CDS made history on Tuesday at the World Independent Debating and Public Speaking Championships (WIDPSC) held at Branksome Hall in Toronto this past week. Not only did our veteran coach Ms. Kerstin Wyndham-West bring three students for the first time in her 12 years of qualifying CDS students, but one of our own won the World Championship once again.
Grade 11 student, Anna Croxon, captured the overall World Champion title and presented her winning Persuasive speech on Voluntourism at the Grand Finals at the University of Toronto’s Hart House. She competed in a one-on-one friendly competition against the other finalist from South Africa.
“Anna presented the speech of her lifetime and was rewarded accordingly,” said her proud Coach Wyndham-West. The same speech won Anna the overall World Persuasive Speaking honour as well.
Meanwhile, Grade 12 students, Maeve Tebbutt and Anaïs Leiva von Bovet were also strong competitors across all four of their events: Impromptu, Parliamentary Debate, Interpretive Reading and Persuasive. Excelling in Persuasive, Maeve presented a speech on loneliness and what we can do about it given that a third of the Canadian population lives by themselves, and Anaïs presented her Persuasive speech on the dangers of being too politically correct. Maeve finished her third appearance at Worlds in 3rd place overall and Anaïs finished her second appearance in 13th place.
A highlight for Maeve was meeting Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chrystia Freeland, the keynote speaker on Tuesday. Maeve had reached out to her by email in advance and was the only competitor to have a meet and greet.
Every year, the World Independent Debating and Public Speaking Championships bring together students from around the world for six days of competition. This year, 105 students from 11 countries travelled to Toronto to compete across all four events. Fourteen students represented the Canadian team and seven of the top 10 were Canadian.
“Part of this is because we have such a rigorous qualifying process that closely matches that of the Worlds’ format,” explained Wyndham-West. “That does tend to put the Canadians at an advantage.”
This is the third time in four years CDS has won this honour. Olivia Railton ’17 won overall World Champion in Sydney, Australia, in 2017 and Natalie Ganzhorn ’16 won the title in Pittsburgh, PA, in 2016.
Congratulations to Anna, Maeve and Anaïs for your tremendous performances! And to our extraordinary debating coach, Kerstin Wyndham-West, your track record speaks for itself. BRAVO!