Students at CDS can begin debating in Grade 7 and enjoy an increasing number of opportunities to compete through Grade 12. By learning the art of debate, students build confidence, develop critical thinking and communication skills, and acquire a wider understanding of current and historical events.
The Debating & Public Speaking Club’s ongoing success over the past 17 years has contributed to its growth and popularity as more experienced Senior School students are keen to mentor younger students and help contribute to their skill development.
The Club at CDS has experienced another banner year competing on the world stage. Veteran Debating Coach, Kerstin Wyndham-West, has facilitated this club for more than 20 years and is extremely well respected among her colleagues and students worldwide.

Latest Debating News

List of 5 news stories.

  • CDS 14th Annual Grade 5 & 6 Public Speaking Competition

    On Wednesday, May 1st, 2024, CDS grade four, five and six students, teachers and families gathered in the Paul C. Duckett theatre to celebrate the accomplishments of our Grade five and six public speakers and acknowledge their hard work and skill in communicating effectively at the 14th Annual CDS Public Speaking Contest. 
    Whether they deliver inspiring speeches, informative presentations, or engaging talks, public speakers play a crucial role in sharing ideas and shaping discussions. Through eloquent articulation and confident delivery, students captivated audiences and inspired peers with their powerful words and compelling presence on stage. Their dedication to honing their communication skills has truly paid off, setting a shining example for all.

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  • CDS Debaters All Advanced to Finals at World Championships

    CDS experienced several firsts last week at the World Individual Debating & Public Speaking Championships (WIDPSC) held at Canberra Girls Grammar School in Canberra, Australia.
    Ethan Wahba ’24, Millie Steinmann ’25 and Sarah Croxon ’24 competed in a total of eight finals for CDS, with both Ethan and Millie emerging as World Champions.

    According to their coach Kerstin Wyndham-West, who has led the debating program for more than 20 years, “We have never had two students win their individual categories in the same year, and all three made it to eight of the possible 12 finals! That is a record for CDS.”

    In the individual events, Ethan is World Champion of Interpretive Reading and finished 3rd in Debating, and Millie is World Champion of Persuasive Speaking. Overall Ethan was the 3rd place speaker, Millie was 9th and Sarah was 18th out of 124 students representing 15 countries. 

    All three students chose thought-provoking topics and readings to present on. Here some

    “For my interpretive reading, I performed the short story Going Grapefruit by Ian Richards. This story follows a man who is hit by a car and incurs a traumatic injury which changes the way his brain processes language, in his new language words take on seemingly random meanings. I chose this piece because it reminds us that understanding others is much more than just the words people use, but rather the tone and emotion that comes with it.” – Ethan Wahba ’24

    “I presented a persuasive speech about the hidden dangers of energy drinks, particularly for teenagers. Companies like Red Bull specifically market to young people by hiring college students to handout free drinks on university campuses. I don’t think people realize just how much caffeine is in these drinks. Just one can contains as much as six cans of Coke, way more than the recommended daily allowance of caffeine for kids, which can have a really dangerous effect on your heart and long-term health.” – Millie Steinmann ’25

    “My persuasive speech looked at the growing problem of the tipping culture across North America. Ever since the pandemic, it has become a growing issue. I feel people should be able to do what they want when it comes to leaving a gratuity. I really enjoyed writing and performing this speech because it is a topic that everyone can relate to in some way.” – Sarah Croxon ’24
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  • World Individual Debating and Public Speaking Championships

    Exciting news from the World Individual Debating and Public Speaking Championships in Australia - our three debaters have all advanced to the finals! Ethan Wahba '24 will be competing in all 4 event finals, and Sarah Croxon '24 and Millie Steinmann '25 will compete in two each. We wish them all the best! 
  • CDS to Host One Week of Canada's Debate Camp: June 17-21

    We are excited to announce that Canada’s public speaking and debating camp, Debate Camp 2024, for students in Grades 5-10 is holding a one-week camp program at CDS this summer from June 17-21. Run by experienced educators, Debate Camp directors believe in providing an academic enrichment opportunity to youth across Canada and the Northeastern United States via a set of exceptionally well-organized, safe and accredited summer camps. Debate Camp believes in a well-balanced program where an academic focus is combined with opportunities for traditional camp games, and a fun and inspiring approach to learning.
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  • Students Qualify for Junior High Speech Nationals

    Last Saturday, CDS hosted the 2024 Ontario Qualifier for the Junior Nationals for students in Grades 7-9. Anna Druta ‘28 and Liam Gunning ‘27 participated in the tournament alongside 34 other students from 10 different schools.
    Read More

CDS World Qualifiers

CDS Students have qualified for Worlds for the past 17 years (those listed in bold were WIDPSC Champions):

Sarah Croxon '24, Ethan Wahba '24 and Millie Steinmann '25 - Canberra, Australia
2023 Sarah Croxon '24, Diviya Amarnath '25 and Millie Steinmann '25 - Durban, South Africa
Maria Ivoditova '22 - virtual due to COVID
Maria Ivoditova '22 - virtual due to COVID
Eliza Pasha '22 - virtual due to COVID
Anna Croxon '20, Anaïs Leiva von Bovet '19 and
Maeve Tebbutt '19 - Toronto, ON
Anaïs Leiva von Bovet '19 and
Maeve Tebbutt '19 - Cape Town, South Africa
Olivia Railton '17 and
Maeve Tebbutt '19 - Sydney, Australia
2016    Natalie Ganzhorn ’16 and
Olivia Railton ’17 - Pittsburgh, PA
2015 Natalie Ganzhorn ’16 and
Olivia Railton ’17 - Hong Kong, China
2014 Natalie Ganzhorn ’16 - Druskininkai, Lithuania
2013 Natalie Ganzhorn ’16 - Durban, South Africa
2012 Reid Dobell ’12 - Brisbane, Australia
2011 Lucas Regazzi ’12 - Brisbane, Australia
2010 Victoria Sienczewski ’12 - Druskininkai, Lithuania
2009 Genevieve Laurier ’09 and
Rachael Andrew ’09 - Reading, U.K.
2008 Genevieve Laurier ’09 - Winnenden, Germany


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The Country Day School wishes to recognize and acknowledge the land on which the school operates. Our nearest Indigenous Nations are now the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation and the Chippewas of Georgina Island. The Dish with One Spoon Wampum covenant is often cited as an example of the shared responsibility for caring for these lands among the Huron-Wendat, Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee peoples who would call these their traditional territories. CDS respects the relationship with these lands and recognizes that our connection to this land can be strengthened by our continued relationship with all First Nations, by acknowledging our shared responsibility to respect and care for the land and waters for future generations.

School Information

13415 Dufferin Street King, Ontario L7B 1K5 
(905) 833-1220

Founded in 1972, The Country Day School is a co-educational private school offering programs in JK-12 and located on 100 acres north of Toronto in King.