Hart House British Parliamentary - Ben S. and Ryan broke to quarterfinals!

Congrats to our 10 Westfielders who traveled to the University of Toronto to compete in the HartHouse British Parliamentary High School debate Competition. Westfield was the only American team. In fact, Westfield is the only high school team in U.S. that does this style of debate. Ben S. and Ryan broke to quarterfinals and Ryan and Patrick placed in the top 20% of Individual Speakers in the large field despite the fact that the Canadians do this style all the time and we have only been able to do it twice this season. The last time at McGill Ben M.and Patrick made it to the Grand Finals! We stopped at Niagara Falls on the way home!

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Rule of Law

Westfield at the Rule of Law Conference held yesterday at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford. Wonderful gathering of judges, members of the media, attorneys, teachers and students to discuss the importance of the Rule of Law and the responsibility of each of us to protect it. Great opportunity for our kids to hear three CT Supreme Court justices, four Appellate Court judges and numerous Superior Court judges. All discussed critically necessity of getting students engaged and educated. Go Debate and MUN!

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McGill - Ben & Patrick made it to the Final Round!!

In the wee hours of Friday morning, 10 Westfielders  - Brendan Davis, Kevin Ntoni, Sharon Tang, Meghana Kandarpa. Grace Flynn, Abhi Aitha, Ryan Lafferty, Ben Mione, Oliver Shulman and Patrick Henderson - 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.  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 adds 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.  And Ben and Patrick made it to the Final Round!!  And they rocked the round!!  Check out our YouTube channel to see the recording of the final round. A few years ago, Patrick and Ben Small won the Junior Division which was incredible but, even though we have brought many amazing debaters to McGill, we have never before even broke to Semis in the Advanced Division which makes sense because it is a different style for us.  Many congratulations to Ben and Patrick for an amazing job!! 

Some of the other highlights:

  • Patrick took 9th Speaker overall out of a field of over 200.

  • Brendan and Kevin were the second place Westfield team at 26th place

  • Ryan and Meghana were third place Westfield team at 48th

  • Ben Mione took 16th Overall Speaker and Ryan took 38th

  • Grace was 14th Novice Speaker and Abhi was 19th.  They took 9th Junior team.

  • All our debaters were in the top half of speakers.

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!  We were joined by a Westfield graduate, James Ward, who now attends McGill and is on the McGill debate team.  It was so great to see him.  He competed at McGill with Westfield multiple times and that is how he came to apply there.