Melinda Nagy - Social Studies Teacher and Debate Coach | Teen Ink

Melinda Nagy - Social Studies Teacher and Debate Coach

May 1, 2009
By EdytD SILVER, Livingston, New Jersey
EdytD SILVER, Livingston, New Jersey
6 articles 0 photos 258 comments

As the class wearily trudged to their final period of the day on the first day of seventh grade, they anticipated yet another droning teacher in a hot and humid classroom. What these students didn't expect was Melinda Nagy. From the first day of school, her class was unique and unusual. Whether through her multitude of horse pictures on the walls or her aromatic air freshener that gave her classroom a distinctive scent, Mrs. Nagy's individuality and spunk showed in every aspect of her class.

Although most students were forewarned about the majority of their teachers, and had been told by either older siblings or friends what to expect, there was little to be said or done to prepare themselves for Mrs. Nagy's Social Studies class. Whether it was teaching them about the constitution by having them skip around the room singing "articles, sections, clauses, oh my!" in the tune of Dorothy's skip through Oz, or explaining the travels of a bill through Congress by showing the film School House Rock, Mrs. Nagy's unpredictable style of teaching enabled the students to retain vast amounts of fascinating material that remained with them throughout the rest of middle school.

Yet by far the most unforgettable project of Mrs. Nagy's history class was the Revolutionary War debate. After dividing each class into the British and the American sides, Mrs. Nagy directed her classes in researching information, preparing cross-examination questions, and writing speeches. On the day of the debate, the grade entered the school buzzing with excitement, clad in suits and ties in the hopes of seeming professional. As the students' glowing faces displayed their fervor and passion for the project, they stood up to recite their opinions with poise in either the defense of King George of England or the rebellious American colonies. Although many of them have forgotten what they had recently learned, the vast majority of the students recall the Revolutionary War debate and their excitement during that memorable day.

Subsequently, one of Mrs. Nagy's classes drafted a petition based on the Olive Branch Petition, about which they had recently learned, asking Mrs. Nagy to hold a second debate later that year. Each student eagerly signed his or her name on the bottom of the document, and, after watching the clock tick slowly down towards eighth period, the students were finally able to proudly deliver their petition to their teacher.

Although second debate never occurred, many of the students still hoped to once again experience the thrill of debating, and decided that they were going to initiate a middle school debate team. Together, the students and Mrs. Nagy planned to initiate a debate team in their school. The following year, after contacting the head of the middle school debate league and pulling together students from grade in the middle school, the students and Mrs. Nagy began to mold their recently created debate team into a persevering, determined team of debaters. Mrs. Nagy worked tirelessly with her team, coaching them and editing every member's speech multiple times to prepare the students for an upcoming debate.

During the debate, each member of the team was able to rise and confidently recite his or her speech due to hours of practice and arduous work. At the end of the day, when two of the team members found out that they had won the third place team trophy, they shrieked and hugged each other, surprised and incredibly excited to have won. Yet no one was more proud than their beaming coach, Melinda Nagy, whose glowing face displayed her immense delight and excitement for her team to whom she had given her all.

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This article has 3 comments.

EdytD SILVER said...
on Apr. 8 2010 at 4:39 pm
EdytD SILVER, Livingston, New Jersey
6 articles 0 photos 258 comments

haha that was the problem--I just don't know who said it.  It's really more that I'm just curious why. 

Thanks so much!  When i showed it to my teacher, it made her cry--it was so sweet!

Wolfy DIAMOND said...
on Apr. 8 2010 at 1:08 pm
Wolfy DIAMOND, Huntsville, Alabama
71 articles 0 photos 124 comments

Favorite Quote:
A room without a book is like a body without a soul.

Who told you this was in any way bad!?!?!?!?!? This is actually really, really good! I really like it! Keep writing, will you? I like your stuff!

EdytD SILVER said...
on Oct. 15 2009 at 8:11 pm
EdytD SILVER, Livingston, New Jersey
6 articles 0 photos 258 comments
Ok, I recently got a poor rating for this article. That doesn't bother me at all, but if any other writers feel that my article merits a poor grade, please share with me your reasoning, because I would love to learn from your comments. Thanks so much!