There’s nothing quite like realizing, about three minutes into a debate, that despite having served as assistant debate coach here for a number of years and even having been principal coach for two French language debate teams, you have never actually personally done a debate in 40 years, since you were a sophomore in high school. That’s especially true when your students are watching - as is Paul Bassett, the award-winning debate coach with whom you once served all those years ago. It was honestly completely nerve-wracking. Fortunately, I have over 40 years of experience as a performing musician on which to draw to help me keep my poise even as my adrenaline started pumping. Still, I could have been easily forgiven for wishing we had 12 students in the class instead of 11, and I could have just served as a judge instead of agreeing, at student request, to participate in order to keep the teams balanced.
by Karen Suchenski
It is early morning and the start of the final leg of our journey home from Hong Kong to the US and back to SBS classrooms. Claire and I take one last fast-paced walk in an elongated terminal of Beijing International Capital Airport, a vast facility sprawling across 3,700 acres. We relish this movement, weaving in among chrome-countered duty-free shops, for we anticipate 13 hours of cramped encampment in an Air China economy-class cabin where we will be folded and as tightly packed, passenger-to-passenger, in our row of seats as are multiple layers of wafers in a Hong Kong favorite cookie. We arrive at the gate for final boarding and bear one more security check.
“Have travel boarding passes ready please,” the sign translates the Chinese characters for us. I hand my pass to the attendant. She scans it and looks up at me as if confused. She pauses and speaks halting English as she crosses off my pass information and adds new numbers.
The Owl has finally landed, and our three excellent speakers are back in the fold. In preparation for the competition in Calgary, our work actually began in July: Caroline Lord and Mary Pura enrolled in Debate Camp and spent the week writing, polishing, and rehearsing. Jane Logan spent a month acting in New York City and New Haven. They return to us with rave reviews, very high marks, and several awards. I am still receiving emails from other coaches about these three. They loved their performances, and they loved the way they represented SBS in Canada.
The following was written by Bryna Cofrin-Shaw a senior at the Stoneleigh-Burnham School. Bryna will be heading to Lithuania this spring as a member of the American Team which will be competing in the World Championship. For more specifics check out the article on our website here.
The following post was written by Kat Bordewieck, a senior and President of our Debate and Public Speaking Team. Kat will be competing in the International Debate Competition at Deerfield Academy on October 2, 2009 along with two other Stoneleigh-Burnham students. Below are her reflections on the first debate and public speaking tournament of the 2009-2010 school year held at Stoneleigh-Burnham School on September 26, 2009.