Four Branksome Hall Debaters Finish in Top 10 at Provincial Public Speaking Championships
“Not one, two or even three. But four Branksome Hall debaters finished in the top 10 at this year’s provincial public speaking championships!” tweeted Debate Coach Grace Nolan.
On November 25, five Branksome Debaters competed at the Senior Provincial Public Speaking Championships. Competing in four events—persuasive speaking, impromptu speaking, impromptu debate and interpretive reading—four of these students finished in the top 10.
Grade 12 student Mare won debate and interpretive reading, and Grade 12 student Maylee came second in impromptu speaking, while Grade 12 student Janice was fourth in impromptu speaking. Overall, Mare was second, Janice was fourth, Maylee was seventh and Fatima was ninth. Looking ahead, Janice and Mare will represent Branksome at the Senior National Public Speaking Championships.
For Janice, she focused her speech on the issue of equity regarding marginalized groups in curricula, especially when teaching about history. “I really enjoyed participating,” she said. “A lot of the people are my friends from when we actually competed in real life before COVID-19, and it was really nice to see them all again. I was proud to see how much I have grown, and Branksome did amazing work in sweeping the top scores. We only sent five people and four of us managed to make it into the top 10 as places 2, 4, 7, and 9. We were the school with the most amount of top 10 speakers.”
Maylee’s speech was on racism within Canada's political establishments. “I enjoyed the competition, while definitely different from in-person events, it was great having a team to work with in preparation,” she said. “Overall, this was a really good event for Branksome; we sent the maximum number of students to qualify for Nationals!”
Fatima is pleased at the results of the competition. “At Provincials, I placed ninth overall, which, for my second debate/public speaking tournament, was definitely not something I was expecting to do,” she said.
For the persuasive speaking category, Fatima spoke about the DeBeers diamond mining industry in Canada and South Africa, with specific focus on the mistreatment and exploitation of Indigenous peoples. For the interpretive reading category, she performed a short story by Tim Macy called The Brass Teapot. “The story is essentially about a couple who is in desperate need for money and how far they are willing to go for it.”
“Being a part of this team has taught me the importance of collaboration and the importance of ensuring you are uplifting those who are experiencing the same things you are,” said Fatima. “This team and the coaches are some of the most empathetic and encouraging people, and the whole process was made a lot easier with them!”
We wish to acknowledge this land on which Branksome operates. For thousands of years, it has been the traditional land of the Huron-Wendat, the Seneca, and most recently, the Mississaugas of the Credit River. Today, this meeting place is still the home to many Indigenous peoples from across Turtle Island and we are grateful to have the opportunity to work and go to school on this land.