Debaters Take on Provincials
Debaters Take on Provincials
This past Friday and Saturday, 14 Brentwood debaters competed in the Law Foundations Cup, British Columbia’s provincial debate championship. After their successes in regionals in late January, four senior teams and three junior teams advanced to provincials, where they joined 50 other teams and faced off against some of the province’s top debaters.
Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, all tournaments have been over Zoom this year which means that they were debating in a classroom on campus or from the comfort of their own rooms. The level of competition is always very high at provincials, especially with the highly experienced Vancouver teams, but Brentwood came prepared, armed with knowledge from their coach Mr Bryant and the program’s three Captains, Lisa M, Hope ‘22, Lucinda G, Allard ‘22, and Caiden T, Whittall ‘22.
The tournament began on Friday afternoon with two rounds of prepared debate about a topic that students were given weeks beforehand. The juniors argued whether or not attempted and committed crimes should be punished equally and the senior teams debated if non-disclosure agreements should be allowed in settling civil lawsuits. These are not topics that would usually come up in an average conversation with a high school student, but these highly motivated academics put in the time to research their topics and prepare their arguments. “That’s one of the great things about debate” says Phoebe K, Mack ‘24, “It forces you to examine issues from both sides and has helped me be more understanding of people I don’t initially agree with.”
While the rest of the school got to sleep in and enjoy a peaceful Wellness Saturday, the debaters were up bright and early for a full day of three rounds of impromptu debate. In impromptu, we are given a random topic and 30 minutes to prepare a speech or two, depending on the role of each partner. This style of debate is not always easy, and to be effective, they have to practice organizing all of their thoughts in a time crunch. This is another example of the life skills debate teaches: debaters have to learn how to express themselves clearly and concisely in a convincing manner - in a short period of time. Their arguments have to be logically sound, and they have to be able to defend their stance even when the other team tries to tear down their points.
The tournament results were posted later that afternoon. In the junior category, Hamish G, Rogers ‘25 was Brentwood’s top speaker. In the senior category, the talented duo of Daniel J, Privett ‘24, and Sebastian EG, Whittall ‘24 were the top Brentwood team, finishing in the top half of all senior teams, despite only being in Grade 10. “I am very proud of all of our provincial debaters,” remarks debate coach Mr Neil Bryant, “Digital debate is less than ideal but we’re looking forward to going back to live face-to-face next year.”
Congratulations to all of the debaters who invested their time and energy into this tournament and thank you to our Coaches and Captains for their infinite wisdom and organization!
Maxine P, Alex ‘23