Last weekend, a trio from the SCCHS debate team headed to Saskatoon to face off in the Provincial Debate Championships.

The tournament ran from March 15 - 16 and roughly 60 students participated, including the Comp's Nick Dyckie, Annabelle Murray, and Brave Azorj. 

Mabel Derksen, a teacher at SCCHS, is proud of the students and glad that they were able to have this experience.

"The students that were competing were competing in the novice division," said Derksen. "The novice division is for students in grades nine - 12, who are in their first year of debate."

Derksen notes that none of the SCCHS debaters will be moving on to the National Championships, as only students who have been doing debate for more than one year are eligible. 

"Nick Dyckie won first place speaker in the novice division," Derksen added. "That means out of 16 speakers, he scored an average higher score than the other speakers in his division."

Students debated in pairs of two, Murray and Dyckie were partnered and received third place team.

"The Saskatchewan Elocution and Debate Association believes 'words are powerful', they're really encouraging students to be able to look at both sides of an issue," said Derksen.

"So if you have a contentious or controversial issue that is currently being debated in society and could potentially become law in the future," Derksen said. "Do you know why this idea would be a good idea, do you know why this idea would be a really bad idea?" 

The importance of student debate is teaching youth how to be more unbiased, think critically, develop public speaking, practice research skills, and collaborate.

"You have to get up there and not only be ready to present your side but you to be ready to take questions from your opposing side and defend your position," said Derksen. "But also be able to point out to the other side what the weaknesses are in their position.

"That takes a lot of quick thinking and to be able to come up with a response and to try to analyze what's logically incorrect about someone else's position," Derksen concluded.

The debate team is extremely grateful to Kanuka Thuringer LLP, Nimegeers Carlson Law Firm, and Amity Trust for the community sponsorships that make debate accessible.