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Debate Participants

Members of the Debate Team now come from the Public Speaking classes. See Mr. Franco if you want to learn more. Consider adding the class to your schedule in the future.


2018 is the seventh year in a row that the School of Government has competed in the Paterson Public Schools High School Debate Tournament.  The school has improved each year and in 2015 reached the finals of the district tournament.  This year the school will again compete in the June 1st tournament.


This year's topic:   That full assimilation of immigrant groups toward a homogenous culture is beneficial for the development and growth of a society.


Additionally:   Mike Ollo,  Principal is the District coordinator for the High School Debate Tournament.  He has been president of two forensics and debate leagues and has thirty years of experience as a high school debate coach.  He facilitates the development of high school debates teams in the school system. 


Debate flyer

The Debate Club Championship


Public Speaking Classes are Offered at GOPA!

Public Speaking Classes are Offered at GOPA!

What is Debate?

"Men are never so likely to settle a question rightly as when they discuss it freely."
Thomas Babington, Lord Macaulay

From its very beginnings, debate has been inextricably intertwined with the concept of open society. In ancient Athens, citizens gathered in forums to discuss and debate the most pressing issues of the day before casting their votes. Such debates were an integral part of the new form of government Athens was to bequeath to the world: democracy.

Unlike totalitarian and other undemocratic regimes, where a limited set of ideas are imposed as absolute truths, democratic societies depend upon the free and open exchange of ideas. Indeed, it may be said that true democracy cannot exist without debate. For democracy to function, the values that debate encourages - reason, tolerance, the careful weighing of evidence, etc. - must be cherished and nurtured. But even within societies that restrict open discussion, debate can teach young people that no one person or government possesses the ultimate truth.

Today, from Haiti to Serbia, from The Netherlands to Mongolia and beyond, IDEA debates are gaining ground as forums for promoting democratic values. Just as Socrates spurred his listeners to examine their assumptions 2,500 years ago, IDEA is today encouraging students around the world to question, to listen to each other and to explore even the most volatile subjects openly and in the spirit of tolerance and cooperation.