Year 10 students, Ryan Maley and Roma Cabanas, travelled to Cambridge University to represent the school at the Final of the International Competition for Young Debaters 2017. They had made it through the qualifying rounds held in London to reach this Final stage.
Their day began at 5.30am, when they caught the train to Cambridge in the company of Mr. Shears, Mrs. Maley and Year 12 students Callan Macewan, Lucy Hatchley and Amy Colfer. Callan, Lucy and Amy have coached Roma and Ryan through the qualifying rounds of the competition and came to support them in the Final. Ryan and Roma also had support from their parents who came to Cambridge to watch the debates.
The competition was demanding and intense. After four debates, Roma and Ryan had encountered teams from around the world in their quest for a place in the final four. By the end of the day they had debated a wide range of complex and topical issues and had discovered that they could compete on equal terms with some of the best young debaters from the UK and abroad.
Roma, Ryan and their sixth-form mentors can congratulate themselves on having represented the school with passion, intelligence and integrity. They also learnt more about Cambridge University where the competition was held. Current Cambridge undergraduates gave Roma, Ryan and their Year 12 mentors advice as to how to improve their debating skills further.
ICYD (International Competition for Young Debaters) is a debating competition in the British Parliamentary Format that was set up to encourage younger students to take up debating and to give them a chance to debate against students of their own age, with motions more suited to them. It is open to all students in Year 10 and below. There are numerous regional rounds across the globe, with the best teams from each round being invited to compete at Finals’ Day.
Peter Shears, Assistant Headteacher with responsibility for more-able students, said: “Congratulations to Ryan and Roma! They can be very proud indeed of having done so well in such a challenging and demanding competition. Our Year 12 mentors also did an excellent job and can be very proud of themselves too.”
Ryan Maley, Debater and Year 10 student, said: “I enjoyed and learned from the experience and to go up against schools such as Eton and Westminster is a rare opportunity. We also beat Brighton College in a debate on the day. I think it is great that a competition like this exists for young people and it has given me an opportunity I never would have thought of a year ago.”
Roma Cabanas, Debater and Year 10 student, said: “Ryan and I have only been debating since the start of Year 10, so to get to the national finals was definitely unexpected and such a privilege. The immense support from the Year 12 mentors (Callan, Amy, Lucy and the rest), our fellow Year 10 debaters and, of course, Mr. Shears has been invaluable and I could not be more grateful to all of them. I hope that Ryan and I getting to the finals encourages more people to join Debate Club so that they too can have this amazing opportunity.”
Year 10 students who would like to join DebateSoc are welcome to come along to MG4 on Thursdays at 3.15 to find out more.