Debate Debutants Win it All

For years, Andy Charrier has been coaching debate teaching students how to argue using the ideals behind civil discourse. Charrier cut his teeth on debate when he was a student himself at St. Francis High School.

After spending his career in other states and other districts, Charrier has moved back to St. Francis where he was raised in order to give back to the community that supported his own education.

“The kinds of things you see on television where people are accusing people of being bad people, that’s not a winning argument in debate it’s actually the content of your argument that matters and you have to be respectful when you do that,” said Charrier.

The main goal for this after school activity is to learn to work in teams and to improve their communication skills. It also helps students get into college and helps them in their everyday life.

“Well in a world where we have all kinds of people who disagree with each other, debate teaches you how to disagree and to do that respectfully and thoughtfully,” said Charrier.

This year, two of his students Gavin Dommer and Isabell Pemberton won the debate state championship in Novice category.

“It fills me with great joy. I feel so proud because it’s an accomplishment that she worked hard for and she got it. We are proud,” said the mother of Pemberton.

Starting their first year of debate in August, 8th graders Gavin and Isabell won the state championship. They dedicated their time to winning this because they enjoy debating and the teamwork and friendships in it.

“It’s a nice reward for two students who do everything right and what’s especially nice about them is that they represent the Saint Francis qualities of hard work and dedication. They will do anything I ask them. It makes me feel like it’s a really nice reward for two deserving students,” said Charrier.