Stories, debate, comedy and more; all forms of discussion were on the table at the marathon Speakathon that took place at the Lester Centre over the weekend.
The event — an assortment of linguistic options sure to entice any speaker — was the brainchild of the newly formed Charles Hays Debate Club. Speakers signed up for 15 minute timeslots to tackle a topic of their choice. Over the 25 hours, there were 90 speeches from more than 50 individuals. Ten debate sessions filled the remainder of the slots, allowing some extra practice for the team as they prepare for their next competition. Speakers included North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice, city councillors Reid Skelton-Morven and Gurvinder Randhawa, former mayor Herb Pond, Prince Rupert RCMP Sgt. Dave Uppal, Lester Centre general manager Michael Gurney, along with many students and a host of other diverse participants from around town.
David Armstrong, who worked to form the club, explained that the group was looking for an enjoyable and engaging fundraiser to hold to help with the club’s tournament fees and travel costs. He credits a round table discussion — and the suggestion of something “big and continuous” from Scott Langille — for bringing the idea to life.
|Andy Chugh of the debate club relayed stories about his childhood during some of his time on stage. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)|
“The Speakathon has been going really well so far,” Armstrong said on Saturday afternoon. “We’ve had a super wide variety of topics, we’ve had pastors, we’ve had criminal justice workers, we’ve had lawyers, teachers, people to talk about traditional medicine. There’s never been a down moment.”
|Debate club’s Aiden Murphy-Morven spoke about his experience spending a year in France as part of the Rotary Youth Exchange. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)|
The idea turned out to be a strong one, as more than $2,300 had been raised by Saturday evening. The event ran from 4 p.m. to midnight on Friday, and 7 a.m. to midnight on Saturday. Speeches were open to the public, with sizeable audience numbers, and participation, at many points during the event. The group also livestreamed the talks on their social media pages to maximize their audience.
Alex Kurial | Journalist
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