Student Letters Lead to Albany Trip

16 Apr

Everyone who has had Mr. Durfee as a humanities teacher knows about his infamous debate unit. Debating on topics ranging from the death penalty to abortion, the students complete their research and approach the podium with their opening statements. One part of the students’ research is to find a person who is particularly involved with their topic and write them a letter. Nate Swarthout, one of Mr. Durfee’s lucky freshmen debaters, wrote a stimulating letter to Andrea Miller and was shocked at the response.

Shortly after the debate letters were sent out Nate received a letter at his home. The letter was labeled with a few simple words that sparked some mixed feelings with his father, Abortion Clinic. After explaining to his dad about his debate unit in school, Swarthout eagerly tore into the letter. He had not expected a letter that answered his.

After Swarthout carefully explained the letter to his concerned dad, his father could then share his excitement about his son’s great news and be proud of the steps his son has taken. New doors have been opened for the students of Watkins Glen High School.

Casey wrote him back addressing his debate topic—a woman’s choice to abortion. When Casey first receive Swarthout letter he was just as surprised as Swarthout was to receive one back.

“I have the greatest admiration for all of you for encouraging debate, on this and any other issue,” said Casey. “And this is why I am willing to do everything I can to support his and others efforts.”

In effort to further encourage the young man’s debate efforts he informed the students of an exciting opportunity. Casey invited Swarthout and a few of his class mates to get on a bus in Binghamton and join Casey in Albany. A lobby day will take place Albany on May 21ST. The day will begin after a brief breakfast. The workshop that takes place after breakfast will inform the folks how to citizen lobby, then each person will go to their arranged meeting with their senator.

Casey feels very strongly about the issue that he lobbies for. Much like Swarthout, Casey’s interest in politics sparked when he was young. Based on his parents’ strong involvement in civil rights moments in the south, Casey believes that teenagers should find ways to have their young voices be heard in politics.

“I strongly, strongly, strongly believe that young people must grapple with the great issues that confront our country in open, honest, and civil debate among themselves and in their communities,” Casey declares.

The debate students of Mr. Durfee’s class could not be more excited about the opportunity that was presented to them. Katherine Meehan, who debated against Swarthout, said she could not wait to head to Albany to watch their debate issue in action. Even though Meehan’s team lost, by one devastating point, she and her partner are eagerly awaiting their chance to go to the lobby day with Casey. Being totally against abortion, Meehan waits her time to fire questions at Casey and his prochoice team.
“I’m actually really excited because I did a lot of work on my debate,” Meehan says, “and I want to know why the people at Albany think Abortion is good.”

By: Darby Cady

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