by Noam Josse (’17)

One of the things for which MTA is well-known is the wide array of clubs which are available to enhance the academic and athletic achievements of the students and to provide for their enjoyment. The school offers the traditional Business Club, Mock Trial Team, Model Congress and many other popular groups which students can become affiliated with.  Furthermore, MTA has a very élite Debate team, which produces some of the most original, and intelligent debaters in the New York area.


This week, as a new freshman, I was invited to attend the Debate team’s first official meeting of the year.  Here, I was introduced to some of the many religious, philosophical, socio-economic, and political themes which the team deals with. Teams of two are told the topic of the debate well before the actual competition so that they may properly prepare.  However, they are not told which side of the debate they will side with until just ten minutes before the activity starts.


At this first meeting, a few of the members of the team presented a model debate.  The case at hand was of a boy, Roland, who had broken his college’s computer policy by using the college’s computer equipment for commercial gain. He did it, however, with utmost caution, and without placing his jobs in front of his studies.  When Roland was ultimately caught, his professors were trapped in the question as to whether they should punish Roland for his use of school property as a means to reach an end of seeming self-gain, even though his school performance was not impacted. The team’s next debate will be on October 2nd, on the issue of the death penalty, and tryouts for this novice debate will be on Tuesday, October 1.


The Debate Team is certainly an intellectual force to be reckoned with and is thus one of the many clubs to join at school.  It is led by the debate coach, Mrs. Harriet Levitt, who is the chair of MTA’s English department and one of the 9th Grade Deans as well as debate presidents Yitzi Lindenbaum (’14) and  Asher Finkelstein (’14).  No high school has a debate team like the one at MTA.


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