In the days leading up to the DSABC qualifiers, Grade 8 students Kiyana and Jasmine were hard at work. With phone calls at night, meetings during the day, and many text messages in between (“my phone would light up at all hours in the evening!” Kiyana laughs), the pair guesses at least 50 hours of preparation and planning. Fortunately, the pair works well together. Kiyana is an expert researcher, strategist and planner. Jasmine excels in fast-thinking, maneuvering and rebutting. They also share one important trait: relentless competitiveness. Together, Kiyana and Jasmine are a force.
Though it was only Kiyana and Jasmine’s third-ever tournament, their work paid off and the duo earned a spot at provincials against the 17 other lower mainland teams. Kiyana also earned best speaker overall. “There was some tough competition,” they explain, “students with many years experience, who were competing with actual debate academies.” Kiyana and Jasmine, however, had all the support they needed from their own Meadowridge coaches: Grade 11 students Peter and Isabella, the leaders of the student-led Debate Club. As first-year members of the club, Kiyana and Jasmine have spent months learning from Peter and Isabella about everything from motions and rebuttals to speech structures and points.
You’d be surprised by the passion you might have for debate. Even if it means stepping out of your comfort zone, the CAS club is a place where you can just try it and see if you like it.
With their spot at provincials secured, there is again lots of learning, preparing and planning to be done. With just over a week to go, Kiyana and Jasmine find themselves hard at work once again. “One of the best things we do to prepare is to look at judges’ feedback from when we’ve lost,” they share, “that feedback is actually way more valuable than feedback from when we’ve won.” Here, they spot their speech’s potential and actual weaknesses. With their eyes set on nationals one day, this strategy will no doubt give them a competitive edge. “We know the competition is only going to get stronger.”
What’s your favourite part about debate?
Jasmine: “The adrenalin you get. I love thinking on my feet. My favourite part is refuting my opponents and proving them wrong. I like arguing in general – maybe not a great trait generally, but good for debate! – and like that it gives me the same adrenalin as when I fence.”
Kiyana: “Winning. I’m very, very competitive. The adrenalin is also a favourite part – you’re scared, but there’s that something that really pushes you forward.”
Why did you get involved in the debate club?
Jasmine and Kiyana: “We actually joined from peer pressure! [laughs] Kiyana’s sister told us to join because she thought nobody else would—it actually ended up being a very popular club, but we’re glad we got involved.”
What advice do you have for people who want to get involved?
Jasmine and Kiyana: “Just do it! You’d be surprised by the passion you might have for debate. Even if it means stepping out of your comfort zone, the CAS club is a place where you can just try it and see if you like it.”
Anyone you want to thank?
Jasmine and Kiyana: “Peter and Izzy and Akira (Grade 11 students), our debate coaches and supporters at school, and also Jasmine’s debate coaches outside of school. Also our parents – our parents have been very supportive! Kiyana’s sister, too, for pushing us to register in the first place.”