The Great Debate: Do All Americans Have a Fair Opportunity to Succeed?

Julia Biertempfel and Stephanie Harrington ‘16, Assistant Editor and Staff Writer

On February 24th, the junior class had the opportunity to see the finished product of Mr. MacDonald’s semester-long CE Argumentation class that is offered to Oakland Catholic students through the University of Pittsburgh. Seniors Sara Chesnos, Megan Gottschalk, Roisin Sabol, and Margaret Cinicola were chosen by their classmates to partake in a debate of the topic “All Americans Have a Fair Opportunity to Succeed”, with Sara Chesnos and Megan Gottschalk on the affirmative side and Roisin Sabol and Margaret Cinicola arguing the negative side.

Sara Chesnos, the first speaker for the affirmative side, started the debate out on a good note. She effectively used her knowledge of the topic, along with relevant statistics and facts, to persuade the listener. After the conclusion of her speech, Rosin Sabol had the chance to introduce the negative side and lay down her argument. Once Rosin’s time came to a close, Sara and Rosin verbally attacked each other in a classic debate style, trying to break down the opposing argument.

Following the crossfire, Megan Gottschalk attempted to undo the damage done to the affirmative side’s argument with some poignant facts and a touching personal story. Margaret Cinicola’s no-nonsense attitude towards the debate topic, presented after Megan’s argument, suited the opposing side’s argument well. Following Margaret’s speech was another crossfire, followed by a wrap-up speech presented by the first speaker from both sides and the grand crossfire, which involved each member of the forum arguing at once.

The audience, now exposed to both sides of the spectrum, were asked to vote for a winner. Although many students chose the negative side, the debate was excellently executed by both pairs. Following the vote was a brief time set aside for audience questions.  Overall, the four students who engaged in the debate displayed high levels of skill and knowledge, thanks to the fantastic program Pitt has organized as a part of College in High School. Great job, ladies!