Whether you’ve seen them behind the podium, in the classroom, or on the stage, debaters continue to be Brentwood’s emphatic powerhouse for thought-provoking discussion and fierce competition. This year, debate became the school’s largest fine art, with over 100 students enrolled in the course. Every student learned to improve their public speaking, quick thinking, and political analyses but many went on to represent the school and themselves on the local and even international level.
In debate, students participated in a range of accredited tournaments. Highlights included an all-Brentwood final at the Golden Gnome Tournament in Victoria where Sarah R and Amelia H took the statue home, Rohin A and Amelia H travelling to the mainland for BC Qualifiers, and Jaylynn Barth and Sunil Cotterill competing at the Oxford Cup in Toronto. The season culminated in Brentwood hosting regionals for the Island, where multiple debaters qualified for the competitive provincial tournament. Finally, in a first for Brentwood history, Amelia H and Jaylynn Barth went on to win first at Provincials and then first at the National Debate Competition in Halifax.
For Model United Nations, students won awards at many tournaments including Vancouver MUN, ShawMUN, and ConnectMUN. Over the spring break, a group of avid MUNers also travelled to Paris and Madrid, where they participated in the distinguished Harvard Model Congress.
Were that not enough, there were also many victories on the public speaking front. A contingent of students qualified for public speaking Provincials where Emma Mandziuk took first and Didi O took second in the dramatic monologue category. In the fall, three students went to Toronto for the complicatedly named International Independent School’s Public Speaking Competition, where Amelia and Jaylynn took first in debate and Jaylynn came second in the after-dinner speaking category. Eventually, the team brought the craft home with a lively public speaking interhouse competition.
While the hardware and accolades of the year were both pleasing and well deserved, the best part of this year’s debate was the growth of every member of the program. We learned how to communicate our thoughts and refuse to back down from an intense opposition. Thank you to the coaches who helped us through it all.
Jaylynn Barth, Allard ‘19, Debate Captain