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Rotary Youth Speaks Debate 2020

Posted: 17th January 2020

Many congratulations to the four Wychwood teams who competed in this year’s Rotary Youth Speaks Debating competition, held at Wychwood on Thursday 16th January. The slightly different format did not faze our young speakers and judges even felt that standards had been rather higher than in the past which was very encouraging.

Mr Humphreys helped Margaux and Teresa to debate world trade with intelligent argument, rich statistical data and fascinating anecdotal support. Beth as Chair managed this very composed team with great maturity and the judges commented on the ambitious material approached by teams, and this was certainly no exception.

The team ‘Bring on Adversity’ comprised Olivia and Isobel battling out the debate that success is more likely if an individual overcomes adversity. Kept in check by Chair, Milly, success was in the air and the girls were runners up in their age group. The strong sporting examples explored by Liv were countered in a quirky and amusing way by Izzy. Judges spoke of the importance of showing your personalities and the personalities of all of the girls shone through. Well done!

In the Senior competition Mabel and Azahara, last year’s main speakers on opposing teams, joined forces and, in the words of Chair Rebecca, created a ‘super team’ to debate their proposition that society favours the underdog. The judges spoke of the importance of countering argument with precise and directly related points and the girls managed this extremely well.

Overall winners at Senior level were Tillie, Sophie and Anuoluwa, debating the role of superheroes and their influence on children. Heartfelt arguments on both sides, amusing anecdotes and examples, as well as scientifically supported wit and a confident delivery ensured that Sophie and Anu had made the right decision committing an evening of a busy week of GCSE mocks to the cause. Particularly well done to Tillie who had been so very keen to take part after last year’s success at Intermediate level that she was happy to join forces, and compromise rehearsal time around the others’ commitments. They all found the hero inside themselves!

All girls can be thrilled with their performances and many thanks to all those in the various Oxford Rotary clubs for supporting pupils in Oxford schools as they hone their public speaking and debating skills.

Bridget Sherlock

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