Dedication, practise, coaches and Alumna is the special sauce that makes The York School Debating Team present so strongly time and again!
“It’s my pleasure to share this update on our debate programme with our community. While I play a supervisory and organizational role, the heart of our club is the captains and the fabulous coaches from UofT’s Hart House Debating who inspire our debaters and teach them the skills that have led to our successes. I’d like to thank grade 10 debate captain and provincial qualifier, Kumkum A., for writing the update below.” --Rob Burkett
Despite running online this year, Grade 12 Head Captains Ben D. and Jamie R-B, have efficiently navigated debate to an online platform. With over 60 members in the middle and senior schools, each week debaters participate in seminars, workshops, games and practice rounds. These groups are led by our Senior School captains along with our experienced coaches Noah Pinno, James Yang, Simren Sharma and York Alumna Mia Feldman.
We’ve had a very successful and busy year so far!!
In October, York sent 4 teams to the OSDU BP Provincial Debating Championships. In the senior division, Stu B. and Dylan B. came 6th, and Grace L. and Ben D. came 9th. Stu and Dylan qualified to nationals where they came 15th in the country!! In the Junior Division, Grade 9 students Hayden L. and Carly S. came 8th overall at provincials, with Carly speaking 5th individually. This qualified them for nationals and last weekend they made it to the semi-finals (top 8 in the country).
In November, York sent 12 debaters to the Western University Fall Debate Tournament. A special mention for Lia T. and Maddie B. who came 18th overall out of 360 debaters from across the country. .
York also sent Grace L. Shoshana I. and Kumkum A. to the Senior Provincial Public Speaking Qualifiers where Grace L. came 4th in Impromptu speaking and all competitors placed in the top 20. These students are looking forward to competing at the International Independent School Public Speaking Championships later this year in order to hopefully earn a spot at Worlds in South Africa! Special thanks to our guest coach, York alumna and 2021 World Champion Ruby Grinberg, for helping prep these public speakers.
In December, York sent four teams to Toronto Regionals, a qualifier for OSDU’s Provincial tournament. The team of Kumkum A. and Grace P-H. came 5th and Stu B. and Dylan B. placed 6th, earning them both a spot at Provincials in February. Additionally, Grace L. spoke 6th, Kumkum spoke 8th, and Grace PH spoke 9th overall!!
We are also super excited for the Junior Provincial Public Speaking Qualifiers where MS and Grade 9 students Kaleigh, Layla, Hayden and Carly will compete for a spot at Nationals. A huge thank you to Gr 11 students Shoshana I. and Ashley K. for coaching them and helping them prepare for this competition.
Across these tournaments, debaters debated a range of motions, from international relations to economic policy, to social justice, to the environment. For example, at Toronto Regionals our teams debated the following motions:
This House would focus on climate activism over other forms of activism (ie racism, sexism)
This House Would abolish the International Criminal Court
This House Regrets the mainstreaming (art, media, politics) of cynicism
While we have had an amazing year so far, none of this would have been possible without the support of our amazing coaches and captains. Thank you so much to our UofT coaches for your constant dedication, and finally a massive thank you to Mr. Burkett for organizing and keeping York Debate running during a pandemic!!