South Dade High School Debate Class students.

South Dade High School Debate Class students.  

Members of the South Dade Senior High School Debate Class have achieved success with their Project Citizen competition entry.

The participating students were encouraged to find a local problem and develop a solution.

It had to involve local public policy.

The South Dade students found that too much trash was being thrown on the ground at the Black Point Park and Marina. They studied the problem and considered possible solutions.

They decided the best solution would be to place signs around the park stating that littering was illegal and could result in a fine. The sign they recommend installing would say “no littering” and then state that littering could result in a fine and there is Florida statute. The fine in Florida for littering is a minimum of $150.

“Littering has been a problem at Black Point and the students found that there were no signs showing that littering was not allowed. They showed that putting up signs showing the consequences of littering would be a good solution,” said Heather Rodriguez the debate class teacher. “The students conducted a survey and over 60 percent of the respondents said that if they knew the fine for littering, they would be less likely to litter.”

They created a series of boards describing the problem, some possible solutions and how they would implement the solutions.

This project was presented to judges at the district level for Project Citizen which encourages young people to become active citizens in their local community.

The South Dade project was ranked in the top three and will be presented at a state competition. If the presentation is successful at the state level, it will be presented at a national competition in July, according to Rodriguez.

Rodriguez was proud of the work the students completed. “They worked very hard on the project and they were successful. I believe they did a good job,” she said.

Genesis Puig, a student who worked on the project said, “We saw there was a need for signs that would show people not to litter in the park. We believe the signs will be effective.”

Malik Williams came up with the idea of working to reduce littering at Black Point. “We did some brainstorming. There have been a lot of clean-up efforts at Black Point. I thought reducing littering would make a good project,” he said.

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