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Saltus does debate contest double

It's debatable: While the topics might have been, Saltus Grammar School's success at the recent Interschool Debate Competition was not. Here the successful middle and high school teams are show with coaches Christianna Hiles and Stefanie Pedro .

It was a day of excitement, discussion and debate as the Bermuda National Debate competitions were held at The Berkeley Institute. For the entire day, students from BHS, CedarBridge Academy, Dellwood Middle School, Mount Saint Agnes Academy, Saltus Grammar School, Somersfield Academy and Warwick Academy all came together to represent their school.The final debates for middle school and high school champions were very close. Saltus came in first for both the middle school and high school debates with Arielle DeSilva, Eoin McMahon, James Mulderig on senior school team A and William Campbell, William Way and Nalani Dowling on middle school team A. MSA and BHS were runners-up in the middle school and high school categories respectively.Hosted by the Bermuda Debate Society and Bermuda Junior Service League, the competition started early on Saturday, November 20, and all the students were ready. Some had been writing their speeches, gathering information and practicing for weeks as they thought of good arguments for things like “should textbooks be replaced with eBook readers?” or “Should casinos be opened in Bermuda?” In the competition, each team (one for middle school and one for high school) had to come up with good points for both sides of the arguments. There was even a section of the competition called impromptu, where the teams didn’t know what the motion they were arguing was and when they found out, they only got an hour to prepare their argument, with only a dictionary and an almanac.Of course, debating in general isn’t just a bunch of people arguing. It’s a very organised and well-controlled type of competition, where one cannot just blurt out one’s personal opinion. Each person on the team has his or her own specific task. For example, the first speaker of the entire debate has to introduce teams, the adjudicators (or judges) and the time-keeper. Once the speaker has finished, then the debates begin.Two teams debate. One team argues for the proposition (for the motion) and the other argues for the opposition (against the motion). There are three speakers for each side, and the first speaker for the proposition goes first. The first speaker goes through all the formalities of stating the motion (the proposed statement) defining the motion etc., then she goes through with her points. These points have to be backed up with research and statistics. Once the first proposition speaker has talked for five minutes, then the first opposition speaker goes. This continues until all the speakers for both sides have spoken. Finally, the judges make their decision on who the winning team is based on things like the teams style, content and strategy.The competition went on for the whole day, and the finalists of the competition were MSA against Saltus for middle school and BHS against Saltus for high school honours. There were a lot of good arguments; however, only one high school and middle school team could win: in both cases teams from Saltus Grammar School.All the schools did a great job with their debates, and next year’s competition is sure to be just as interesting as this year’s!