Brentwood Debate 1970

Thursday, March 28, 2019 - By: Graham Vink

Last month the team of Amelia H, Allard ‘20 and Jaylyn B, Allard ‘20 won the BC Provincial Debate Championship. This remarkable accomplishment got Brian Carr reflecting on the storied history of debate at Brentwood.

The first formal year of debating at Brentwood was in 1970. Below is the report from the yearbook written by Grade 11 student, Graham Vink.

Graham is a now award-winning US newspaper journalist, who specializes in public affairs, crisis management, media relations and advanced training for high-profile organizations and clients in the US and Asia. His experience includes two decades as a US print journalist and almost a decade of senior-level public relations work in the US and Asia.

Unlike the demands of so many other clubs, debating calls for a maximum of talking and a minimum of action. It was this cheerful precept that encouraged us through the tournaments, and as a result we have had a very successful year.

This is the first time that there has been extensive debating at Brentwood both on the junior and senior levels, and the results have been most gratifying. The standard of debate on both levels was, for the most part, very high, and even more accomplishment and improvement is expected in the years to come. 

One of the highlights of the year was when George Benmore and I went to Toronto to compete in the Trinity College School Interprovincial Debating Tournament. This was a very worthwhile experience, not only from the debating standpoint, but also for the opportunity of meeting people from all across Canada. It really was a wonderful trip, especially for the two students who had a day after the tournament to themselves in Toronto, while Mr Bunch spent the night in a Vancouver hotel, waiting for the fog to clear in Victoria. Next year this tournament will be held again, and we hope to participate. This time, however, we have to become the B.C. champions first. 

In March, Brentwood entered the B.C. Independent Schools Debating Tournament which was sponsored by the Convent of the Sacred Heart School in Vancouver. Representing the school on the junior level were Peter Kulich, Paul Rothery, Jim Russell and Embert Van Tilburg. Speaking in the senior division were Wade Davis, Peter Farran, John Schinbein and myself. Great was the jubilation of all when it was discovered that the Brentwood debaters had won all the first round debates - a worthy achievement in itself. We then found out that on the senior level, Wade Davis and I had amassed the highest number of points on the affirmative side of the motion, and Peter Farran and John Schinbein had gained the highest number of points on the negative side. As the same school cannot debate against itself, it was decided that Wade and I would debate in the final round. We did, and in the first year that Brentwood had ever entered this debating contest, we won the Newman Cup for best school team. Two other excellent performances were also displayed by Peter Farran and John Schinbein, who won cups for the 2nd and 3rd best individual speakers, respectively. 

Our very sincere thanks must also go here to Mr. Prowse, Mr. Lironi and Mr. Bunch, who trained, us, criticized and encouraged us in what, for debating, has been a most successful and worthwhile year. 

Graham Vink

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