EXPANDING OUR COMFORT ZONES AT JUNIOR DEBATE NATIONALS

By Lily Rich, Grade 8

From May 23–26, 2019, Kendall Barnes and I attended Junior National Debate Championships in Montreal.

It was our first time attending an event like this, and it was truly one of the coolest experiences we have ever had. On the first day, the tournament organizers planned an expedition around Old Montreal. From old churches to cobblestone streets, there is a certain kind of charm to the historic neighbourhood.

That night, the debating began with the resolution: "This House believes that provincial governments in Canada should have full authority over environmental legislation." It went well with lots of passionate speaking and good critiques. On the second day, we faced four rounds of impromptu debate. The first two rounds were interesting; we could really tell that this was Nationals with how everyone spoke and articulated themselves. The third day was filled with three rounds of finals, and, although we were not in any of the rounds, this is where we saw the true cream of the crop of debate. The finals resolutions were very challenging, such as how to encourage women to complete courses in computer coding, how developed nations should respond to underpopulation, and giving pardons to individuals who have committed cannabis-related crimes prior to its legalization in Canada. It was incredible to see how quickly these debaters developed cohesive arguments.
 
This national tournament was an incredible experience for Kendall and me. It was an amazing learning experience to debate against the best junior debaters in Canada. We would highly recommend that everyone step out of their comfort zones and try debating because you deserve to have the same phenomenal experience that we had at Junior National Debate Championships!

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