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GNS Debates Go Online

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Since spring break, our GNS Debate teams have been keeping busy with practices and have even been able to take part in competitions virtually. During the long weekend, GNS had two teams of Grade 11s participate in the first annual Simon Lono Invitational. 

This tournament saw 34 teams from across Canada come together online. GNS was ably represented by the teams of Alexander Muller Clemm and Gabby McPherson, and Andrew Wale and Anders Woodruff. 

“I expected it to be really different,” explained Alexander. “It felt pretty much the same as it does in person. I prefer the in-person over the online, there’s a bit more connection. But other than that I was surprised by how similar it was.” 

The GNS teams had an exceptional showing. After five rounds of competitive debates, both teams made it to the semi-finals. 

“The round went very well with Andrew and Anders progressing to the grand finals,” said Ms. Easton. “While ultimately they lost on a three to two split decision coming second, they were phenomenal.”

Anders said the success the group has seen over many debates, in general, has to do with the support they have been able to receive. 


“GNS performs consistently well, which I think can be in large part attributed to our debate coaches,” he said. “Their contribution has been critical to our success, whether it be playing debate games or teaching us about the Canadian constitution despite the students ‘just wanting to do a round.’ I’m very happy to see their work translate into a strong performance for all of the participants in this tournament.”

GNS was recognized individually and all students placed in the top 10 speakers event. Gabby came in ninth, Andrew in sixth, Anders in fifth and Alexander came in first. 

“It felt amazing to be in the top 10 speakers,” said Gabby. “Overall, the competition went really well. While it was harder to connect with the other debaters in between rounds, we could still chat with our opponents after rounds. I had a lot of fun. I was sceptical of an online tournament, but overall it was so nice to be debating again.” 

What made this specific online model unique was the NLSDU (Newfoundland and Labrador Speech and Debate Union) wanted this event to be accessible to all, so there was no cost to students, in honour of Simon Lono who founded the NLSDU and passed away last year. It was run by volunteers, and Ms. Easton had the pleasure of running the tabulation program and doing the draw.

The GNS Debate Club has been continuing with its practices to try and make things as normal as possible. They have been having online meetings and booking time with Ms. Easton. 

“The kids really are the ones taking the initiative to ask, and their positive attitude has been fantastic,” added Ms. Easton. 

Congratulations to all of the GNS debaters! Go Gryphons!