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High School Competitions

{Historical Awareness.  Public Speaking.  Youth Engagement.}

2024 Essay Contest 
Note: Submission deadline  has passed 


2020 Churchill Speech and Debate Tournament

The Sir Winston Churchill Speech and Debate Tournament hosted by the Churchill Society and the University of Alberta Debate Society is back again this year!


This tournament is open for several Edmonton-area schools with three rounds of debate and speech. The prepared speech topic is "How do you think social media, as it exists today, might have influenced the outcome of World War II? Consider the implications of modern social media on strategies used by WWII leaders like Winston Churchill." The debate topic will be "In times of conflict, THBT leaders should prioritize keeping the peace over keeping the public informed. It will be held using Discord on Saturday December 5th, 2020 from 9:00am to 5:30pm. 

We are looking for Churchill Society members to judge the Speech competition! All judges will receive a tutorial video on how to use the platform and a briefing on how to judge. Please contact Navya Baradi ( if you are interested in judging.

If you are a current Edmonton student that would like to participate in the competition this year, please register on this form by December 1st.

2020 Churchill Essay Competition

At the beginning of 2020, the Churchill Society hosted a high school essay competition for the first time since 2012. This competition was completely online and called for submissions to be emailed in by February 29th, 2020. The topic of the essay was “Why or why not the destruction of cultural sites should be considered a war crime?” The Society received 10 essays from 4 different schools - Tempo School, Old Scona Academic, Western Canada High School, and J Percy Page.


The essays were anonymously and randomly assigned numbers so the judges did not know which essays came from which schools or students. Essays were judged on three main criteria - originality, persuasiveness, and polish. After matching the numbers back to the original essays, the third-place essay was written by Nimra Hooda from Old Scona Academic, the second-place essay was written by Irshad Sayed from Tempo School, and the first-place essay was from Sarjana Alam from Old Scona Academic.


The Society thoroughly enjoyed watching the debates and speeches and reading the essays. Thank you to all the participating schools and students for all their incredible efforts in the speech, debate, and essay competitions.

2019-2020 Churchill Speech and Debate Tournament

Every year the Sir Winston Churchill Society engages with local students through Student Competitions. This year was unique because the Society was able to host a debate competition along with a speech competition in conjunction with the University of Alberta Debate Society. The U of A Debate Society is the primary club in the University of Alberta campus that puts on high school tournaments to provide students with the opportunity to develop their debate skills. 


This year nearly 60 students participated in the Sir Winston Churchill Speech and Debate Tournament from 9 different schools in the Edmonton area. The preliminary competition was hosted on Saturday, November 30th, 2019 at the University of Alberta. 


The participating schools were Tempo School, Strathcona High School, Salisbury Composite, Old Scona Academic, McNally, Archbishop MacDonald, Michaelle Jean, Edmonton Islamic Academy, and Edmonton Christian High School. The topic that the debate competitors engaged in was “This House Regrets the portrayal of death in combat as an act of heroism.” It was remarkable seeing students argue for both sides of this topic especially when using Churchill and his policies as examples. Out of the 25 teams that competed, the top two moved onto the final rounds.

The speech tournament happened concurrently on the same day in the same place. There were two participating schools - Tempo School and Old Scona Academic. The topic for the speakers was “Sir Winston Churchill is often considered one of the founding fathers of the European Union when he called for a “United States of Europe”. Yet some argue that despite Churchill wanting a united Europe, he did not envision Britain to be a member of it. Given today’s political climate in the United Kingdom, explain your views of Britain’s position in Europe and the greater global world.” Students were asked to take a stance and explain their view on Brexit and we were able to witness incredible student orators defend their perspective. Out of the 9 speakers that competed, the top three moved onto the finals. 


The Sir Winston Churchill Speech and Debate Finals took place on December 11th at the Historic McKay Avenue School. Here, the Churchill Society members judged the speakers and the U of A Debate Society Representatives judged the debate. The proposition team for the debate was represented by Imaara Keshwani and Max Williams from Old Scona Academic while the opposition team was represented by Alice Yang and Emily Wang from Old Scona Academic. After conferral judging, the winning team was the proposition and the second-place team was the opposition. The three speakers were Gurjot Hothi, Nimra Hooda, and Josh Karathra all from Old Scona Academic. The speakers were also judged by conferral judging and first place went to Josh Karathra, second went to Gurjot Hothi, and third went to Nimra Hooda. All first-place winners were awarded scholarships of $300 each, second-place winners were awarded $200 each, and the third-place winner won $100. 

2018-2019 Churchill Speech and Debate Tournament

On November 17, 2018, the competition for high school students was structured strictly as a speech competition, all in one day.  Three rounds took place at the historic McKay Avenue School.  

Prepared speech topic: 
"Express your views on the politics of warfare - whether political or military leaders should have more control over how a War is strategically managed.”

Impromptu topic:
“In June of 1940 after the Dunkirk evacuation, Churchill declared to the House of Commons, “we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender”.  In a five-minute speech, discuss how this quote resonates with you."

The impromptu topic was a new component added to the competitions and allowed the competitors to draw upon personal experiences.


2017-2018 Churchill Speech and Debate Tournament

On Saturday November 25th, the Churchill High School Speech and Debate Competition was held at the Humanities Center at the University of Alberta.  This preliminary tournament determined who advanced to finals in both the speech and debate categories.  After three rounds of debate and speech, and a semifinal round, two debate teams and three speakers advanced to the finals.

The finals will be held at the historic McKay Avenue School in downtown Edmonton, at 6pm in the evening on Tuesday, December 5th.  The McKay Avenue School, now fully renovated, was the first home of the Alberta Legislative Assembly.  All students, families, coaches, and judges are invited to this event.  Below are somf photos of the finalists, who displayed eloquence and logic with their intelligent arguments and dynamic speeches. 

The following resources were available to competitors and coaches for the 2017-2018 Churchill Speech and Debate competition: 
                  - Invitation Package
                  - Research Package 
2016-2017 Competition

December 5th, 2017:

Congratulations to all high school speech and debate finalists! 

2016-2017 Churchill Speech and Debate Tournament

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The Churchill High School Speech and Debate Qualifying and Semi Finals were held in November 2016 at the Humanities Centre (at the University of Alberta.) All were welcome and encouraged to volunteer as judges during the ounds.

Finals were held at the Historic McKay Avenue School in December of 2016, starting at 6pm. All were welcome and encouraged to join us as spectators for the finals.

The awards ceremony held on Tuesday, June 13th, 2017, was an opportunity for high school winners to be recognized for the achievements, and they received a scholarship, book prize, and medal.  The first place speaker received the Arthur O. Claud trophy, and the first place debate team received the Basil Dean Memorial Trophy. 


June 13, 2017:​

Congratulations to all of student award winners!

2013-2014 Churchill Speech and Debate Tournament

The 2013/2014 debate competition was held on November 9, 2013, with the finals held on December 5, 2013. 


       The Society gives special thanks to the Nearctiic Group for its continued financial support of the Debate, Speech, and Essay Competitions and their assistance in advertising support for the annual Memorial Banquet.

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