Last Friday in the wee hours of the morning, 12 Westfielders - Ben Manus, Kyle, Seamus, Siobhan, Ben Mione, Patrick, Eliza, Kay-Lin, Ben Small, Oliver, Piper and Delaney - and 2 intrepid chaperones - Michael and I - headed to McGill to participate in a debate competition McGill puts on each year. The format McGill uses is British Parliamentary, a debating style that is not used at the high school level in the US but is becoming increasingly popular at the collegiate level. Instead of 2 v 2 it is 4 v 4. So there are 2 teams on each side but each team competes against the other 3 teams in the room even though another team is advocating for the same position that it is. We are the only American team that attends this competition. Even though we are much less familiar with this format than the other debaters, McGill is my favorite debate competition all year because I think our debaters learn the most here. This debating format stresses certain skills that are really helpful to us. Plus, BP is a lot of fun. It has a whole other layer of strategy on top of what we already do.
There are incredible debaters at McGill who are familiar with this format. But, our debaters did great!
Some of the highlights:
Kyle and Seamus were our top team! – they took 19th
Patrick and Eliza were our next team at 34th
Ben Small and Ben Mione were our next team at 37th
Top Westfield Speakers - out of almost 250 debaters:
Eliza was First at 41st
Ben Small was Second at 48th
Three way tie for Third at 49th – Patrick, Ben Mione and Delaney
Oliver took 8th Novice Speaker and Oliver and Kay-Lin took 8th place Novice Team
And Siobhan, at her first ever debate competition, did an incredible job!!
Beginning Friday afternoon, each of our debaters debated 6 rounds. McGill’s college debate team is extremely strong and every round was judged by two McGill debaters. After each round, the debaters left the room while the judges deliberated. Then, they went back in and the judges told them how each team had done and gave them incredible feedback and answered questions. One of our teams received thirty minutes of feedback after one of their rounds.
After watching the final round, we all had a late dinner Saturday night in Montreal at the same restaurant we go to each year and they remembered us! Sunday morning we all did our traditional hike up Mont Royale to get a gorgeous view of the city. We were joined at the tournament by two Westfield graduates: James Ward, now attends McGill and is on the McGill debate team and was one of the judges and Meghan was on break from Bates. It was so great to see both of them. They had both competed at McGill with Westfield multiple times.