Members of the ADSS Debate club travelled to Oak Bay Secondary School in November to compete in their first tournament of the season. Grade 12 students Liam Allen and Aimee Beaulac and Grade 11 students Beth Brown and Kiarra McNaught attended weekly meetings after school to prepare for the tournament.
The theme of the tournament this year was the environment and both the prepared and impromptu resolutions reflected this, ADSS teacher facilitator Jackie Chambers explained.
Currently the club is benefitting from the volunteer work of international consultant and researcher Dr. Teale Phelps Bondaroff, who joins the meetings via Skype. “With a PhD in Politics and International Studies from Cambridge University and 16 years of debating experience, including the world debating championships, Dr. Phelps Bondaroff is able to offer top-notch coaching to the students at ADSS,” Chambers said.
“After the tournament he stated that he was very impressed with all the hard work the students put into preparing for this tournament and that he is excited to see debate growing in Port Alberni,” she said. “He would encourage even more students to get involved.
The students’ efforts paid off as the senior team of Allen and Aimee placed third behind teams from Pearson College and Brentwood College. Twenty-six junior teams and 22 senior teams representing 11 schools attended the tournament in Oak Bay.
Chambers believes in the value of debating as students develop public speaking skills, critical thinking skills and gain insight into current events as well as philosophy.
When asked why she enjoys debating, Beaulac said: “Debating is an awesome way to learn new things and explore different perspectives on diverse issues.”
Students will now set their sights on the regional tournament Jan. 28 at Glenlyon Norfolk school in Victoria.