On Friday 14 June the RPA Year 7 and 9 debating teams travelled to the opulent Dartmouth House, home of the English Speaking Union, to debate in the Richmond Borough finals of the annual London Debates. The students were initially intimidated by the lush decor but did not allow their enthusiasm and commitment to wane. The opening debate saw both teams argue whether "all forms of gambling should be illegal". Some strong points were raised but both sides took many hits by failing to address the comments of the opposition. At the end of round one there were only two points between the best and the worst performance.
Round two asked whether "all zoos should shut down". Teams only had 30 minutes to prepare and this was really the point at which everyone got into their stride. Every team put in a focused and dynamic performance, challenging the points of the opposition with great precision. Michelle's skillful rebuttal that "even the nicest house is not so nice if you are under house arrest" opened an advantage for the RPA Year 9s but the Orleans Park Year 10 team held their ground, arguing that the animals would have suffered greater discomfort had not been taken from inhospitable habitats. In a parallel debate, Dylan wowed the judges with his theatrical take on the issue, overshadowing the reserved opposition.
The final saw the RPA and Orleans Park Year 7 teams go head to head. The motion was "This house believes the government should not subsidize the arts". Unfortunately, our team had less to say on this issue and felt less confident from the outset. The whole RPA team excelled in the style and creativity of their speeches and victory appeared to be in sight after the first two speeches but in the end Orleans Park displayed a more structured whole-team performance. Orleans Park will be representing Richmond in the finals but congratulations to all participants. RPA will claim second prize of a day-long debating workshop at the school. I feel confident that we will do even better same time next year. Every team member stayed supportive and articulate throughout but "man of the match" went to Abdirahman, who left the opposition in shreds after his unwavering opening speech and objections.
Thank you to
Year 7: Abdirahman, H Dylan G, Jay A, Daniel, A Unai S
Year 9: Nkem N, Ali T, Keren A, Laith K, Michelle B