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GNS Shines at Debate Competitions

The GNS debate club had a strong showing at Provincials where they had students in Senior, Junior and Novice teams all compete. 
The GNS debate club has been showing off their strong arguments all year. With nearly 100 students in the club, they have been finding success at many tournaments. Most recently, the group attended the Law Foundation Cup (Debate Provincials) from February 28 to 29 at St. George’s Senior School. At Provincials, GNS had 10 students compete in various Senior, Junior and Novice teams. 

“Our novices (Luca and Owen), even though they are in Grade 6 and 7 respectively, came first in the novice category, which means they won the Grade 8 trophy,” explained debate coach, Ms. Elspeth Easton. “Then our junior team did well and our senior teams. We had two in the bubble rounds. Our team of Sofie and Charlotte came in fifth, and Andrew and Alexander came in eighth. Our other senior team was also in the top 20, so overall they were all fantastic!”  

To get ready for the provincial debate, students studied the prepared topic, which was “BIRT minority communities be allowed to set up their court systems.” Additionally, they had to debate three impromptu topics during the tournament. 

The students put a lot of work into preparing for the debate, including booking extra meetings to discuss and research topics. However, there is one thing Ms. Easton likes the students to keep throughout their preparation, and that is their voice. 

“They all have their unique style and perspectives,” she said. “From my perspective, it’s just working with them to make sure they have the practice if they want it, but also access to the information. So, running seminars about topics in general, but also leaving room for them to discover their points because the great thing about debaters is they will find what they want to say, they don’t need me saying it for them.” 

Throughout the year the debate club was kept busy hosting Regionals and participating in various events, including the Queens University High School Tournament in Ontario. 

“It was the first time in over 18 years we had students in the bubble rounds there, which is one of the largest universities tournaments in Canada,” said Ms. Easton. “They also had a huge showing at UBC, and while there were a couple of competitions they were striving for and missed by a little bit, overall they are doing phenomenal.” 

The strong effort of the Senior debaters at GNS has seen them not only shine at these competitions and gain a good reputation on the university circuit, but they are also becoming great coaches by helping the younger students in the novice teams.

Ms. Easton says there are three key benefits she finds students gain from debate. First, it’s the skill to talk in front of people. Second, it helps students become better global citizens because they have to look at multiple topics and be able to debate both sides of an argument. 

“Finally, it’s a great community,” she said. “You have people who are interested in discussing world politics and social issues. Whether they do that in competition or by just throwing those ideas out in a meeting. It allows them to explore topics that often adults say are too big for students to handle, but more often than not they can find caveats or issues that point to why they will do a better job in the future than we have.” 

Next up, Sofie and Charlotte will be getting ready for nationals and look to defend their title from last year. Alexander and Andrew are first alternates and are also hoping to participate. Good luck at nationals GNS debaters! 
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