Kiran and Angelina win Lower Mainland West Championship after all-FDT final

Last Saturday at the Lower Mainland West Regional Tournament, after 4 rounds of intense debate in the senior category, FDT's own instructors battled it out in the final round. In the end Kiran Basra and Angelina Zhang were named champions! We want to congratulate them on their victory and also to Saara Meghji and Bianca Dammholz who were runner-ups. Moreover we have some other great results to announce.In the senior category, Kelly Ho and Joyce Chen came in 4th place overall, Nellie Sun and Bobo Wong came in 5th, and Nikki Wu and Joanna Chen came in 7th. In the junior category the Champion team was Ellen Li and Vivian Gu followed by Emily Ni and Lauren Meikle in 4th, Caitlin May and Hailey Chen in 5th, Skyler Chan and Jason You in 6th place, and Grace Lee and Selina Xu in 8th.

Individually, as speakers, our students did excellently as well. Bianca Dammholz was the top speaker overall in the senior category, Saara Meghji came 2nd, Kiran Basra came 4th, Joyce Chen came 6th, Angelina Zhang came 7th, Nikki Wu came 8th, and Nellie Sun came 10th. In the junior category, Emily Ni came 1st overall, Ellen Li came 2nd, Vivian Gu came 4th, Lauren Meikle came 5th, and Skyler Chan came 9th.

That means overall we have 18 students and instructors from FDT qualifying to provincials from this region! We wish the students the best of the luck at provincials in March.

FDT team makes finals at Lower Mainland North Regionals

FDT team makes finals at Lower Mainland North Regionals

Just yesterday, Judy Rhee and Leo Wang made it to the final round in the senior category at Lower Mainland North Regionals. It was an incredibly tough tournament with some of the best debaters in the province competing. We are so proud of their accomplishments! In the junior category Eric Li and Jonathan Chu came in 2nd place as a team while Peter Zhang and Michael Wu came 3rd, and Sarah Sheng and Angela Lu came 5th. In the novice category David Xia and Richard Chen were the top team overall.

Individually Allan Lee placed as 4th place senior speaker overall, Leo Wang placed 5th, Judy Rhee placed 6th, and Nick Young placed 10th. In the junior category Peter Zhang was the 1st place speaker overall, Michael Wu was 4th place, Koby Chen was 5th, Sarah Sheng was 7th, Anthony Chu was 8th, and Eric Li was 9th. David Xia was the 3rd place novice speaker.

If that wasn't enough in total we have 10 students going on to Provincials. Judy Rhee, Leo Wang, Eric Li, Jonathan Chu, Peter Zhang, Michael Wu, Sarah Sheng, Angela Lu, David Xia, and Richard Chen will be attending the Law Foundation Provincial Tournament in Victoria this March! Moreover, Allan Lee, Jamin Feng, Jason Guo, and Anthony Chu are alternates to go to provincials.

We are so proud of our students and their achievements and we wish them the best of luck at provincials!

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7 FDT students qualify for Public Speaking Nationals

This weekend was the annual BC Provincial Speech Championships. We have exciting news to share with you. 7 FDT students will be going to Speech Nationals this year. We are pleased to announce that in the Senior Division, Angelina Zhang came 4th overall, Judy Rhee came 5th, Anthony Chu came 6th.

In the Interpretative Reading category Anthony came 3rd and Judy was a Finalist. In the Impromptu Speech category Anthony came 1st and Angelina came 2nd. In Debate, Angelina came 2nd.

In the Junior Division Nora Zhu came 3rd, Katherine Feng came 5th, Jena Yue came 6th,  and Eric Li came 7th.

In the Interpretative Reading category Katherine came 2nd while Jena was a Finalist. In the Impromptu Speech category Nora came 2nd, and Eric was a Finalist. In Persuasive Speech Jena came 2nd. In Debate, Katherine came 2nd and Eric 3rd.

We are so happy with all our students and their amazing work. Now begins the hard work to prepare for Nationals!

