WEST ORANGE, NJ – Students in Paul Stefanelli’s third-grade class at Redwood Elementary School entertained and informed parents and guests during the annual Patriots v. Loyalists debate.

Parents and family jammed the classroom to hear students debate the reasons for choosing the side of the patriots or the loyalists during the American Revolution. With compelling arguments and often humorous presentations, students shared their supporting facts and details as parents played the colonists.

The debate consisted of opening arguments from both sides, with three pro and three con statements, a poster display and closing arguments. Stefanelli and student teacher Sarah Byrne worked with students to prepare their facts and research using a multimedia approach from numerous sources.

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Patriot arguments included the view that there should be no taxation without representation; the imposition of the Stamp and Quartering Acts along with others to pay off England’s debt; the killing of patriots; and the desire for freedom.

Loyalists viewed King George as a benevolent king, providing services and protection.

“After the debate, there was a Q and A session and trivia game, with parents versus students,” said Stefanelli.

Although the final vote supported the patriot view, it wasn’t easy to decide which side had the more compelling argument, according to Stefanelli.

“The Loyalists vs. Patriots debate made all those in attendance think about the point of view of both sides, and the students did a phenomenal job,” he said. “Their hard work and knowledge was evident throughout the debate.” 

See more photos here.