Félicitations! Novice debating team makes mark at French National Debate Championships
It was likely more than beginners’ luck. It was a wonderful showing for Mare & Clé Clé, the Branksome debating duo who finished seventh overall at the French National Debate Championships. Individually, Mare finished seventh and Clé Clé 11th. The French-language debate was hosted online by the Ontario Student Debating Union, May 7 and 8.
Considering it was only Clé-Clé’s second time debating, ever, and Mare’s first time debating in French, these are impressive results.
“It was an amazing learning experience,” says Mare. “We both learned a lot. There were times we were unsure, but we persevered and were able to make it into the ‘bubble round,’ the debating terms for going up against finalists.”
The topics ran the gamut and inspired the competitors to think on their feet.
“My biggest highlight was the vast variety of motions in the unprepared rounds,” says Clé-Clé. “The topics ranged from spatial exploration to media to politicians.”
Mare says a highlight was going up against students from all across Canada and increasing her understanding of Canadian francophone culture by debating against French speakers from New Brunswick, Ottawa, Quebec and British Columbia. “The tournament was challenging at times but also exhilarating,” she says.
Coach Grace Nolan is extremely proud of a new team ready to take risks. “It's such a fantastic result for a team that started debate this school year.” Not to mention, she says, this year’s forums presented new obstacles, to say the least.
“There were numerous new platforms that the debate team had to navigate and figure out,” says Nolan, "but [fellow coaches] Owen [Williams], Georgia [Samuel] and I are proud of our debaters achievements and resiliency. From videos and mics not working, to frozen Zooms, the Branksome debaters took it all in stride.”