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B.C. high-schooler to be allowed into debating competition

Oak Bay High School student and debate team member Sarah Broitman is shown at school in Victoria, Monday March 10, 2014.

CHAD HIPOLITO/The Globe and Mail

A teenaged debater from Victoria says she will now be allowed into a national debating competition after an earlier paperwork dispute threatened to bar her from the opportunity.

Sarah Broitman of Oak Bay High School says the organizer of the senior national competition has offered her and her partner Rory Hills a shot at the competition, which will be held April 11-13 in Winnipeg. Ms. Broitman says the confirmed topic of debate will be whether political leaders should be chosen by their caucus or party members.

"I feel really excited to go and prove we were meant to be there," she said Tuesday in an interview.

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The challenge now, she said, will be to raise funds for travel, accommodation and other costs related to participating in the competition.

The opportunity comes after Ms. Broitman and Mr. Hills earned a place in the competition through their fifth-place ranking in regional competition in late February and early March. However, soon afterward Ms. Broitman says her debate coach told her the regional Debate and Speech Association of British Columbia, which hosts debate tournaments, had concluded the school did not pay its association membership of about $100. So Ms. Broitman and Mr. Hills could not proceed to national competition.

Sarah Broitman, a 17-year-old competitive debater from Victoria, says she has been cut off from an earned slot in national competition because her school failed to pay a membership fee in a regional debating association. (Full story here.)

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In an e-mailed response to questions from The Globe and Mail, a DSABC spokesperson recently said the organization was waiting for documentation from Oak Bay High School to figure out how to proceed. That spokesperson did not respond Tuesday to an e-mailed request for comment.

Follow me on Twitter: @ianabailey

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About the Author
B.C. reporter

Ian Bailey is a Vancouver-based reporter for The Globe and Mail.  He covers politics and general news. Prior to arriving at The Globe and Mail, he reported from Toronto and St. John’s for The Canadian Press.  He has also covered British Columbia for CP, The National Post and The Province. More

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