Submitted by Teacher Librarian Marilyn Lunde
Marilyn Lunde, teacher librarian at J.L. Crowe Secondary and the Kootenay coordinator for the Debate and Speech Association of BC recently travelled to Eastern Canada with students to attend a national debate gathering.
”I had the wonderful opportunity to go to Halifax to attend the 2016 Junior National Debate Seminar held between May 19 and the May 23,” said Lunde.
“It was a fantastic experience and I am so proud of our students.”
The team of 10 students included former JL Crowe student, Justin Kulik, and Margaret Saville of LV Rogers in Nelson. Both of these students were the top Grade 9 debaters in their respective regions of the Okanagan and the Kootenays. Paired together, they won three of their six debates.
Four BC debaters were in the top 10 and two more in the top 20.
This was a fantastic event whereby 70 debaters from seven provinces across the country demonstrated their skill development.
Students showcased their speaking ability at the Halifax Grammar School and University of King’s College on the Dalhousie campus. Established in 1789, this was the first English speaking university in the Commonwealth and Canada outside of the United Kingdom.
The tournament consisted of two prepared rounds in the Canadian National Debate Format style (CNDF). The resolution was: Be it resolved that the United Kingdom should leave the European Union. The following day the teams debated four rounds impromptu CNDF style whereby the topics were announced and one half-hour prep time was given before the round.
The topics included: Civil disobedience should not be against the law as a form of protest; This House would say that Batman should give up his “no kill” policy; This House, as an International Olympic Committee, would bar Russian athletes from the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro; This house believes that the developed world should bear the financial burden of combating climate change.
The last rounds including the quarter finals, semis and finals whereby the top eight teams were narrowed from a field of 36 to four and then from four to the top two teams of the tourney. The topics for those rounds included: This house would ban the use of animals for human entertainment; There has been a cure found for old age so this house would pursue immortality; and the final topic between the two top teams was: As a member of the Republican Party this House would vote for Hilary Clinton.
The models outlined and refutations were countered in a fluid and knowledgeable manner. Students were limited to six-minute constructive speeches and three-minute final rebuttals.
The Junior National 2016 Halifax experience provided the country’s best junior debaters an opportunity to also share in the local culture through a double decker bus ride to the downtown boardwalk located on the Halifax Harbour.
From the two-hour Harbour Queen cruise students saw Canada’s newest east coast guard ship, the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent, Pier 21 and Canadian defence vessels. The trip highlighted a view of Canada’s historic George’s Island where Fort Charlotte was located. This was part of “Halifax Defence Complex” and one of the interesting sites encountered on the eight-kilometre cruise on one of the world’s deepest harbours.
The students were able to enjoy a Thai restaurant dinner, a carnival and auction, and an awards banquet at Prince Hall on the Dalhousie grounds. The whirlwind of activity including debating, sight-seeing, walking 10,000 steps a day and meeting new friends is sure to last a lifetime.
All this was jam packed into four days including travel from the west coast to the Maritimes and back.