Mr. Thayer: keeping the debate class alive and well


Zachary Nicholas

A popular elective at Amador, the debate class teaches students some imperative skills.

Zachary Nicholas, Editor-in-Chief

At the end of the 2019-2020 school year, Amador teacher Mrs. Gray announced her retirement. She was beloved by faculty and staff, and was one of the favorite teachers among students. 

“When I heard Mrs. Gray was retiring, before I could congratulate her on a much deserved retirement, I spent at least five or ten minutes crying. I had already graduated the year prior, but her retirement felt like the end of a “golden age”, one that I was so fortunate to have been a part of and never really imagined could end,” said Bliss Bergmark (‘19)

One of Gray’s proudest contributions to Amador was the debate class. Debate is an extremely popular elective on campus, largely in part because of the comforting environment Mrs. Gray implemented.

“The welcoming environment is the best part about debate class. Everyone is welcome to and encouraged to share their ideas in class. Mrs. Gray created an extremely inclusive environment where everyone was having a whale of a time. It’s also fun to be a part of all the inside jokes of debate,” said Myles Tollefsen (‘19).

With Mrs. Gray gone, Matthew Thayer has taken the reins of the debate class. A long time English teacher, Mr. Thayer hopes to teach his students the importance of debate and preserve the amazing aspects of the class.

“Weighing different ideas and considering options in a polite way reinforces the idea that discourse is how we should be making decisions as a nation; not testing for tribal or political purity. My hope would be to support the idea of keeping our minds open. Speaking of Mrs Gray, I spent a lot of time with her in the summer seeing exactly how she ran the program. The secondary goal is to honor her and keep that program that she built intact,“ said A.P. English Language teacher Matt Thayer.

Despite only being a fourth of the way through the school year, Mr. Thayer has experienced great success in connecting with his students. He has been met with nothing but praise from students, including the “veterans” of debate (those who have previously taken the class).

“I think he is doing a good job. He is trying his best to engage with his students, but they are not as responsive as he would hope. He has done a good job of explaining the basis of everything. He is interesting to listen to and he keeps it engaging,“ said Megan Brennan (‘21).

Apart from great responses from his students, Mr.Thayer is incredibly honored to teach the subject of debate.

“We are living in a time where there is a lot of bickering; where there is not a lot of weighing of ideas. It is a cool class to be teaching at this moment in history”, said Thayer

Mrs. Gray was one of Amador’s best. She cultivated an exceptional program, and it is nice to see that the class is in great hands with Mr. Thayer.