Debating Success Around the World

posted: Monday, May 1, 2017

At St. John's-Ravenscourt, we are proud of our long history of debating. Our Public Speaking program is considered to be the best in the world - 14 of the past 30 World Public Speaking Championships have been won by SJR students - more than all other schools in the world combined!

Earlier this year, SJR attended the Queen's University Debating Tournament. All our students performed very well, with two Grade 9 students, Jonah and Maddie, winning the Junior Championships and, as a result, qualifying for the Young Debaters International Competition in Cambridge! Congratulations to Jonah and Maddie, as well as our other competitors in the tournament, Robert, Anthony, Kristin, Katherine, Ryan, Keerat, Owen and Alykhan (pictured below).
SJR students also attended the Acadia Tournament earlier this year, and came home with great success: In the Open (Individual) Category, Maddie came second, and Massimo came fifth; in the Open (Team) Category, Maddie and Massimo came first, and Lillian came third; in the Novice (Individual) Category, Gennaro came first, Lauren second, and Mackenzie third, and in the Novice (Team) Category, Mackenzie and Lauren came first, Gennaro and Jai came second, and Penelope and Lucy came fourth. 

The National Public Speaking Championships were held at SJR in February, and were a resounding success, thanks in large part to the wonderful support from the many members of parent and alumni community who volunteered to judge. The event was organized by the Grade 10 Debating class, who did a fantastic job. SJR competitors met with great success, with four of the top ten coming from our School. As a result, four of the seven students who qualified for the team representing Canada in the recent World Championships in Sydney, Australia earlier this month were SJR students: Raff, Kristin, Stefan and Liam. 

Involving hundreds of participants from all around the world, the World Public Speaking Championship is an annual international English language debating and public speaking tournament for individual high-school level students representing a diverse mix of high schools from countries as far-reaching as Hong Kong, Australia, Canada, the United States, England, South Africa, Lithuania, Pakistan, Argentina, India, Zimbabwe, South Korea, and more. The competition is “aligned with the ideals of excellence, identity, and the art of expression. It targets tomorrow's leaders - students in a global market who must learn to interact and collaborate with peers from diverse schools, cultural backgrounds and countries”. All four SJR students made the finals (at the World Individual Debating and Public Speaking Championships) of the championship - Stefan in Impromptu, Kristin in Persuasive Speaking, Raff in Persuasive Speaking and Impromptu, and Liam in Persuasive Speaking, Impromptu Speaking, and Debating. 

Liam is the new world champion in Impromptu Speaking, and placed third in the world in Persuasive Speaking. Congratulations to them all. With many Junior School students currently working hard to refine speeches for their upcoming Speech Day, our success at the recent World Championships is a timely reminder of how tiny acorns can grow into mighty oak trees.