WPGA Student Samantha Starkey Crowned World Debate and Public Speaking Champion in Hong Kong

West Point Grey Academy student Samantha Starkey, grade 12, was crowned world champion at the 27th annual World Individual Debating and Public Speaking Championship (WIDPSC) in Hong Kong April 5-12, 2015. An English language debating and public speaking tournament for high school students, this year’s WIDPSC included participants from Australia, Hong Kong, Canada, United States, England, South Africa, Israel, India, South Korea and Germany, each of whom had to compete in four events: debate, impromptu speaking, persuasive or after dinner speaking, and interpretive reading.
In the preliminary rounds, Samantha captured first place in persuasive speaking and debate as well as third place in interpretive reading. One judge described her interpretive presentation, from Ernest Hemingway’s “The Snows of Kilimanjaro,” as “a challenging piece, delivered with dramatic effect.” She performed at the grand finals at Diocesan Girls’ School before an audience of 1500. 
An experienced public speaker and debater, Samantha has attended previous years’ WIDPSC in Australia, Lithuania and South Africa, and qualified for this year’s Canadian team after winning the national speech championships in Winnipeg in March. Her coach, Tracey Lee, credits Samantha’s success to meticulous preparation and an engaging speaking style. “Samantha has the ability to make the complex seem simple, and to make you feel as if she is speaking only to you, even when in a room of thousands.” Samantha, with debate partner Lloyd Lyall, also a West Point Grey Academy senior, was recently featured on CBC Radio’s The Current, on which she debated the value of school with peers in Toronto.

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