Speech and debate is one of the longest standing traditions at STS, dating back to our founding schools. The program gains momentum every year, and is stronger today than ever before.
Over the past five years an average of 100 students joined STS speech and debate teams. The students enjoy the competition aspect, however, what students gain most from participation in the program is not necessarily winning at tournaments, but rather the confidence to speak in front of audiences through a range of public speaking opportunities. This is an invaluable skill that sets STS graduates apart for life.
When Elliot C. ’17 was asked what was his most valuable experience at STS, he said, "The speech program not only gave me confidence in public speaking, but allows me to converse more readily with poise with my friends and family.”
The speech program not only gave me confidence in public speaking, but allows me to converse more readily with poise with my friends and family. - Elliot C. '17
Both speech and debate allow for students to develop their critical thinking skills. Also, the program aligns with the International Baccalaureate (IB) learner profiles which are tied into all STS programming, allowing our students to become inquirers, knowledgeable, thinkers, principled, open-minded, caring, courageous, balanced, reflective and of course, communicators.
STS is a long-standing member of Alberta Debate and Speech and has the second largest number of members in the province. Students are able to participate in tournaments throughout the year. In the speech program, students have an opportunity to compete in impromptu speaking, persuasive speaking, interpretation of prose or poetry, and solo and duet acting. In the debate tournaments students participate in the Canadian national style, allowing one team to represent the government while the other team functions as the opposition party.
Throughout the year, students must participate in at least two tournaments to be eligible to compete in the Regional Tournament, where the top half of the students’advance to the Provincial Tournaments. The Provincial Tournaments standings determine the winners who will represent Alberta at the National Tournaments. Consistently, our school is well represented showcasing our hardworking, confident students. Again this year, STS speech and debate students excelled on the world stage, winning many awards and setting records.
STS also participates in the International Independent Schools Public Speaking Competition (IISPSC). When the tournament was first held, five schools participated and to date it has grown to include up to 60 schools from around the world. STS is proud to have hosted this event twice – in 1999 and 2012 – and coaches still remember our organization of the tournament and our wonderful hospitality. This tournament also qualifies students to advance to the World’s Individual Public Speaking Championships held in various countries. Over the past years, STS has had several students win top prizes at Worlds.
STS is recognized as a leading independent school, partly because our students are such wonderful ambassadors. Because of our strong showing both at the national and international tournaments, our proud tradition of speech and debate carries on, and our founding schools would no doubt be thrilled.