On Sunday 16 June, 10 intrepid novices joined Mr Hall at Eton College for a day of challenging debating riposte against some of the best debating schools in the country – including St Paul’s Girls’ School, Westminster and Dulwich College.
The boys demonstrated their ability to look at ideas from different angles, their originality in constructing arguments, criticality in evaluating ideas and excellent comparative analysis skills. Most pleasing of all was watching the boys improve as the competition went on, taking on feedback they were given over the day from judges, Aniket Chakravorty, accompanying staff and other debaters.
Three teams came close to breaking into the two parallel finals. Jonny Sawday and Jonathan Levene, who both put in very respectable performances, missed out on the break by a mere one point after a difficult first debate. Alex Leslie and Fola Otulana from Year 8 had a very impressive run, competing against students who were older than them. Despite the two Junior School pupils missing the break by two points after winning one debate and coming second in another, the judges – many of whom compete internationally and represent the best in the country nationally – were extremely impressed by two boys. The judges even commented that they were amongst the best Year 8 debaters they had ever seen. Indeed, on speaker points, Fola placed 14th whilst Alex managed to finish 30th out of 80 debaters. These are wonderful achievements.
After a full day of competitive debating, it is immensely gratifying to announce the victory of Rahul and Lucas in one of the two parallel finals. They qualified for their final in 6th place out of the top eight teams, and Lucas placed in the top ten speakers on speaker points. Over the whole day, Rahul and Lucas won three and finished second in one of their five debates.
These three teams demonstrated humility in receiving and learning from feedback, determination to improve and strive for excellence, wisdom and sensitivity in tackling difficult issues in the motions and constructing arguments, resilience in performances against tough opposition and integrity in their conduct throughout the day. They were a genuine credit to the School.
It is heartening to see, after recent novice success at Durham, that Habs has the skills, knowledge and potential in our pool of young debaters to significantly improve our standing in debating.
Well done to all involved!