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By J.J Gerstein, a Gray Academy Debator in grade 10.

Traditionally, people picture their children frolicking around and playing video games. Then there are those of us teenagers who spend large portions of our weekend talking about the economy, Iran and various other “adult” topics. We are called debaters, and that is what we did last weekend at the Gray Academy. Twenty-eight teams showed up from all over Canada to participate in the yearly Asper Cup. Although this year there was a twist, we were not only competing for the prestigious cup, we were partaking in the Oxford Cup. Top two teams from this tournament were to go on to Oxford University in England, although I am making it seem much easier than it really is.

Competitors faced many grueling challenges throughout the six-round tournament. Sweaty armpits, chronic nervousness and of course the infamous stutter haunted each of us throughout every round. These six rounds took place over a course of two days (Sunday and Monday), from 9 AM to 8:45 PM the first day, and 8:15 AM to 7:30 PM the second. I know what the reader must be thinking right now. “Oh my goodness, this is longer than our work day!” to which my response is “Yes, it is.” It is no easy task to debate for several hours each day, and has surely caused each debater a fair amount of exhaustion, but those are the breaks. While talking about educational topics for a weekend does not seem like much fun, to many of us it is.

This year being my first Asper Cup was a very fulfilling and enriching experience. I met many other debaters from across Canada, and I realized that the caliber I would hopefully be dealing with in the future is not low. Many Canadian debaters are top notch, although only the top eight make the finals of British Parliamentary style debate. Preceding the announcement of rankings in the tournament (after semi-finals and finals had finished), a banquet was held at the Shaarey Zedek Synagogue. This was very well done as well as delicious (ending off with a chocolate cake that had the Asper Cup in icing). The entire experience was very organized and an experience we will surely never forget. Many people slaved to make the debate to be a top notch debate, and it turned out such a success. Many debaters, including myself, were very honoured to be a part of such a tournament.

The Gray Academy was represented in this year’s debates by Grade Eleven students Zev Ripstein and Blake Lerner and Grade Ten Students J.J Gerstein and Ariel Melamedoff.

St John’s Ravenscourt Student Aiden Fishman,won the prize as top debator in the annual Asper Cup International High School Debating Championship.

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