Huntington High School’s debate club traces its history to March 1930 when it was organized for the first time and named Alpha Nu. It has periodically disappeared in the 91 years since then, flourishing and retreating depending on student interest.
With interest in debating once again on the rise, the organization has returned with a new group of energetic teenagers taking delight in “arguing it out” within the framework of a set of rules that keeps everything organized and fair.
Huntington social studies teacher Debora Balducci is the debate club's faculty advisor.
Three years ago there was a stirring among students to resurrect the club. It was fully operational last year and is back stronger than ever during the current school year.
The club’s executive board consists of Richard Zboray, Evan Martinez, Ethan Lovaglio, Harrison McKenna and Nick DiPietro. Huntington social studies teacher Debora Balducci is the organization’s faculty advisor.
“It has been such a pleasure being the advisor for this club,” Ms. Balducci said. “Throughout the years, I have seen the love for this club grow. It is so nice to be able to see students shine in a setting where they have control and feel that they have a judgment free space to express their opinion. I have seen friendships bloom and long-lasting bonds created from our time together on Thursdays. I am so impressed at the students’ passion and ability to continue this club into a virtual setting. I am excited to continue to witness this club grow.”
The club meets on Thursday afternoons. The Google Classroom code is https://classroom.google.com/c/MjAwMzI3NTEwMjM2?cjc=azkmgil
“Our topics range from current political events to debates about pop culture,” Ms. Balducci said. Past debate club topics include Should America keep the Electoral College?, Are Zoos Ethical? and Should Tik Tok be Banned?
“We are hoping to finally be able to approach the very heated controversy of Star Wars vs. Star Trek,” Ms. Balducci jokingly said.
A “constitution and debating club” was “hastily formed in March 1930 for the purpose of entering contestants in the New York Times Oratorical Contest,” stated the 1930 edition of The Huntingtonian, the high school yearbook. “Following the actual competition, the club was reorganized, the result being the present Alpha Nu. The new fraternity is formed for the purpose of imitating an ever broadening acquaintance with and support of the United States Constitution, as well as promoting an interest in debating. Semi-monthly meetings are held in which programs are enraged which will be of interest to all the members. The feature of each meeting is a regular debate under the open forum plan, in which everyone takes a part.”
The club’s first elected president was senior Florence Hoag with sophomore Herman Feinstein serving as vice president. Teacher Helen Lancaster, a Syracuse University graduate was the faculty advisor.
By 1931, the club’s membership had increased by to 30. The club’s mission continued to be to “promote interest in debating, in public speaking and in the Constitution of the United States,” according to the 1931 yearbook. “Its members have written essays for the [New York] Times oratorical contest both this year and last year and several entered the speaking contest. About six debates has been held since last September in which all of the members have participated and on March 2nd an interschool debate was held with Northport.” The club’s picnic was held at Sunken Meadow Beach on June 12, 1931.
Ms. Balducci holds an undergraduate degree from Stony Brook University in Italian Studies. She obtained a master’s degree at SUNY College at Old Westbury in teaching secondary social studies. She has been working at Huntington High School in one capacity or another since September 2017.
For more information about the debate club send a message to Ms. Balducci at firstname.lastname@example.org.