Philosophy club debates controversial issues

Seniors Austin Garrett, Jeffery Andrade, Ellen O’Brien, and Sophomore Daniel Shin listen and wait for their turn to speak. PYP operates on a basis of time given to individuals to speak.

From Jump Rope Club and National Honor Society to Ecology Club, the start of the 2014-15 school year has come with a wave of interest from students to get involved across campus. For those specifically interested in academic clubs focusing on real-world issues, many students turn to clubs such as Debate and Model UN, devoting hours of their free time to invest in club related studies. However, for some students this is not enough.  This year, seniors Austin Garrett and Jeffery (JJ) Andrade decided to form Perry Young Philosophers (PYP) to discuss opinions on controversial topics.

Garrett explains, “Our goal is to get people to start thinking of really intellectual questions that they wouldn’t normally consider.”“

In this club, we see lots of people that get really passionate and interested about the topics that they are talking about because they think they are really important.”

— Jeffery Andrade

Andrade adds that PYP is a “more informal version of debate club [designed] to encourage debate about important issues in society.”  He explains that the club operates as a “mixture between an organized debate format and then a formal discussion format,” regulated by time restrictions and ran by an executive committee of students.

According to the two, who have known each other since the beginning of high school, they officially decided to form this club during the summer before their senior year.

“We were talking about how we wish we could get a group of people together to talk about [controversial issues.]” Andrade explains. He adds, “We wanted to hear more perspectives than just our own.”

The club meets once a week under the supervision of  teacher Angela Gardner.

Gardner says, “I have known JJ and Austin for about a year, and they are brilliant.” True to her comment, Andrade and Garrett are competing for the position of class of 2015 valedictorian, with Garrett in the lead.

“I have had every class with [Garrett] except one, for three years,” Andrade states, adding, “[Our personalities] are pretty complimentary. We are both interested in similar topics like politics and physics… so we have a lot of topics for discussion.”

Garrett says that the club will discuss controversial topics such as the existence of God and the institution of marriage as a benefit or hindrance to society, adding that he “which I hope a lot of people show up to [debate about these topics.].

Gardner states that would have joined the club herself in high school. She explains, “I enjoy bantering with [the students].”

“In this club, we see lots of people that get really passionate and interested about the topics that they are talking about because they think they are really important,” Andrade explains.

Andrade says, “You don’t have to be particularly well versed in politics [to come,]” inviting everyone to the club meetings held every Monday after school.