How did you first come to be coached by Frankie Cena?
It was through the combination of a lot of luck and circumstance that I came to be coached by Frankie. Leila Martin (one of Frankie’s first students) led the debate program at York House when I started in Grade 8 and it’s really all because of her that I saw the world of possibilities that debate could offer. She convinced Frankie to chaperone me to Junior Speech Nationals and the next year, Frankie invited me to train for the Heart of Europe Debate Championships!
What makes you love debate?
To be completely candid, I don’t always love debate. I think it’s important to be critical of the things you’re passionate about and throughout the years, I have found myself feeling frustrated that as debaters, we talk about lots of important issues but dont usually actually engage with them in the real-world. But the amazing thing I’ve discovered is that the skills you gain as a debater translate so effectively to the real-world, while the actual practice of debating challenges your intellect and understanding of the world in a way that can only set you up for success and constant humility.
How you do you think your coaching helped you succeed?
My coaching is the reason why I was able to go from someone who had lots of ideas and read lots of news to someone who is now able to structure and share those ideas in a way that is more dynamic, articulate, and persuasive. My coaches at FDT were able to pinpoint my strengths and weaknesses constructively, which gave me the perspective I needed to improve over five years. Their constant feedback not only encouraged my growth, but also enabled me to recognize the importance of applying criticism without taking it personally.