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FDT attends Tournament of Champions at Yale University

FDT attends Tournament of Champions at Yale University

FDT has just returned from the snow covered campus of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, where we computer in the Tournament of Champions for the World Scholar's Cup! Our two teams qualified after competing in the global rounds in either Melbourne or Barcelona and they had a blast competing against the cream of the crop from around the world at Yale.

Here are some of the outstanding results. Both of our teams did well in debate. The team of Vicky Zhang, Fiona Li, and Jolin Yu won a Silver medal as a team. The team of Julia Guo, Vanessa Zhang, and Aurora Zhang won a Gold medal as a team. Furthermore our students performed well individually.In Individual Writing, Aurora, Julia, and Jolin all won Silver medals. In the Scholar's Challenge, Fiona won a Silver medal for Literature subject as did Jolin, while Aurora won a Silver medal in Social Studies, Vanessa won Silver in Art and Literature, and Vicky won a Gold medal in Art. Finally in Individual Debate, Jolin and Julia won Silver medals, and Fiona and Vanessa won Gold. Moreover, in addition to winning a Gold medal, Aurora placed 36th individually, in a field of hundreds of the world's best junior debaters!

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After all-FDT Final, Jason and Anthony named Junior Champions at UBC Fall Tournament

After all-FDT Final, Jason and Anthony named Junior Champions at UBC Fall Tournament

Its been another outstanding UBC Fall High School Tournament for FDT Academy. Lets start with the results. Out of 8 teams breaking to Quarter-Finals in the Junior Category, 5 were from FDT. Congratulations to Peter Zhang and Michael Wu and Athens Wu and Jena Yue for breaking to the Quarter-Finals. Further congratulations to Eric Li and Jonathan Chu who made it to Semi-Finals. Finally, after a contentious Final round between FDT students Anthony Chu, Jason Guo, Sarah Sheng, and Angela Lu, we are pleased to announce your Champion Junior Team was Jason and Anthony! We want to still commend Angela and Sarah who were well deserving of being Finalists.

That's not all. We had great results in the senior category as well. We had multiple teams break to the Semi-Finals including Saara Meghji and Angelina Zhang and Kiran Basra and Maggie MacInnis. We would also like to congratulate Ellen Li and Vivian Gu  and Leo Wang and Judy Rhee for being finalists! We are so happy with the final results and want to congratulate all of our instructors and students for their hard work in the past few weeks.

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FDT team Quarter-Finalists at Cornell World Schools Tournament

FDT team Quarter-Finalists at Cornell World Schools Tournament

This weekend two FDT teams along with Tonya and Arsalan, traveled to Ithaca, New York to participate in the the Alfred Tuna Snider World Schools Debate Tournament at Cornell University.

We want to congratulate FDT Red for breaking to the Quarter-Final round at the tournament! The team consisted of FDT students Jamin Feng, Jason Guo, Sarah Sheng, Jessica Chen and were joined as well by Naomi Panovka, who is currently on the Canadian National Debating Team. We also want to congratulate FDT Blue who very narrowly missed breaking to the Quarter-Final. Congrats to Kelly Ho, Nora Zhu, Grace Lee, Angela Lu, and Stanford Guo for doing so well!

In terms of speaker awards we want to congratulate Jamin Feng for placing as the 4th place speaker in the entire tournament, Naomi for placing 9th, and Grace for placing 10th.

All in all a great tournament and we hope to be back in the future!

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FDT students and instructors support Canada Sunshine Foundation

FDT students and instructors support Canada Sunshine Foundation

On October 19 several of our instructors and staff were invited to the inaugural Canada Sunshine Foundation Establishment and Awards Ceremony in Richmond. Anna, Arsalan, Bianca, Cathy, and Tonya all enjoyed this excellent event and Arsalan even had the opportunity to deliver a moving and inspirational speech about the importance of youth and giving back to the community.

Several of our own students are members of the Canada Sunshine Foundation. They were presented awards by our instructors at the ceremony and they were celebrated for raising over $3,000 for the Canuck Place Children’s Hospice which provides palliative care to children and families in BC.

