Zaki Lakhani '20 competed at the World's Individual Speech and Debate championships

Zaki Lakhani '20 competed at the World's Individual Speech and Debate championships

From Thursday, April 11 to Tuesday, April 16 Zaki Lakhani ’20 represented STS and Canada at the 31st World’s Individual Debating and Public Speaking Championships held at Branksome Hall, an independent girl’s school in Toronto. This year, 160 students competed representing 12 countries including Australia, Bermuda, Canada, China, Cyprus, Hong Kong, Lithuania, South Africa, South Korea, United Kingdom and United States. Students must enter four categories including Persuasive Speech, Impromptu Speaking, Interpretive Reading of Prose or Poetry and Parliamentary Debate. The students ranking in the round robin determines if students advance to the finals.

Zaki was one of four students who advanced to the finals in two of his categories including Persuasive Speaking where he ranked first in the round robin and impromptu speaking categories where he ranked 12th place. The top two students in the finals then advance to the Grand Finals in the final afternoon of the tournament, and we are pleased to announce Zaki finished second at the World’s Championship in Impromptu Speaking! Based upon his results of the tournament, Zaki placed 8th out of 160 students and we are very proud of his achievements! The tournament was a wonderful opportunity for students to exchange ideas and literature from around the world. The keynote speaker, George Elliot Clark, was the fourth Poet Laureate of Toronto. Clark is also a pioneering scholar of African-Canadian literature and the students were honoured to hear his poetry. He also expressed his views on how the youth of today is changing the world for the better. During the closing ceremonies prior to the awards dinner, the keynote speaker was The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs. She began her talk with an appreciation of public speaking and how speaking effectively can help to resolve contentious issues on the global stage. She then discussed Canada’s role on the world stage. The second half of her time was a “question and answer” session where students had the opportunity to ask her a variety of questions based on her role as the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Students from STS have frequently participated in the World’s Individual Debating and Public Speaking Championships where they have demonstrated the value that our School places on public speaking and debating. There are two routes for students to qualify for this prestigious tournament. The first is through competing at local, provincial and national tournaments advancing at each level; at the National Public Speaking Tournament, students must finish in the top six. The second route is the International Independent Schools Public Speaking Championships (IISPSC). Again, at this tournament (which STS has hosted twice), the top six advance to the World’s Championships. Regardless of how a student qualifies, to compete at the World’s Championships, hundreds of hours are required to hone their skills in order to be effective public speakers. STS students are dedicated to perfecting their abilities and we are proud of their dedication and commitment.