Clark County School District high school students can debate the merits of presidential debates by entering an essay contest sponsored by the school district, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
CCSD students, including those enrolled in CCSD-sponsored charter schools, are invited to submit an essay answering the question “Are Presidential Debates necessary? Why or why not?”
A $1,000 scholarship will be awarded to a UNLV-bound student in grade 11 or 12 who writes the best essay. The top essay writers in grades 9-12 will be awarded prizes as well.
Some of the questions students can consider in their essays include:
- Do debates truly affect public opinion?
- How have presidential debates have influenced past elections?
- Have changes in the ways people communicate have altered the dynamics of the debate process?
The contest is part of a number of debate-related activities on campus this fall. In partnership with the LVCVA, UNLV is the site for this election season’s final presidential debate. The nationally televised event will be held Oct. 19 at the Thomas & Mack Center.
Exploring the topic of presidential debates is one way to help young students more actively understand our elections process. “This contest gives our high school students the opportunity to better understand the importance of the debate process in our election system,” said Rossi Ralenkotter, president/CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.
Essay Contest Details
Entries are due by 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3. They will be evaluated at UNLV judging sessions and reviewed by community leaders. Winners will be announced in early November.
To enter the contest, CCSD high school students must submit an essay and a completed cover sheet/entry form. Essays must be no longer than 500 words. A complete list of rules and entry forms are available on the UNLV Presidential Debate website.
Other Ways to Get Involved
UNLV is also partnering with CCSD and other local colleges on classroom curriculum and extracurricular activities. They include:
- Debate-themed lesson plans for K-12 students, including online “Join the Debates” curriculum through the Commission on Presidential Debates.
- Collaborative "Debaters Watch the Debate" event, in which UNLV and CCSD high school debate teams provide an analytical commentary session during/after this election cycle's first debate at Hofstra University on Sept. 26
- Debate watch events at UNLV and CCSD school sites throughout debate season leading up to the Oct. 19 event at UNLV
- Voter education activities at CCSD high schools and local colleges
- Collaboration with student government leaders and school personnel on community forums, online resource directories, and other election-themed activities
In addition, UNLV is offering 14 brand new or enhanced courses this fall with debate or election themes, as well as offering a series of free lectures designed to increase the general public's understanding of issues surrounding the November faceoff.