Posted on November 30, 2016.
At Southern California JSA Fall State in Los Angeles, SoCal JSA was proud to introduce Spanish-language debates to the Junior State. A chapter presidents suggested the idea to the SoCal JSA’s Debate Department and they knew it was an important debate to have. Students from different schools in Southern California debated and discussed the effects of gentrification on urban communities. Over 130 high school students attended, and the post-convention feedback was overwhelmingly positive.
“We’re so thankful to everyone who participated in or otherwise contributed to the Spanish debate, and we look forward to continuing to hold them at future conventions!” says Patrick Aimone ’18, SoCal JSA Director of Debate.
To Ana Delgado ’17, Chapter President of Carpinteria High School, this debate had a personal meaning to her.
“Like many other students, English was not my first language. Growing up, I remember finding going back and forth between a Spanish-speaking household and an English-speaking school system difficult and confusing. I would occasionally speak Spanish to other Spanish-speaking peers, and being a part of a predominantly Hispanic school district, I didn’t see a problem with this. That is, until I was yelled at by a substitute teacher for translating English instructions to a student who only spoke Spanish. Being told “the classroom has no room for Spanish” and “we speak English here” left me scared. I stopped speaking Spanish in both the classroom and home. Since then, I have realized there is nothing wrong with embracing my two languages, and today I am proudly bilingual. When SoCal JSA held their first-ever Spanish debate– the whole thing was in Spanish! During the debate I felt empowered and reassured that Spanish does not disturb the learning environment. It isn’t a “handicap”. This Spanish debate opened a new window in which students, like myself, could express themselves. I look forward to more Spanish debates for the conventions to come.”