It has been quite a year as Kootenay-Columbia debate students continued to excel at voicing their arguments online while other scholastic events were heading out of COVID protocols with in-person formats.
To that end, the local regional team consisting of JL Crowe’s Liam Skeoch and Rossland Summit School’s Finn Adamson attended the Junior National Debate Tournament hosted virtually by the Debate and Speech Association of BC.
Students attended from the Atlantic coast as far as Nova Scotia, to Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, ending up on the B.C. Pacific coast. This cross-Canada tournament consisted of 2.5 days talking, listening and waiting.
The tournament was held from Friday, May 20 to Sunday, May 22. Over that 48 hour period, over 22 hours of debate were held via Zoom.
Skeoch and Adamson came away with three wins and a 16th place finish as a team, including some scholarly adjudication from their rounds.
Skeoch moved up more than 40 spaces from last year to place 13th overall individually.
The two boys were part of the overall winning B.C. team.
Their newfound understanding will strengthen future debate participation.
It provided educational opportunities and a chance to have fun debating the top calibre students from each province.
“We look forward to next year and putting the newly learned skills into practice,” says JL Crowe teacher sponsor Marilyn Lunde.
Studying for debates
In preparation for the competition Skeoch and Adamson along with JL Crowe Club student, Emma Ford, practiced with Lower Mainland coach, Fredrick Ni, to hone their case for the prepared topic.
These sessions were held every Tuesday and Thursday evening for 90 minutes.
Coach Ni’s expertise extended their understanding of Western Liberal Democracies in contrast to other political ideologies and topics from around the world.
The first two rounds of prepared topics for the Junior Nationals were held Friday night.
Round 1 and Round 2: “This house would abolish the private ownership of property in major metropolitan areas.”
The topic relevance linked directly to the housing issues in Vancouver and Toronto.
Students had to debate both sides.
On Saturday, May 21, the junior teams participated in four rounds of impromptu debating using the Canadian National Debate Format.
Students were given only 30 minutes to prepare their case before facing their opponents. Topics included:
Round 3: Open-book assessments allow students to use notes, information, or other resources during a test, as opposed to closed-book assessments, which ask students to complete the assessment without any outside aid/knowledge. Therefore, “This house believes that all forms of testing in the education system should be open-book assessments.”
Round 4: “This house would impose a significant tax on fast fashion.” Fast fashion is a term used to describe inexpensive clothing produced rapidly by large retail brands in response to the latest trends.
Round 5: “This house would prohibit the public broadcasting of courtroom footage.”
Round 6: “This house regrets the rise of celebrity involvement in politics.” This refers to, for example, publicly endorsing candidates, making large public donations, and running for office. Round 6 concluded the cross-Canada student participation before the final break was announced.
The quarter, semi and finals were completed on Sunday, May 22.
These break rounds showcased the top eight teams out of 20. Their topics were as follows:
Round 7: “This house believes that the federal government should allocate funding to provinces inversely proportional to their carbon emissions.”
Round 8: “This house believes that high schools should focus on preparing students for local workforce needs rather than focusing on well-rounded basic education.” (Such as mathematics, literature, physical and biological sciences, art, history.)
The final topic was: “This government would make a pill that would make you contented all the time. This is not reversible.”