Leora Diakuw is a 1st year teacher at the North West Central School in Plenty, Sask. She has some experience at debate and her passion has filtered down to a group of students at the school. During a recent Student Leadership Conference the students from other schools talked about the Rosetown debate team. They mentioned that they had been practicing and dreamed of one day having a debate tournament. It was in this moment that a group Plenty students looked to Miss Diakuw and said "we're going to do this, right?". To which she could only reply "sure!".
With only 2 weeks to prepare, they managed to get in an after school practice and 2 noon hour learning sessions. They were in Rosetown's theatre May 14th for the debate. It was held in front of family and friends, and judged by 2 retired teachers as well as a member of the public.
Debate is an extra curricular activity that can be aided by technology. In fact, any debate tournament can be done completely online. Diakuw says that Sunwest can do more with this in years to come, "we can probably eliminate busing kids to other schools in the division, because these schools can be really far apart sometimes." Preliminary debates between smaller schools can happen with technology, but the hurdle that many schools face is having a teacher that feels comfortable as an instructor. Diakuw adds "once they have that, there's always at least one student who will join the team."
Normally a debate team is formed at the start of the school year in September, and the final debates are happening now, with winners going to Nationals and possibly on to a world wide quarrel. This is a skill that can be used in any occupation or trade but Diakuw mentioned that "a lot of people who debate in elementary or high school often go on to become lawyers or join politics in some way."
She hopes that debate will become part of Sunwest's culture.