Tech Students Participate In Debate

NEWARK – Worcester Technical High School students shared their views on environmental issues ranging from wind farms to a new Bay Bridge span during a virtual debate last week.

On Feb. 11, students in Valerie Zienty’s senior pre-engineering class at Worcester Tech participated in an environmental policy debate moderated by Delegate Charles Otto and Berlin Mayor Zack Tyndall. They went back and forth over the merits of electric cars, the potential of wave energy and the fear of nuclear power accidents during the Zoom session.

“I think it is very important to develop relationships with other people in constructive, collaborative ways,” Zienty said.

Early in the semester, Zienty said her students talked about politics and the impact political beliefs had on people’s lives. Some teenagers acknowledged that they avoided discussing politics unless they knew they were talking to people who held similar views. They said that in a very polarized political climate, they didn’t want the unneeded stress and disagreement that would come from any potentially political discussion.

“So I tried to develop a project that emphasizes research, respect, and collaboration,” Zienty said. “My students are talented, creative, resourceful, and have something to bring to the table.  This debate, moderated by local and state policymakers, can foster development of a successful community, where people buy into a common good that they can collaborate to reach.”

During last week’s debate, students offered various viewpoints on wind farms, electric cars and solar energy, among other environmental topics. Otto and Tyndall praised students for their efforts to work “across the aisle” and understand each other’s opinions when they differed.

Tyndall told Zienty’s class he enjoyed the session.

“We had a pretty healthy debate this afternoon,” he said.

He went on to encourage students to take some responsibility when they were interested in a topic and to look at issues comprehensively. He added that there was always a chance for human error.

“As consumers of information, don’t take it from just one source,” he said.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.