It was a busy weekend for Alexis Kuo ’23, as she virtually attended the Canadian Student Debating Federation’s 2021 National Seminar
. From September 30 to October 3, Alexis joined peers from across the country as they practiced their skills of speech and debate.
“The words I would use to describe the seminar are fun and educational,” said Alexis. “Sometimes it was a bit tiring, but overall I would rate it as really fun because there were lots of guest speakers talking about the main theme of truth and reconciliation. We had some cool people speak to us.”
This year’s theme was “Reconciliation: Making the Calls to Action a Reality.”
“We discussed a lot about truth and reconciliation, and how to do it,” said Alexis. “Most of it was on education and trying to educate other people and ourselves.”
The seminar included keynote speaker Wab Kinew, Manitoba NDP Leader of the Opposition, who talked about residential schools, as well Judge David Arnot (Saskatchewan) and Senator Brian Francis (Prince Edward Island), who focused on education comparisons between First Nations, Métis, and Inuit schools with Canadian schools.
“There were many speeches and inspirational talks,” added Alexis. “There were also some famous debate coaches. Ms. Easton was one of them.”
Ms. Elspeth Easton was a coach for the model parliament workshop and session, where she taught the students about British Parliamentary style debate. Students attended other workshops as well, including one on learning Canadian national debate style and case construction.
This was the first debate seminar that Alexis has attended, and she said it gave her a great opportunity to develop her debating skills.
“Ms. Elspeth first told me about this opportunity and said it was a good place to learn how to debate. I think it was a great place to learn what I needed to do because I didn’t fully know how to debate,” she said. “My first year in debate was pretty hard because there were only a few tournaments and I was confused, but I think after this seminar I really learned a lot.”
Alexis noted she would recommend this seminar to anyone who wanted to learn more about debate!