Senior debaters visit MPR studio to comment on first presidential debate night


Scott Streble

Senior debaters Raffi Togrhamadjian, Shefali Bijwadia, Noor Qureishy, Sarah Wheaton, Henry Ziemer, Coleman Thompson give a live analysis of the Sept. 26 presidential debate at MPR headquarters.

Amodhya Samarakoon, Creative Design Manager

Many students sat in front of computers and televisions this Monday night, eyes glued to the live debate feed, maybe while scrolling through fact checker page on CNN or discussing each candidates comments with family members. These students among many other people across the nation were watching first presidential debate night which took place on Sept. 26 between the republican candidate Donald Trump and democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

While many watched from home, a group of senior debaters – Raffi Togrhamadjian, Shefali Bijwadia, Noor Qureishy, Sarah Wheaton, Henry Ziemer, Coleman Thompson – from St. Paul Academy and Summit School sat around a table and in front of a camera at Minnesota Public Radio’s downtown St. Paul headquarters and gave a live analysis the debate with each other in a commentary on the MPR News website.

The students were split into three groups of two to discuss certain parts of the debate.

“Coleman and I were both paired to discuss the Securing America and national security portion. We all took notes throughout the debate which actually made it fairly easy to pinpoint issues from an argumentation perspective, I was also very excited to discuss foreign policy so we were both able to come up with some points pretty quickly,” Ziemer said.

Wheaton and Qureishy, Bijwadia and Togrhamadjian were the other two pairs who discussed the debate.

“I thought it was really useful to look at the presidential debate through a more analytical lens, looking for which arguments were stronger and how the candidates presented themselves, I thought overall this was very useful – given how tense partisan politics can be it was nice for me to try and really articulate my opinions based on a Public Forum debate background,” Ziemer said.