We are so grateful to have been part of an event that celebrates such important accomplishments and look forward to an even bigger and better event next year.

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FDT students succeed at BP National Qualifier

FDT students succeed at BP National Qualifier

This weekend the first ever Provincial Qualifier for the BP National Debate Championships was held at Crofton House Academy. It was an exciting tournament featuring some of the best junior debaters in the province. FDT is so happy to announce some excellent results!

We want to congratulate Alice Xu, Eric Li, and Aurora Zhang for their 11th,12th,and 13th place speaker rankings. Additionally We want to congratulate Aurora and Alice for breaking to the Semi-final round as well as Jesse Liu who made it to the final round with his partner and qualified for the national BP tournament.

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FDT gives out 8 scholarships to talented Burnaby public school students

FDT gives out 8 scholarships to talented Burnaby public school students

In 2004, I made it to the finals of the Burnaby School District's Annual Grade 7 public speaking competition. I didn't win – but placing 2nd – still changed my life. It inspired in me a love of public speaking and sent me on a journey I am still on today as the owner of a speech and debate academy, and also as one of the hosts of the prestigious Miss World competition. Earlier this year, 14 years after I competed, I was invited to be a guest judge at the Burnaby District Finals. I saw the top 8 students in Burnaby, who had advanced to this final event after having excelled at their school and regional events. These kids were eloquent, intelligent, and inspiring. I was overwhelmed with their talent. A huge part of my life mission is to give back to young people in my community and around the world. Before the winner was announced, I decided to make a special announcement of my own. All 8 Finalists would win $3000 scholarships which would provide them with a full year of speech and debate coaching at FDT Academy! I am so honoured to give them an opportunity that I wasn’t given as a kid to help them one day become world champion speakers and debaters.

- Frankie Cena

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Star debater Rosa crosses the pond to study at Cambridge

Star debater Rosa crosses the pond to study at Cambridge

Most all of our graduating students have already began their first semesters at university. But did you know that universities in the UK start later? Just last week one of FDT’s brightest instructors and former students finally found herself at the university of her dreams.

Read our interview with Rosa Rahimi about why she choose to attend Cambridge University after a sterling record of debate success.

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FDT student to compete on Canada's Smartest Person Junior!

FDT student to compete on Canada's Smartest Person Junior!

Our very own Matthew Yu will be competing on this year’s Canada’s Smartest Person Junior, a televised competition where he will face off against 11 of the smartest youngsters from across the country! He follows in the footsteps of FDT Founder and CEO Frankie Cena who competed on the show in 2016. He is the youngest competitor on the show and the only one from Vancouver. Nevertheless we are sure he will make a big splash on the show.

The show will premiere on November 14th on CBC!

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FDT student joins the US National Debate Squad

FDT student joins the US National Debate Squad

FDT has had over a dozen students on the Canadian National Debating Team so far in our history but this week we reached another milestone: our first student to make the US National Debating Team.

FDT's own Victor Tong has been selected to join the development team, and Victor will in the future, have a chance to make the full team and represent the USA at competitions around the world. Victor was selected among just 11 other students, which is impressive considering how many excellent debaters compete in the US.

We wish Victor the best of luck on Team USA!

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Ashley Phord-Toy follows her passion to sunny Stanford University

Ashley Phord-Toy follows her passion to sunny Stanford University

This week we interviewed Ashley Phord-Toy. Ashley has had a checkered record in debate; she has won countless tournaments and represented Canada at international competitions several times in places like Australia, South Africa, and Croatia.

But what made her choose Stanford University in California over the ivy-covered campuses of the East Coast? And what is behind her now 5-year long passion for debate? Visit our website to find out more!

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Two FDT teams find success at the World Scholar's Cup in Australia

Two FDT teams find success at the World Scholar's Cup in Australia

The 3rd Global Round of the World Scholar's Cup has just finished up in Melbourne, Australia and what a competition it was! FDT sent two junior teams to the competition and, with the assistance of Tonya Cena and Jacqueline Belzberg, they battled it out against over 1,000 of the world's top young minds across four exciting competitive events.

