High School Debate
[l-r] Odette Dean Allan Conway, Odette Debate Team Faculty Advisor Professor Vincent Georgie, Jenny Zhang, Shawn Liu Michael Chen, Victor Ouyang, and YuQi Sun from Massey Secondary School, Odette Debate Team Captain Michael Ruffolo and High School Debate event Chair Maggie Xie

Odette welcomes high school students for debating competition

Over 100 high school students from nine schools – two of which were first-time participants – attended the bi-annual Richard Peddie High School Debate at the Odette School of Business. The event was marked with a change to the American Parlimentarly Debate Association (APDA) style debate for the first time.

"We changed to the APDA format and the high schools loved it," said Michael Ruffolo, Captain of The Odette Debate Team.  "Previously, we ran a tournament that was business and parliamentary modified. This past tournament was run in true APDA style which meant students were given a better balance of previous research and on-your-feet thinking. Gone were the designated spontaneous or research debates. Now each debate contains both a spontaneous and a research aspect. With this comes a change in opportunities to speak, doing research on your topic of choice, providing a better experience to the high school students. This new format has even prompted some schools to rejoin the competition again.”

Each participating high school was able to get one-on-one training sessions, at their schools, with an Odette Debate Team member who helped explain the APDA format, review debate techniques, and provide feedback. One third year debater from the Home School team commented that she learned a lot on Friday – more than she has learned in past debates. Her teammates felt the same. Jill Huschilt, principle of Home School, mentioned having the debate team member come to their school was very helpful. The new format has allowed the judges to give great feedback and those students who listened were able to make improvements in their debating skills throughout the day. It was a great day with lots learned!

"We were so pleased to receive such a positive response from all teams,” added Maggie Xie, Chair of the Richard Peddie High School Debate. “They feel that they’ve been able to learn more and take away more through judge’s feedback from this semester’s event, and are eager to return next fall.” Huschilt went on to remark “We loved the APDA debate format! It was exciting and challenging! It was real debate! Please continue using this format!!”

Teams consisting of two-to-four students debate in four rounds of intense competition. Round parings were determined by points scored. Tallied total scores found semi-finalists to consist of three teams from Vincent Massey and one team from Holy Names. It turned out to be a Massey clean sweep. First place went to Shawn Liu and Michael Chen.  Victor Ouyang was awarded Best Individual Rebutter and Jenny Zhang won Best Individual Presenter.