By Kate Elfers
What is 2,578 miles away from Winsor? Calgary, Canada. While most Winsor students used Parent Teacher Conferences to sleep in, Winsor debaters woke up in Calgary over 2,000 miles away from home. Jessica Yamada ’14, Anissa Lee ’14, and Polly Gabrieli ’15 used the long weekend to represent Winsor at the International Independent School Public Speaking Competition.
These three students have been working hard all year in the art of debate. Each year Ms. Berg hosts a tryout to choose which students will represent Winsor at the International Debate to debate with students from schools in the U.K, Canada, India, Bermuda, and the U.S. At the debate, students competed in three different events: Persuasive Speaking, Interpretive Reading, and Parliamentary Debate. Persuasive Speaking is an event where people speak for seven to 13 minutes on a topic of one’s choice. In this debate Yamada spoke about sexual violence in Somalia, Lee spoke about human trafficking in the US and Canada, and Gabrieli spoke about agricultural subsidies. Interpretive Reading is seven to 11 minutes of reading a passage from a book. Yamada chose a reading from Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens, Lee read from Night by Elie Wiesel, and Gabrieli read from Sophie’s Choice by William Styron. For Parliamentary, students debate larger relevant issues such as gun control, legalization of marijuana, or drone warfare.
While debate is a lot of hard work, these students also find it fun. After asking Anissa Lee ’14 what her favorite part of debate is, she said, “Thinking on the spot. It’s sometimes nerve-wracking to hear an opponent’s point and then only have several minutes to refute it, but it’s kind of exciting too. You learn to think on your feet and be spontaneous. Sometimes it works out, and sometimes it doesn’t. I guess that’s the fun of it.” After such so much time spent in preparation, the Anissa, Jessica, and Pauli return to Winsor with valuable experience on the international stage. Congratulations to Yamada, Lee, and Gabrieli.