Twenty-one debaters from Wildflower School and L.V. Rogers competed at the 31st Annual Pumpkin Classic Debate Tournament in Trail on Oct. 27.
Many of the Grade 5 to 8 students competing in the novice category were first-time debaters and held their own against older more experienced students.
Participating schools from Kelowna, Trail, Rossland, Castlegar and Nelson were represented at the lively annual event designed to foster and impart critical thinking and communication skills.
Volunteer judges, made up of community members and former teachers, listened to opening arguments, a questioning period and then final rebuttal remarks from pairs of students that had prepared for the cross-examination method followed at this debate event level.
The debate teams at LVR and Wildflower are run as one of the student-led clubs that meet weekly. Student mentors from LVR have been working this fall with Wildflower students in preparation for the regional tournament.
Wildflower teacher Jeff Yasinchuk explained that the preparation for the debate included students partaking in individual research, speech writing and practice debate sessions with a partner.
“Our students all did exceptionally well, including many first-time debaters. We had gold, silver and bronze finishes in the junior and senior divisions as well as a silver in the novice division,” said Naomi Ross, director of innovative learning at Kootenay Lake School District.
A second regional tournament is planned for December in Castlegar. In January 2019, LVR will host a third regional tournament. Aggregate individual scores as well as team scores go towards eligibility to compete in provincial and even national debate events held in varied locations.