Kids debating like adults should

Pennfield eighth-grader starts statewide debate program with Brown Debating Union

Posted 9/20/19

PORTSMOUTH — Thatcher Foregger, an eighth-grade student at the Pennfield School, loves a good argument. 

He loves a good argument so much he decided to start his own statewide …

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Kids debating like adults should

Pennfield eighth-grader starts statewide debate program with Brown Debating Union

Posted

PORTSMOUTH — Thatcher Foregger, an eighth-grade student at the Pennfield School, loves a good argument. 

He loves a good argument so much he decided to start his own statewide organization, The Rhode Island Debate Project. Thatcher wants middle school students to learn the art of debate together.

“I've always liked arguing but wanted to do it in a more organized and civil fashion,” Thatcher said. “I had no idea where to start, so I decided to reach out to the Brown Debating Union (BDU) and they instantly jumped on the idea.”

BDU is a student-run debating organization at Brown University in Providence which competes in American parliamentary debate and British parliamentary debate. 

Rocket Drew, of BDU, has been spearheading Thatcher's vision of a three-day program spread throughout October. 

“Every year I’ve debated is a year I’ve grown more confident, curious, and concerned with global issues,” he said. “I wish I’d discovered debate earlier, so I’m thrilled that we can leverage the Brown team’s experience to extend this opportunity to middle school students from across the state.”

Almost every public and private middle school from around Rhode Island (and a few schools from neighboring Massachusetts) are being invited to attend an afternoon workshop, a Brown debate, and debate for the Rhode Island Debate Project Cup.

“Since none of us have ever been exposed to debate, we will all be at the same level of experience, so it will be a lot of fun with no pressure.” Said Thatcher.

Thatcher said he hopes the word about the Rhode Island Debate Project will get out to other students and teachers through his website, ​https://RIdebateproject.com​, and that he sees a lot of students RSVP for the first event at The Pennfield School.

He also pointed out that individual middle school students from around the state can attend without their schools or teachers by just signing up on the website before the Oct. 6 workshop.

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