Final Four post-season round (though they are debating in the consolation round).

Some of the CTEA Debaters were really upset on Friday and wished that we won, because they wanted to debate on the stage. Most of us were okay with losing though, because we know that we tried our hardest and did our best. We are excited for our next debate versus 368k. We wish good luck to all of the final 4 teams debating!

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368K Student Reflections….

The students of 368K, bumped off in the post-season’s Final Four match, are heading to the Consolation Round. Here they share their thoughts:

When  our team lost yesterday’s debate, at first we felt “very sad…mad and that we should have won.”

But then my team had a special celebration lunch. During lunch, we talked about how hard we worked and what a good job each team member did. That celebration  made us feel “better…proud…happy…accomplished and we felt victory, even though we lost.”

We learned that a scoreboard does not control how we feel about our accomplishments, “because we know we did our best!”

Christopher, Davey and J-J, Brooklyn’s Finest Debate Team


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Thoughts from 369K Debaters….

The debaters from 369K (bumped off in the Final Fours, but heading to the Consolation Match) have some thoughts about debate that they are willing to share…

Ricardo: You win some, you lose some.  Some roles on the debate team need to change in order to meet people’s skills.  Some people need to do more behind the scenes instead of being on camera.  We really had a struggle with our foundation in this debate.<

Michael: For the next debate we want a green screen to put images behind us, so that we can interact with them.  We don’t think we have enough money in the budget though, so we’re going to create our own.

David: It was good to learn about bitcoins, but I hated losing.  We thought we were the best, but we were sadly mistaken. We were really tired from testing, but we worked really hard.  It was very disappointing.

Kareem: Since we won’t have testing, we should work harder on the next debate.

Dylan: I thought the other team was good.  They didn’t stutter and spoke clearly.  Our rebuttal questions and answers could have been better.  Next time I will try to speak clearly, write faster, and stop laughing.

Robert: I will behave well so that I can participate in the next debate.

Joseph: I get nervous on camera, so I’m going to make the powerpoint for the next debate.

Ramell: People who don’t participate or show any support should not be on our team.  We should have votes for debates, and we should each earn our spot on the team.  I am now the captain of the team, and I will pick out our on camera team based on my teammates’ work.

Laura (teacher): We still think that we’re winners and have steps we’re going to put into place to succeed.

Good for you, Persuaders!

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