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Loveland Classical students to host congressional debate for Neguse, Yu

Students learn by participating, not just reading
By Pamela Johnson
Reporter-Herald Staff Writer

Students at Loveland Classical Schools will host and moderate a debate between Republican Peter Yu and Democrat Joe Neguse, two candidates running for Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District seat.

The junior U.S. government class is studying the Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers in school, an example of government debate in its purest form. The articles, published in 1787, argued the merits and concerns about ratifying the U.S. Constitution.

Though government has changed in the past 231 years, the need for community involvement and conversation around different views is just as important today, school officials said. And by hosting a candidate forum, the students will be involved in the government about which they are learning.

“They’re participating and not just reading about it,” said Ian Stout, executive director of the charter school.

The school has invited and received confirmation from Yu and Neguse to participate Sept. 26, and the students are collectively writing questions to ask the two candidates and in the process of determining which students will be moderators. The event is open to the community, and audience members also will be able to submit questions to the student moderators.

Stout said the school chose to focus on the two major parties and did not invite the other two candidates to participate. Yu is a Republican from Loveland, and Neguse is a Democrat from Broomfield. Also on the ballot are Roger Barris, a Libertarian candidate, and Nick Thomas, who is running as an independent.

Students said they were excited for the opportunity to be involved in a forum, saying their generation will be able to offer a different perspective and insight. Plus, they said, having healthy debates is key to keeping government accountable.

Joel Anderson (far left), Ben Johnson, Timothy Grove and teacher David Rotner (far right) participate in their junior U.S. government class on Tuesday. The class will host a debate Sept. 26 between Democrat Joe Neguse and Republican Peter Yu, two of the four candidates running in Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District. (Jordan Frazier / Loveland Classical Schools)

“It carries on a long tradition of debate, which has been very vital to our country since its foundation,” said Haddie Baugh, one of the juniors in the government class.

Added classmate Benjamin Johnson, “It’s definitely important to involve the younger generation in our government as they will be running the country in the future.”

He stressed the importance of hearing views from across the spectrum in making governmental decisions.

Students at Loveland Classical Schools are taught to be involved citizens and to embrace healthy debate, which is particularly important in today’s political climate, said Jed Link, charter school board member and parent.

“The ability to debate issues is essential to any society,” said Link. “Our students are exposed to that. They see what healthy debate is.
” Our students are learning a good model for our country when we’re having trouble talking to one another (nationwide).”