At 11.04 am on Saturday 13 June the moment finally arrived: the draw for the first round of the virtual GDST Debating Tournament was posted to the Tournament’s ‘draw notifications’ channel on Microsoft Teams. One minute later and the first motion to be debated was released. And twenty minutes after that, ten separate, equally passionate debates kicked off via video link, each involving four teams of two girls from different GDST schools. Three debates later, at 17.27, the tournament was over and South Hampstead High School were crowned overall winners.
In the intervening six hours, our three teams of Grace and Tara, Leona and Tevini, and Eliza and Laura did fantastically well, preparing speeches in under 20 minutes, delivering these off the cuff and rebutting opposition arguments on the fly. The standard of the debates was very high, but so too was the level of competitiveness coupled with courtesy, as debaters sought to win the argument. Congratulations to all the girls for taking part.
Laura (L4S) summarises her experience: “For me, the GDST Debating Competition was mostly a chance to improve my debating and to discuss current events. I had only done a few debates before but as it is such a useful skill to have, I decided to give it a go and represent my school in the Year 9 category. The debates were very engaging as the motions were all focusing on current events and situations. We used the same debating format as the one used in the House of Commons which meant that we were doing the same thing as all the MPs in Parliament, as well as debating some of the same topics.
Throughout the competition, our progress was obvious. With each debate our score improved until, in the last debate of the day, we came first! I learnt so much from this experience as well as getting to know a few of the girls on the opposition. If I got the chance, I would definitely do this again, as it was such a rewarding experience because I learnt so much and definitely improved throughout the competition.”
Special thanks are also due Daria and Katie in 6.1 for judging other schools’ debates and offering constructive feedback to the debaters.