A CDS Debater Wins Worlds For Fourth Time in Seven Years!

A CDS debater made history once again last weekend at the 34th annual World Independent Debating and Public Speaking Championships (WIDPSC) hosted virtually by The Country Day School. As a finalist in all four of her events, Grade 12 student Maria Ivoditova captured the overall World Champion title, and was a Grand Finalist in Impromptu Speaking and Interpretive Reading.
CDS hosted 116 students from public and private high schools representing 13 countries from around the world for this virtual championship, including Cyprus, Lithuania, Morocco, South Africa, UK, USA, Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Pakistan and South Korea. 
Maria's Persuasive Speech concerned the dangers of the exploitation of the world's second most used natural resource: sand. Her Interpretive Reading was a harrowing piece, exploring the horrendous impact of war on families, taken from Heather Morris's novel Three Sisters. Based on a true story, the novel follows the lives of three Jewish sisters as they are ripped from their homes and sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II.

In a typical year, the WIDPSC bring together students from around the world for six days of in-person competition. Since 2008, CDS students have traveled to eight other countries for this prestigious competition, including Lithuania, Germany, Australia, the UK, South Africa and Hong Kong. However, for the past three, COVID has forced the competition to be held entirely online. The Country Day School ran it for two weeks in two separate time zones, with 116 high school participants from public and private schools representing 13 countries took part in both pre-recorded and live components, with the Finals and Grand Finals for all events held live on Zoom.
All of the finalists were absolutely incredible! Have a listen to the phenomenal talent (Top 30 winners overall, including Maria Ivoditova) in their Grand Final speeches and arguments.

Maria's victory at WIDPSC 2022 marks the fourth time in seven years that CDS has produced a World Champion public speaker and debater. Anna Croxon ’20 won overall World Champion in Toronto in 2019; Olivia Railton ’17 won the title in Sydney, Australia, in 2017; and Natalie Ganzhorn ’16 won the title in Pittsburgh, PA, in 2016.
Congratulations to all of our participants, their coaches, the remarkable judges who contributed upwards of 10 or more hours to the task, and our outstanding organizers, including Tracey Scott who kept things running smoothly throughout and on time, and Millie Steinmann ’25, Moderator of the Grand Finals.
And finally, a very special shout out to our CDS coaches, Antonella Costanzo and veteran debating coach, Kerstin Wyndham-West, who has been working with our debaters for 25 years, and qualifying at least one student (sometimes two or three) for this tournament for the past 15 years!
Parents interested in getting their students involved in Debating, should explore sending them to a week of Debate Camp this summer at CDS. We are excited to announce that Canada’s public speaking and debating camp, Debate Camp 2022, for students in Grades 5-10 is holding two one-week camp programs on the CDS campus this summer:  June 27-June 30 and July 4-8.

Land Acknowledgment

CDS wishes to recognize and acknowledge the land on which the school operates. For thousands of years, these have been the traditional lands of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. We also recognize the traditional territory of the Huron-Wendat, Anishinaabe and the Haudenosaunee peoples who also shared this land.  CDS respects the relationship with these lands and recognizes that our connection can be strengthened by our continued relationship with all First Nations, by acknowledging our shared responsibility to respect and care for these lands 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.