TRURO – For a brief moment Sarah Millman was concerned about her ability to hear.
Brie Dukeshire, left, and Sarah Millman, students at Cobequid Educational Centre in Truro, recently won a provincial debating championship in Halifax. The duo will advance to nationals next spring. Monique Chiasson – Truro Daily News
The Grade 12 Cobequid Educational Centre student was one of six debaters from CEC who participated in rovincials last weekend in Halifax. Millman and her debate partner, Grade 11 CEC student Brie Dukeshire, won the event, and for a moment Millman couldn’t believe what she heard.
“I was convinced in the fourth round we were done. I thought I imagined hearing our names. I thought I heard wrong,” said Millman.
Dukeshire and Millman participated in four debates before advancing to the semifinals and then the final against Halifax’s Sacred Heart School. Topics included both sides of banning obvious religious symbols in public and boycotting Russian Olympics.
The victory earns the duo the right to compete at nationals next April in Winnipeg. CEC had two other teams participate: Rumana Rafiq and Leanna Langille (14th place) and Chris Lomond and Stephen Hennessy (21st place). There were 24 teams in the event.
Millman, who also placed fourth as an individual speaker, said she desperately wanted to win for a few reasons.
“I wanted to go to nationals so badly and uphold our title from last year,” said Millman, who along with Dukeshire were the top ranked Nova Scotia team last year, but lost in the semifinal round.
Dukeshire, who tied for first place as individual speaker and plans to get into international development as a career, said there was another reason this year’s win meant so much.
“It was even more important because this is the last year we are doing it together” because Millman is graduating CEC.
The young women have learned a lot about debating since they began in junior high school.
“It’s not really for everybody. You need to be thick-skinned because you get harsh criticism,” said Millman, who also intends to study international relations after high school.
“You have to be feisty and hold your own. And you have to watch the news and read all the time because you never know what the topic (of the next debate) will be,” said Dukeshire, adding during provincials they only had half an hour to prepare after judges gave them their topics.
The debaters also believe their success is, in part, thanks to their coaches Paul Millman and Lesley Fisher, who have assisted them since 2007. Community support, through encouragement and funding, has also been appreciated.
“If (the community) is willing to (support) us we want them to know it’s worth it,” said Millman.