Students at Sachem High School North were treated to a unique civic experience on Friday, November 3. Two candidates for a seat in the Suffolk County Legislature debated at their alma mater.
William Lindsay III, the incumbent, and Anthony Piccirillo, his challenger, are running for a seat in Suffolk’s eighth legislative district. Lindsay graduated from Sachem in 1990, while Piccirillo in 2001.
The candidates debated six questions in about 30 minutes of time before nearly 200 students in the auditorium. All questions were submitted by Advanced Placement Government and Politics students and ranged in topics including the economy and workforce development to crime and political accountability.
“The significance of participating in the debate for our students is the awareness that the research, discussion, and efforts that they put into coming up with interesting and informative questions produced a meaningful debate between candidates discussing policy and issues that effects their lives,” said Tom Cestaro, chairperson of the social studies department at Sachem North. “Federalism is a confusing system that is often misunderstood. I believe our students learned first-hand that our democratic system is participatory and can impact them the most on the local level. They had a say today, that’s empowering.”
The debate was moderated and coordinated by Chris Vaccaro, the president and founder of the Sachem Alumni Association and a communications representative of the school district.
“Students were able to see the civic process unfold before their eyes,” said Vaccaro. “To involve hundreds of students and engage them with issues that impact their lives is very rewarding. There are so many successful Sachem alumni doing important work in government and politics and we’re very thankful that Mr. Lindsay and Mr. Piccirillo were able to spend some time at their alma mater for this event.”