A group of 15 middle school students from the Eliot School and the Josiah Quincy Upper School (JQUS) recently discussed immigration, housing policy, and climate issues with State Senator Joe Boncore and State Representative Aaron Michlewitz, the elected officials who represent both schools. The students are members of their schools’ debate teams run in partnership by their schools and the Boston Debate League. These 15 students are a subset of the nearly 800 students across the city who participated in the Boston Debate League’s programs this year. Students from the Eliot and JQUS debate teams spent the school year researching, writing, and debating about US Immigration Policy – learning about the moral, social, economic, and financial complexities of a national topic that often doesn’t include the voices of young people, although it greatly impacts millions of youth across the country.

The Eliot School and JQUS are longtime members of the debate league. When asked to share with the Senator and Representative why they participate in debate, one student says that the debate team is a family for her – a place where she can be herself and take risks.  One of the team’s coaches says that she sees how the Eliot School’s robust debate team leads to students engaging more deeply in critical thinking across all classes.

This meeting has come together as an effort by the Boston Debate League, the Eliot School, and Josiah Quincy Upper School to provide young people with a chance, not just to learn and debate about policy issues, but to meet the political leaders who are responsible for setting laws locally, state-wide, and nationally – an opportunity that the young people in this room clearly appreciate and are taking full advantage of. As the conversation is wrapping up, Senator Boncore and Representative Michlewitz share that the young people in this room will soon be the leaders of this state and country, and it’s clear that they are up for the challenge.  
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