2023 Issues Day

2023 Issues Day

On Thursday, March 2, Saint Mary’s Hall celebrated its 31st annual Issues Day, a yearly tradition hosted by our Form 11 students. As the Head of Upper School, Liz Stockdale, said during her comments, “Skills, competency, and mastery permeate the Saint Mary's Hall Upper School experience in various ways. Issues Day speaks profoundly to our commitment to deep understanding, real-world application, and respectful civil discourse. Inviting dialogues of this magnitude exemplifies the bravery to question personal understandings, explore values, and engage in meaningful community membership. I am continuously impressed with the willingness of our students to lean into conversations of importance and openly learn more about the topics at hand.”

This year’s topic was, “How can Texas gun laws respect individual rights and uphold public safety?”  The panel was comprised of five distinguished speakers (listed below) and moderator David Henderson, who has beautifully moderated this SMH tradition for ten years. The conversation between our panelists about this timely and important issue included a broad diversity of ideas and ended with an extended Q&A session with students. Also this year, for the first time in history, Issues Day included a student debate on the issue.

During his opening comments, Head of School Len Miller said, “John Stuart Mill wrote that the individual “who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that.” Issues Day, an SMH hallmark event every year, is structured to present to students some of the very best arguments that can be made from multiple perspectives. Carefully considering arguments in this way gets at the root of Mill’s conviction, that to know one’s own perspective, you need to know others. In other words, “know and be known.” Issues Day demonstrates what students and faculty at SMH have always been committed to: fostering a dynamic learning community, openness to viewpoint diversity, and a desire to seek understanding about today’s most important issues.” 

Congratulations to the Issues Day 2023 Committee and sponsors on a timely, informative, and thought-provoking discussion.

Guest Panelists:

Nicole Golden
Executive Director
Texas Gun Sense

John T. Hunter
Practicing Faculty
St. Mary’s University School of Law
Hunter, Lane & Jampala PLLC

Dr. Laurie McGarry Klose
Owner and CEO
RespectED, LLC

Mike Mihalski
Founder and Co-owner
Sons of Liberty Gun Works

Cliff Paul
Ultimate Response Consultants

David Henderson
Ellwanger Law, Equal Rights Attorneys

The 2023 Issues Day Committee:
Chip Anderson
Christopher Chan
Sofia Dudhia
Sabrina Esmail
Sasha Glast
Avani Gunaganti
Sophie Holder
Sani Karkar
Phoebe Kopplin
Ria Mehta
Anna Vaquiax
Ines Wallisch
Rachel Weissmann
Cici Yang

Student Debaters:
Jonathan Tubb ‘23
Bardia Mizani ‘24

The Issues Day Sponsors:
Middle/Upper School Librarian & Instructional Technologist Gerri Walls
Upper/Middle School Library Assistant Allyson Allen
Upper School Speech and Debate teacher Matthew Reichle
Assistant Head of Upper School Jeff Hebert