Debate and Speech Term 1 Recap

By Ms. Tracey Lee, Senior Debate & Model UN Coach
November was a very busy month for WPGA debaters, who competed at local and national level tournaments every weekend. The month started off with the BC qualifying tournament for the Canadian BP Nationals. Both junior and senior WPGA teams participated in this event, which selects the top teams to represent BC at nationals. Congratulations to the senior team of Edison Tan ’21 and Vincent Gao ’21, who advanced to the national tournament, to be held in Saskatoon. Pierre Collet ’22 was the top-ranking junior, placing 2nd overall in this event.
A week later, our juniors accompanied team captain Alison Lee ’20 with her Team Canada teammates to Hamburg, Germany, to compete as part of the Canadian contingent at the European Debating Championships. Edison Tan ‘21, Annushka Agarwal ’22, Vincent Gao ’22 and Chelsea Hu ’23 were one of only 10 school teams in the competition, which included national teams from over 20 countries such as the USA, China, Mexico and Argentina. We were thrilled to learn that, after eight rounds of preliminary debates, WPGA was 5th overall, the highest-ranking school team in the event (just below the US and Canadian national teams!).
The month concluded with UBC’s annual high school debate tournament, the largest in Western Canada, with over 400 competitors from BC and Alberta. In the senior division, Edison Tan and Alison Lee faced off against our own WPGA team of Ethan Jasny ’21 and Adam Dawood ‘22 in the semifinals. All four seniors ranked in the top 20 speakers of the tournament, with Alison Lee placing 3rd overall. In the junior division, Vincent Gao, Annushka Agarwal and Rafeeq Kassam-Jiwani ’22 dominated the final tabs, placing 1st, 2nd and 3rd overall in a field of 244 junior debaters. It was a strong showing, with WPGA taking most of the top awards in both junior and senior divisions.
Public Speaking
If our debaters were experiencing successes, they would not be outmatched by our public speakers, who attended both the International Independent Schools Public Speaking competition in Boston as well as the BC Speech Provincials. Rafeeq Kassam-Jiwani was our highest-ranking competitor, placing 17th overall at IISPSC. His results qualify him as an alternate for the Canadian team to the Worlds Individual Public Speaking and Debate Championships, to be held in Shanghai in spring 2020. Kudos also to Mallory Moxham ’21, who placed 8th overall in the provincial speech championships and qualified for Senior National Speech in Winnipeg.
The upcoming weekends include two more tournaments before the holidays. Best of luck to our debaters competing at the BP Nationals in Saskatoon and to our five WPGA debaters who have advanced to the BC Qualifiers for the national team. Stay tuned for the results!