St. Luke’s Partners with Cato Institute’s Project Sphere for Civil Discourse Event
By: Beth Yavenditti, Director of Global Education
The St. Luke’s Debaters took to the stage on April 11, showcasing their talents for the SLS community. The event, Discourse and Debate, was part of the Civil Discourse Speaker Series, where students are asked to flex their civil discourse skills as they grapple with complex, multifaceted issues.
During the Upper School assembly, Chris Briggs ‘24 and Dash Gilrain-Lennon ‘25 debated the resolution “Civil disobedience in a democracy is morally justified.” In the Middle School assembly, Salman Memon ‘26 and Maeve Welch ‘26 debated the resolution “Space exploration by private entities is morally unjust.”
Facilitators Allan Carey (director of Sphere Education initiatives) and Caryn Rossiter (manager and senior trainer of Sphere Education initiatives) from Cato Institute’s Project Sphere led the student body in a reflection on the debates and fielded questions during a Q&A. Students asked how competitive debate works and how to best prepare for debates when they don’t always agree with the topic.
Before the debates, Carey and Rossiter held a professional development workshop for faculty entitled Bringing Civil Discourse to the Classroom. During the one-hour session, the facilitators shared strategies and resources that teachers can use to help develop their students’ civil discourse skills.
As highlighted in the Strategic Plan, St. Luke’s has formalized a partnership with the Cato Institute’s Project Sphere. This collaboration significantly expands our professional development resources and supports the Civil Discourse Speaker Series, specifically in giving the school access to speakers and experts who represent divergent perspectives and experiences.
St. Luke’s School is a secular (non-religious), private school in New Canaan, CT for grades 5 through 12 serving 25 towns in Connecticut and New York. Our exceptional academics and diverse co-educational community foster students’ intellectual and ethical development and prepare them for top colleges. St. Luke’s Center for Leadership builds the commitment to serve and the confidence to lead.