Annex Classes

This Winter/Spring we are offering three classes in our Annex program

Registration and sign-up for these classes is done independently from Debate and Model UN classes. See payment information below each class description.

REGISTRATION for all three classes is open!!

Location: The Quaker Meetinghouse in West Hartford.

Ask about our virtual attendance option.

AGES: All ages are welcome, provided that students can constructively and creatively engage with the material (typical range is from 11-18).


American Sign Language

INSTRUCTOR: Stacy Kluczwski

Mondays January 23rd - March 27th, 4:30-6:00PM

Course description

Westfield Academy is proud to introduce a new 10-week American Sign Language (ASL) program this January.  The first course is designed to teach: Beginning conversational signs, fingerspelling, myths and misconceptions about sign language, Deaf etiquette and Deaf culture (including locally).

Students gain many benefits from learning ASL in addition to acquiring another language. Using ASL can aid in helping physically with dexterity (fine and gross motor skills), mirroring capabilities, as well as making you more aware of how you present yourself and better able to interpret other people's facial expressions and body language (particularly your opponent's during a debate).  ASL can also assist cognitively: it requires you to use another part of the brain for language, can make abstract concepts tangible and provide another avenue for memory retention, etc.—plus it’s loads of fun!!

Westfield is exploring the possibility of offering debate to D/deaf children.  We want to continue to expand our ability to give the gift of debate to all children.  Imagine testing your skills by learning to debate in another language.  

Being a debater is not a requirement of this class and no previous debate experience is required.  We are offering a 10-week beginning session to start with the intent of offering a subsequent session immediately following.


COST: $260

PAYMENT: Mail check made out to ‘Westfield Academy’ to: Westfield Academy, 118 Castle Road, Bristol CT 06010.

QUESTIONS????  Contact Stacy at or call 860-614-5667.





Mondays January 23rd - May 30th, 4:30 - 6:00PM


I am thrilled to be joining the Westfield Academy Annex program with this course on intellectual humor in speaking. I have been refining this curriculum over the past five years at our summer camp and look forward to taking it to a new audience (though returning students of mine certainly stand to benefit from it as well). Each student will write at least one complete speech, which is designed to entertain as well as inform.    Most of our time spent debating and public speaking is spent focused on structure, logic, analytical skills, and applied to serious conversations about important topics. It is easy to forget that we, as orators, do not always need to be serious, even when the subject matter is important. This class will focus in on the importance of humor and satire in persuading and educating an audience. We will try to find topics that each student is individually passionate about which lends itself lend themselves to a humorous speech. We will cover different formats that satire can take, including working in the After Dinner and Impromptu categories, both of which are used in nearly all speaking competitions at the high school level, including at the upcoming Kingswood Oxford Speaking Tournament. I also encourage anyone who wishes to train for this tournament to take this course, even if they do not plan on presenting a funny speech while there. The training with Impromptu Speaking and peer-led (add hyphen) critiques of this course will benefit any and all who are interested in participating. 

While there will not be particular week-by-week assignments, (add hyphens)  I do expect everyone to continuously work on their speeches throughout the semester. The only way to be a good writer is to be a frequent re-writer. We will learn how to give and receive constructive critical feedback, and learn about our collective and individual strengths and weaknesses, both as speechwriters and speech givers. 


COST: $270

PAYMENT: Mail check made out to ‘Westfield Academy’ to: Westfield Academy, 118 Castle Road, Bristol CT 06010.

QUESTIONS????  Contact Spencer at or call 860-940-0813.

Towards a More perfect Union: Morality and Public Policy in America (and Beyond)

Instructor: Connor Henderson

Thursdays January 12th - April 28th, 4:25 - 5:55PM

Course Description

Modern America is characterized by a desire for efficiency. In many ways this is a good thing--this urge has driven 250 years of exponential increase in our quality and length of life and an era of unprecedented economic dominance. Yet, in the face of the increasing rationality of policy and public life, it is hard to shake the sense that something has been lost. (One has only to look to the massive changes rocking American politics to see this viscerally represented.) This class will assert that what is missing is the balance between efficiency and aspiration that characterizes a healthy society. In other words, when crafting public policy and thinking about the direction of our nation, we have too often stopped asking a crucial question: What type of society do we aspire to be?

Given the broadness of the subject matter, this class will range widely. We will look at the environmental movement and civil rights movement as great aspirational moments. We may go as far back as the fight for abolition--one of the archetypal battles between aspiration and economic efficiency--and look at the most recent election as a telling contemporary case study. I hope that our discussion will be informed by the moral philosophy of policy, and, even more importantly, by the students’ own experiences and opinions. Ultimately, the subject of this class is an open question, an openness I hope to reflect as we ask our own questions like: Where do we strike the balance between respecting rights and materially improving lives? Is there a role for religion in modern public life, and, if so, what is it? How do we interact with those who hold social aspirations that we find to be morally wrong? Do we have a responsibility to aspire, and act on our aspirations, in our society?

Discussions will be the focal point of the course, so homework will be limited to non-existent on a weekly basis. I am looking for students who are interested in asking questions with an open mind as we explore the proper ways of citizenship and doing policy in a healthy society. This course will be particularly useful for debaters, as one of the main themes of the course will be providing philosophical frameworks for the justification of policy--a key ability in debate.

Please do not hesitate to contact Connor about the content or logistics. I look forward to meeting and learning with all of you! 


COST: $425

PAYMENT: Mail check to Connor Henderson at 11 Westfield Road West Hartford CT 06119.

QUESTIONS????  Contact Connor at or call 860-995-3401