Jacqui Nickell
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Lakehill Debate Team.
Middle and high school students gathered on November 21 to participate in the YMCA Texas Youth and Government conference, a means for local clubs to simulate the legislative and judicial sections of government.
Dressed in business attire, the delegates were ready to take on real-world issues. More than 1,200 attendees from 72 delegations gathered at the District 5 Dallas conference, held at Centennial High School in Garland. Pete Sessions, US Congressman representing the 32nd District of Texas, provided the keynote address.
Upper School Team Advances to State
Twenty Lakehill students, representing seven Lakehill teams, competed in the State Affairs Forum. All teams advanced to the state conference, with six of the proposals automatically advancing without revision. 
The proposal by Brandon DouglasVarun Iyer, and Carlos Lopez, III on drone regulations was ranked second overall. Chambliss Pierson and Ben Gillman were awarded Distinguished Delegate for their outstanding performance in pro/con debate.
Zain Imam was elected the District 5 State Affairs Forum Chair. He will chair the district event next fall and will compete for the statewide chair position at the conference in January.  
All seven teams will advance to the state tournament in Austin on January 30-31.
Middle School Team Advances to State
Students in the Middle School Debate Club presented proposals in the State Affairs Forum and bills in Legislative committees. Eighteen of the Club's 19 members were present. Students researched topics, assembled bills and proposals based on their understanding of these issues, and defended their positions by answering questions. Many had their respective proposals or bills pass.         
The goal of the YMCA's Junior Youth and Government program is to allow students a better appreciation of how laws are made.
"Debate is really fun, because you get to learn about other people's opinions and what they think about our society and government," said Jonah Shaw, Middle School Debate Club president. 
The State conference will take place February 26-28, in Austin. Students will have the opportunity to visit the Texas State Capitol before returning to Dallas.
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