CYPRESS TEXAS — A Cypress Falls High School Debate I class recently visited City Hall in downtown Houston, giving the students the opportunity to observe debate up close and personal.

Cypress Falls English and debate teacher Miranda Fairman knew taking her students to the Houston City Council meeting would be a great opportunity to experience government and policymaking in real life. They visited Jan. 24.

Cypress Falls High School Debate I students visit with Houston City Councilman Dwight Boykins (right) following the council meeting Jan. 24. The class attended the meeting as a way to observe policymaking and spoke with Boykins after the meeting.
Cypress Falls High School Debate I students visit with Houston City Councilman Dwight Boykins (right) following the council meeting Jan. 24. The class attended the meeting as a way to observe policymaking and spoke with Boykins after the meeting.

“I was looking for a way to help the kids understand the way Congress works and what it looks like,” Fairman said. “The Houston City Council is basically a mini Congress and the council members are the policymakers. It was a real-life application of what we’re doing in class.”

Council member Dwight Boykins served as the class’ guide and spoke with students after the meeting about the importance of debate and how their voices matter when it comes to government and policies.

“When we got there, they were holding a special session about some layoffs in the Houston Fire Department and Houston Police Department and he was really advocating to find a way to lessen those cuts,” Fairman said. “He talked to the students afterward about why it’s important to think outside of the box as policymakers.”

Students said the trip was worthwhile and taught them valuable lessons in seeing debate in a real-life setting. Each person has a voice in government, attendees said, with debate extending to more than simply speaking.

“It taught me that there is more to it than just talking,” junior Jadion Hill said. “It’s very serious sometimes and there is a lot of research you have to do.”

Added junior Mariah Perez: “This trip made me realize that you really need a lot of confidence in debate. It was awesome seeing how Congress really works, in person, right in front of you.”

Cypress Falls High School Debate I student pose outside Houston City Hall on Jan. 24 after they attended a City Council meeting. English and debate teacher Miranda Fairman organized the trip for the class to observe government and policymaking in a real-life setting.
Cypress Falls High School Debate I student pose outside Houston City Hall on Jan. 24 after they attended a City Council meeting. English and debate teacher Miranda Fairman organized the trip for the class to observe government and policymaking in a real-life setting.

Students posed with Council members for photos after the meeting and took another outside City Hall. Fairman said the trip was a success and was “definitely planning” on doing it again next year.

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