It’s a peaceful canoe trip through Algonquin Park for 17-year-old Max Rosen after claiming the top title for Canada on the weekend at the World Schools Debating Championships.
“Well, I’ve got to say, it feels pretty great,” said the Northern Secondary School graduate, emphasizing his enjoyment of arguing.
“That’s how it all started, so I guess I was inherently argumentative from the outset.”
High school students from 68 nations started, and the Canadians finished in first place after defeating teams from Zimbabwe, Serbia, Greece, Denmark, and the United States of America.
“There are a lot of the kids from all over the world who are incredibly clever and brilliant,” said Team Canada coach Jason Xiao.
He said the win is special considering other countries are well-financed.
“Other countries have big advantages. They are well funded by their governments and have lots of coaches. In Canada, this is a volunteer-run organization so I’m really proud of what we’ve managed to accomplish.”
Rosen’s family said they weren’t surprised by the win
“Every time we see him, we have a discussion with him,” said Clifford Nelson, Rosen’s grandfather.
Nelson said Rosen was always inquisitive and interested in debating after spending years practicing on his family.
“Every family meal, he wants to debate. He always wins,” said Nelson.
This year’s world competition was affected by COVID-19. Instead of face-to-face debating, the finals went online. It was a different feel, but the Canadians adapted and won votes from eight out of nine judges.
“It’s so great that these kids have something to celebrate in this year without school, and it’s a team that had worked very hard together,” said grandmother Tamar Nelson.
But for today, the hard work is over. Rosen is relaxing on the waters of Algonquin Park. As for what’s next, that’s his next great debate.
“I have a few plans, but I might end up in politics at some point,” he said.