When Indianapolis attorney Maurice Scott’s wife told him there were students at the Global Prep Academy who had questions about current government issues, he immediately volunteered to give some answers.
“I kept hearing how students were personally affected by the Muslim travel ban, potholes, food desserts and deportation of a loved one,” Scott said. “I was amazed that students at such a young age had questions, paid attention to their community, and wanted to know what steps to take to resolve issues.”
He said it was an easy decision to partner with the school once he knew the middle school students had an interest in learning more about the role of government in their own lives. The students also partnered with a local non-profit called Winning Experiences in Avondale Meadows, which mentors youth through civic education and experiential learning.
Scott and three students travelled to Nashville, Tenn. on Thursday to participate in a national debate competition to test their new-found knowledge. Voting rights, gerrymandering, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, social security and tax reform were the main topics of discussion.
Approximately 50 middle school and high school students from Texas, New York, Indiana and Wisconsin competed as individuals and teams on various current issues at the event. Scott’s students placed first in the middle school group, debating the different branches of government.
“The judges complimented the students on their knowledge for their age,” Scott said.
He said he plans to gather more students and teachers for next year’s competition with hopes of partnering alongside other charter schools and collaborating with the Marion County Bar Association.
Scott said he loves seeing kids grow and develop into contributing members of society. He also said he thinks this kind of program could open doors for more students to come.
“I tell my students I want them to become the next generation of lawyers, judges, community activists, politicians,” Scott said. “I want them to be problem solvers. Being a member of the GPA debate team is the start to a bright future.”