Upward Bound students debate issues at PDCCC

Published 9:36 am Friday, July 16, 2010

FRANKLIN—Upward Bound students from Paul D. Camp Community College and Virginia State University gathered at the Technology Theater at the Regional Workforce Development Center to debate the issues.

According to PDCCC Director Travis Parker, the debate is part of Upward Bound’s six-week summer program that began June 28.

“Upward Bound not only provides academics, but also cultural enlightenment and exposure,” Parker said.

The program is possible through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education and provides support to high school students in preparation for college.

In addition to classes that include foreign language, math and composition, students are visiting Regent University, Virginia Union and other colleges, and participating in activities such as the debate and field trips.

Juniors and seniors also will have the opportunity to become certified in CPR and First Aid.

“(The program) has been informational, especially since I’m going to college in another year,” said Jelisia Artis, a rising senior at Lakeland High School.

A benefit for Kea Windsor, another rising senior of Lakeland, is participating in activities with her peers.

“You get to meet other people and tour colleges,” Windsor said.

During the debate, Windsor and Erica Staton of Lakeland High, and Saleana’ Saunders of Franklin High argued against “Cell Phones in Schools,” citing the effects phones have on concentration and examples of phones being used as weapons at other schools.

The second round, regarding the topic “Year Round Schools,” was argued affirmatively by Southampton High School students Essense Williams, a rising junior; Kendra Powell, rising senior; and Man’Jaz White, a rising sophomore.

They offered benefits about year-round schools that included aid with overcrowded classes and improved retaining of lessons.

The judges, Upward Bound teachers Eleanor Poarch-Wall of VSU, Mechelle Blunt and Michelle Beck, both of PDCCC, deliberated over the results.

VSU won 243 to 212 in the first debate, and 245 to 228 in the second debate. The PDCCC group, however, leveled the field after winning both the Sudoku and the “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?” rounds of competition held after the debates.

“We have participated in activities with other Upward Bound students, but this is the first time we’ve had a debate,” said Regina Tyler, director of Upward Bound at VSU. “This is all about fun. Competition is good for the spirit.”

Parker said he hoped that this event will turn into a tradition.

The summer program will culminate on Aug. 6 with a closing ceremony in the Technology Theater at the Regional Workforce Development Center.