Novice Debaters Travel To City Hall


Hunter King, Staff Member

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Photos provided by Miranda Fairman. Follow @cf_publications on Twitter and Instagram. Full article below.

The Cypress Falls Novice Debate team traveled to City Hall in Downtown Houston on Wednesday, February 19, to observe the parliamentary procedure and debate between council members firsthand. 


The novice debaters consisted of more than two dozen students in all grades and were led by the Eagles Debate Coach, Miranda Fairman. Fairman, who started taking students to City Hall last year, addressed the importance of the trip. 


“For me, it’s all about them understanding the impact they can have on the community,” Fairman said. “They’re young now, but as they grow into adults, I want them to have an appreciation and connection to City Hall to voting for local representatives because a closer tie that they have to things, the more that they’ll be aware of them.”


Prior to the trip, Fairman was researching and found some interesting details about City Councilwoman, Amy Peck. Peck graduated from Cy Falls and was elected in 2019 and is serving in her first term as the Houston City Council Member for District A, which is zoned to some Cy Falls families.


“It was really important to me,” Fairman said. “When I told my students, they were a thousand times more interested in going. Also, meeting her was great. She was welcoming, she was excited for us to be there, her body language said that. She spent time with the kids, she allowed them to ask questions, and she took pictures. That was probably my favorite part, mostly because she’s an example of what I want my students to aspire to be, even if they don’t want to be a council member, they can see this person that graduated from Cy Falls, that was where they are right now, and is taking part in making changes in her community.”


Joanna Benitez, a sophomore novice debater at Cy Falls, shared her thoughts on how having Councilwoman Peck, a Cy Falls graduate representing a large portion of the nation’s fourth-largest city, serving the community makes her perceive the capabilities of students like herself.


“I think it helped a lot of us realize that we can get to where she is at, or maybe even further,” Benitez said. “I think it’s a really good way to be reminded that we have a future, and we can do the same thing.”


Fairman planned the trip to give her students a real-life look at parliamentary procedure which is exactly what is used in the type of debate her students are learning at the moment. 


 “We can talk about civic responsibility, they’re being exposed to that by seeing stuff like this, and I think City Hall and the council meeting was a good place to do it,” Fairman said. “In debate, we are working on our congressional debate, and so that is all about legislation and lawmakers discussing and debating different bills that are brought before them and that is exactly what they were doing at City Hall. They were also talking about some of the same topics that we were talking about, so I felt lucky for them to be talking about the same stuff that the students are, so it was really interesting.”


After the council member meeting, the team went a few blocks away to the Downtown Tunnels to eat lunch in the food court. Josiah Figg, a junior novice debater, recalled his thoughts on the final parts of the trip. 


“I was actually surprised, it looked really modern, I thought it was going to be a run-down, dark, and old, but it was really robust and cool to be inside,” Figg said. “I had never been in there before so it was a good first experience and it was really, really cool. I had this good burrito for lunch in the food court, and I liked it too. Overall, it was a good experience.”