No argument: debate tournament benefits high schoolers and university

Students from Assumption and Massey high schools face off in debate Friday at the Odette School of Business.Students from Assumption and Massey high schools face off in debate Friday at the Odette School of Business.

Hosting the Richard Peddie High School Debate Tournament is a great way for the Odette School of Business to reach local secondary students, say the two second-year business majors directing the event this year.

“Students get to come to the business school and explore classrooms and other opportunities,” says Sarah Carriere. “It’s a networking experience that also can really improve their communications skills, their presentation skills — things that are useful in any field, but especially in business.”

More than 30 UWindsor student volunteers helped to mount the competition, which brought 68 teams from 10 local high schools to campus Friday for debates on everything from school uniforms to universal basic income.

Carriere and her partner as tournament director, Sophia Mannina, graduated from Tecumseh Vista Academy two year ago. Mannina says her high school didn’t have a debate club when she studied there, so she was particularly excited to have teams from her alma mater sign on.

“It’s great to see such participation from the students,” she says.

Teachers from St. Anne’s Catholic High School call the tournament a “fantastic opportunity” for their students.

“It develops their public speaking, their critical thinking,” says John Cuzzocrea.

His colleague Kris Procyk notes that in addition to honing skills in debate, the competition exposes students to the campus.

“The university does a great job of organizing the debates,” he says. “The students get to come to the university and they get to interact with kids from across the system.”

Novice Marta Obersat-Johnson, a Grade 10 student at Sandwich Secondary School, says the experience is one she hopes to repeat.

“I had a lot of fun and would definitely like to go back,” she says. “It was a good place to meet new people and kids I wouldn’t have known otherwise.”

Assumption College Catholic High School was rated the best-performing school overall, with the duo of Austin Teshuba and Kiana Mokrain from Vincent Massey Secondary taking top team honours.

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