This house believes...
This house believes that our Sixth Form debating leaders will go far.
Well, in truth, there is no debate to be had, is there?
And we, for once, are lost for words in trying to convey how grateful we are for our three Year 13 leaders who have done so much to support and mentor our Junior and Senior School debaters. We will really miss them and wish them the very best with their future careers.
Looking back, Isabelle M-S., Vanya C. and Amelie A., (pictured with teachers of English, Olympia Severis and Joanna Cottingham), have kept debating alive at St Mary's, come what may. Even during Covid times when, ironically, the English Speaking Union had already announced that the motion for their annual public speaking competition would be "Is it too late to save the planet?". Adaptable and determined as ever, the team were saved from a 2021 lockdown defeat by the wonders of Zoom, with the team going forward to the regional finals and Isabelle being awarded the prize of best speaker.
At the time, as a Year 12 Ambassador for Writing, Amelie firmly believed that:
"Debating builds confidence that will last a lifetime!"
In 2022 the debating team took their art to the Junior School to give them an early taste of what was to come in the Senior School. Their mini debates jumped in at the deep end with "This House believes that zoos should be illegal", "This House believes that every home should have a pet", and "This House believes that each household should only be allowed to eat meat once a week to save the planet". Each team was supported by members of the Senior School debating team, who helped them to create well-structured and thoughtful arguments and made sure everyone had a chance to speak.
Isabelle strongly believes that all secondary school students should have some involvement in debating due to the positive impact it has on self-confidence, eloquence and collaborative teamwork, and she delighted in applying her skills to her other commitments such as the Sixth Form Prefect Team.
Vanya, customarily the summary speaker, has, she says, learned to present information in the most calm, concise and clear way possible, in a short space of time while under extreme pressure - skills which she knows will be useful at some point in her life when she may have to stand up for herself and her beliefs. Think twice before picking a verbal fight with Vanya!
From learning self-confidence and self-belief, to coaching others and even considering new career paths such as Amelie's choice of Law, it's obvious that while all three have clearly experienced the value of the art of debate, they have enjoyed sharing their enthusiasm to the benefit of other students at St Mary's and we are extremely proud of the three of them.