The 2007 SMUS Debating Tournament took place this Saturday, with five other schools coming to compete. Our students did very well at the tournament, taking first place in the Senior and Grade 8 categories, as well as second place in the Junior competition.
This year’s resolution hinged on the question of whether homelessness is a solvable problem. The 116 participating students debated both sides of the issue in teams of two. The Senior debates were conducted in parliamentary style, and the Junior and Grade 8 teams used a cross-examination format. Our students did so well that the Mayor of Victoria has expressed interest in visiting to speak with them.
Awards were given out for team and individual performance. Senior team Charles Leitz and Matthew Warner, Junior team Eric Proetzer and Robyn Hope, and Grade 8 team Julia Milden and Chris Fenje were SMUS’ top scorers. Julia Milden took first place in the individual category with 87 points, while Kristijan Gjorgjevik, Charles Leitz, and Robyn Hope each placed in the top five.
Former SMUS debater and recent graduate Justin McElroy returned to the school from the University of British Columbia and did the student briefing. Justin was a star of the debate team for four years, at one point winning the recitation competition with a standing ovation. For his help and for his skill as a debater, Mr. Hayden has renamed the tournament “J-Mc” in his honour. “He’s the essence of what a SMUS student can be,” says Mr. Hayden.
“Despite the idea that debate is considered confrontational, it’s intensely collaborative,” says Mr. Hayden. The students are adversarial for the debate itself, but respectful and supportive of each other during the event. Even the competing schools work together. A coach from Glenlyon-Norfolk did a briefing for Mr. Hayden and the tournament used software from Shawnigan Lake.
SMUS will also be hosting the National Debating Seminar in almost a month. The competition involves the top 10 debate students from most of the provinces and includes a model parliament.