The debate team is a club that allows students to participate in a forum to express their voices, learn new things and practice speaking, listening and writing skills, all with the guidance of Ms Cindy Sullivan.
This year, all debates have been held online, so we stay at school to work together and jump on Zoom to debate. In the Year 10 team, our experience level differs, with Muskan being a member of debate club for a few years, compared to Ghiwa and Aleyna only joining this year. Ghiwa and Aleyna had a slow and confusing start at the beginning, still trying to figure out what debating was and how it worked. But, as we attended more meetings, researched more issues and wrote more speeches, we eventually got the hang of things. A typical debate competition begins with tension and stress in the air but this would typically disappear as we each present our speeches and listen to speeches from our opponents. It was no surprise that we lost two debates at the start of the competition, however, the adrenaline motivated us to do better each round. As a team, we have also became so close personally and now are great friends. With every meeting and competition our eagerness to improve and win grows. With every debate we received lots of useful feedback, which we considered and applied in our next debate. Soon enough we had our secret topic debates. These debates involve a random debatable prompt which we are either for or against.
We are only given one hour to write our speech, so we need to swiftly research, plan, write and finalise our speech. The three of us then confidently deliver our speeches whilst attentively listening to the opposing team, making notes on flaws and potential rebuttals. During these debates, we learned a whole heap of skills, including: how to use tone of voice, pace and emphasis; structuring an argument; writing in confined time spans; overcoming public speaking anxiety and research. With all our efforts and hard work, we eventually won a couple of debates. We are so proud of our achievements and progress and are grateful for the opportunity the debate club granted us.
We cannot wait to continue our journey. Aleyna Ozsoy, Ghiwa Assaad and Muskan Pant (with thanks to Sahra Abdulahi for being a reliable substitute and participating in one debate)