Immigration has been a hot-button topic in America almost since the nation’s founding. It remains so today with entrenched positions on both sides of the issue and a sharp political divide all across the country.
Immigration is the type of issue that Huntington High School’s National Social Studies Honor Society chapter likes to probe, debate and educate about. The organization recently held an evening forum on the topic that drew a crowd of about 75 to the School Heritage Museum.
The Huntington National Social Studies Honor Society chapter is led by Zachary McGinniss (president), Casey Moskowitz (vice-president), John Riley (treasurer), Nicole Arenth (secretary) and Lindsay Saginaw (historian). Teacher Kenneth Donovan serves as the group’s faculty advisor.
Huntington senior Lindsay Saginaw moderated the forum on immigration.
The recent forum saw Mr. Donovan and faculty colleagues Joseph Leavy and Jordan Gould lead three separate teams of about eight students each in presentations that staked out different positions in the immigration debate.
“Though a controversial topic, it was chosen to gauge the different views of the Huntington community and work together to come up with possible solutions to this national issue,” said Ms. Saginaw, who served as the event’s moderator.
Mr. Gould’s team argued that immigration has helped make America what it is today. Mr. Leavy’s group expressed the belief that existing laws need to be made stricter. Mr. Donovan’s team made the case for assimilating immigrants into US culture to promote unity.
Each of the three teams spent time rehearsing their arguments in the run-up to the forum. The teams were each permitted to make opening statements before a discussion period ensued. The groups were also allowed to question each other. Finally, the audience was given a chance to ask questions near the end of the session.
The forum’s last segment saw the groups break off and gather in classrooms to further discuss the three options presented earlier in the evening. About 20 students joined the discussion in each of the rooms, adding their personal thoughts on the complicated issue.
“I think everyone did a great job making their argument with the tactics they used,” Mr. McGinnis said. “When we broke down into groups it was nice to see the audience’s perspective. I think everyone was able to take something from the experience.”
With Huntington High School being the melting pot that it is, students are just as passionate about the issue of immigration as everyone else in the country.
“The issue of immigration is one that has touched the homes of hundreds of Huntington students so I think it was important to get together and talk to work towards a possible solution,” Ms. Saginaw said. “We were glad to see so many interested students and parents in the audience, along with our newly inducted members.”
The Social Studies Honor Society is considering hosting another issue forum next spring.