Debate Club inspires future lawyers and outside-of-the-box thinking at Houston Middle School

Germantown, Tennessee--December 12, 2018--At Houston Middle School, a new club has taken the student body by storm.  Teachers Joe Murray and Regina Castellaw began a Debate Club with some very popular results this semester.  “I was hoping to get about 15 or so students,” said Joe Murray.  This is his first year teaching social studies at Houston Middle School.  Previous to his teaching career, Murray was a practicing lawyer.  When over 70 students showed up for the first Debate Club meeting, he and Castellaw were floored. 

“Students will be using oral persuasive arguments—there are no “maybe” responses.  They will need to decide “yes” or “no”.  Then students will be researching the pros or cons to support their stance.  It’s very exciting,” said Principal Liz Dias.  Both Murray and Castellaw are impressed by what they’ve seen from students so far.

“I had two reasons for wanting to start a debate club,” said Murray.  “One was due to the fact that argument and persuasion is a key component to critical thinking.  The other was due to my background in law and my desire to train students in logic, not necessarily emotion,” he said.

Using his own experiences from the courtroom, he believes that this new club will not only enhance his students’ oration skills, but also push boundaries and encourage them to think outside of the box.  “If that [joining the club] inspires them to investigate the world of law, I would have no objections,” said Murray.

Their very first debate, Are Humans Too Dependent on Computers?, will be live-streamed next month.  For more information about Debate Club, please contact Liz Dias at

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