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Student Life


Debating at SJR

At SJR, we offer a world-class debating program. SJR students have been named World Debating Champion 15 times in the past 32 years – a record unmatched by any other school.

    • Debating at SJR

Debating and public speaking play a significant role in the curriculum and traditions of our School. As early as Kindergarten, students are selected to be the ‘Star of the Day’ and, as part of that role, give oral presentations on a variety of subjects. Opportunities for public speaking continue in the form of classroom and assembly presentations, dramatic readings in Grade 4 and ‘The Ultimate Speaking Club’ in Grade 5. By Middle School, our students are well-equipped to begin debating and public speaking as part of the curriculum. Senior School students regularly participate in debating competitions, including the National Public Speaking Championship, hosted by SJR.
Our debating and public speaking program develops crucial life skills which help our students:

  • Develop critical thinking skills
  • Articulate their thoughts
  • Learn how to think on their feet
  • Present to any audience confidently
  • Empathize with different views
  • Problem-solve
  • Understand current events
  • Broaden their world view

Seth, Class of 2008

SJR has the best public speaking and debating program in the world. In everything I’ve done, I’ve used the most fundamental skills I learned from the SJR debate team.”

List of 2 members.

  • Photo of Graeme Berrington

    Graeme Berrington 08

    Middle/Senior School Debate & Social Studies Teacher
  • Photo of Leora Diakuw

    Leora Diakuw 

    Middle School / Senior School Teacher
St. John’s-Ravenscourt School was founded in 1820 principally to serve the children of the Selkirk settlers. By 1834 there were forty students, evenly split between boys and girls. SJR has inevitably grown and changed over the years since, though its success throughout has been unimpeachable. We have graduated 18 Rhodes scholars, for example, and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II granted patronage and established a scholarship in her name in 1981. Today the programs are as strong as our reputation. A strong academic program is paired with an equally strong attention to the values of stewardship, ethical leadership, and excellence in all areas of academic, social and athletic life.