Brentwood at the Gnomes

Monday, January 18, 2016 - By: David M, Rogers ‘17

On the eve of the 4th of December, a small Brentwood bus made its way to Oak Bay High in the heart of Victoria. Inside this bus was a group of terrified but thrilled students, ready to leave their all on the floor at the Golden Gnome Speech Contest. 

The following day, another Brentwood bus would make the same route, but this time with a troupe of Brentwood’s best debaters in hand. Both of these groups’ ultimate goal was to lift the prestigious and elusive Golden Gnome. At the end of these two intense days of debate and speeches, Brentwood students would come back to campus with a feeling of both accomplishment and victory.

The first day of the tournament consisted of two speech rounds, the preliminary stages and the finals. As our students streamed into the brand new Oak Bay High, they found themselves in front of a rather large crowd of competitors. Anxiety was at an all time high, but we were reassured that our hours of hard work would soon pay off in the tournament that was about to begin. Soon the rooms were drawn and the students shuffled into the different areas, ready to carry the torch of Brentwood with their finely crafted speeches. 

After a grueling 45 minutes of the first round, all the students were asked to file into the ‘black box’ of Oak Bay High, a brand new performing arts building. Finalists for both Junior categories were named, and then presented. They were then followed by the Senior after-dinner finalists, and then the night was closed off by the Senior persuasive speakers, one of them being Brentwood’s, David M. After a formidable face-off in the final, all the students once again filed into the bus feeling accomplished and hopeful that Brentwood would lift the Golden Gnome the following day.

Morning on Saturday the 5th came early for the Brentwood debate team. As the clock turned to 8, the bus was once again off to the heart of Victoria. The costume-clad students inside had spent the past few weeks preparing for two rounds of debate on the resolution, “Be it resolved that Canada should raise its foreign aid spending to the Pearson’s International Minimum of 0.7% of GDP.” As the Brentwood Debate Team arrived, they noticed the the competition was quite intense, as some of the best debaters from the province had come to spar for the gnome. 

The first two rounds went relatively well for Brentwood, as two of our teams qualified in the top 8 of the tournament. Two impromptu rounds followed, and the Brentwood teams continued to succeed. At the end of these exhausting days, all the competitors made their way into the theater to watch the final round of debate. Afyz M & Kavi G were faced with two of the province’s best debaters. Heavy rhetoric, great signposting, an interesting father-son duo (Afyz was Justin Trudeau, and Kavi was Pierre Trudeau) and strong competition made for a passionate debate.

As the debate drew to a close, the audience was allowed to pick the team which they thought to had won the debate. Brentwood’s two debate finalists sadly lost the tournament by two points, but still walked away with two mini-gnomes for their valiant efforts throughout the weekend. David M, Brentwood’s Speech Finalist, was able to snag the Golden Gnome for the Senior Persuasive Speech category. 

At the end of a grueling two days of debate, the team returned to campus, victorious, and with three rather unsettling little men.

David M, Rogers ‘17

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