We are happy to announce that both teams: Vanessa Zhang, Aurora Zhang, and Katherine Feng, as well as Fiona Li, Vicky Zhang, and Jolin Yu, have qualified to the Tournament of Champions at Yale University along with the two other FDT teams who qualified after the global round in Barcelona.

All of our students have worked very hard to get this far and we hope they give their brains a break before returning to school, and FDT, in just a couple of weeks!

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Jason and Leo win UBC Summer Championship

Jason and Leo win UBC Summer Championship

Jason Guo and Leo Wang have placed as the top team overall in the UBC Summer Debate Championship! Moreover FDT's own Alison Lee was a finalist and two of our teams, Allan Lee and Grace Lee, and Anthony Chu and Angela Lu, made it to the semi-finals. 

Jason was the top novice speaker as well as the top speaker overall. For the rest of the individual speaker rankings Leo placed 3rd, Allan placed 4th, Grace placed 8th, and Alison placed 9th, 

We are so happy for all of our students to have performed so exceptionally. This is the last tournament of the summer before FDT begins our Fall term!

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Amolak and Anokh follow their love for debate to a career in medicine

Amolak and Anokh follow their love for debate to a career in medicine

This week we interviewed Anokh and Amolak Singh Dhillon. These brothers are two of Frankie's oldest students and after a successful high school career in debate they both went to the University of British Columbia in Arts. Just this year Amolak learned he had been accepted to the UBC School of Medicine. He will join his brother Anokh there in the fall as they both pursue an MD.

It’s a little unusual. Most debaters are always told they would make great lawyers or politicians. But the brothers found that the skills they learned in debate would transfer to the world of medicine in many interesting ways. Read our interview to find out more!

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How debate led Andrew Yun to Team Canada and Harvard University

How debate led Andrew Yun to Team Canada and Harvard University

This year at FDT we have so many exciting success and our students have reached the highest levels of success imaginable. As happy as we are about our successes the end of the year is bittersweet as we have to say goodbye to some of our oldest students and instructors as they move on.

In the next few weeks we want to highlight some of these students and reflect on how debate has helped them chart a path to their future. This week we asked our very former student and instructor Andrew Yun, who just placed as the 5th best debater in the world in Croatia, about his high school debate career and all the doors debate has helped open for him.

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FDT teams succeed at Global Round of Scholar's Cup in Spain

FDT teams succeed at Global Round of Scholar's Cup in Spain

After a smashing success in the local round of Scholar's Cup. FDT brought 2 teams to the global round in Barcelona, Spain, facing off against over 1000 of the worlds brightest and best students. Our junior team and senior team competed in 4 categories including writing, debate, Scholar's bowl. and Scholar's challenge. We are so pleased to announce that both teams performed excellently and were chosen to compete in the Tournament of Champions at Yale University.

Congratulations to our teams as well as Cathy Cena for chaperoning and Anna Saint for all her hard work coaching!

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FDT place as runners up at Prague Spring Debate Championship

FDT place as runners up at Prague Spring Debate Championship

The 5th annual edition of the Prague Spring Debate Championship was the most intense and competitive yet with 64 of the world's best teams, many of whom are going on to compete at the Worlds Schools Debate Championships in Croatia in the next few days. We are pleased to announce that against this fierce competition, after 6 rounds, BOTH of FDT's teams broke to the elimination rounds! Congratulations to FDT Blue (Angela Lu, Anthony Chu, Nikki Wu, Lilya Shen, Calvin Zhang) for making it to the Partial Double Octo-Final round. 

Moreover, FDT Red blasted through all the elimination rounds and made it to the final round against Team China. They lost on a 4-1 split but still, we are so proud of this fantastic accomplishment. Congratulations to Jacqueline Belzberg, Allan Lee, Alison Lee, Jason Guo, and Grace Lee for their hard work and success!

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