the weekly newsletter from Dr Ruth Weeks, Headmistress
Debaters rise to the challenge
15 February 2019
As well as taking part in a weekly debating club, debaters at EHS have the opportunity to take part in external competitions. This term the Debating Captains took part in the second round of the English Speaking Union’s Mace Debating competition.
In the previous round Mandeep Karlcutt and Davina Mahgerefteh had to oppose the motion ‘This House would weight votes such that the younger the voter, the more powerful the vote’. Their thorough preparation and great delivery on the night meant that they were selected for the regional semi-finals. On this occasion they had to propose the motion, ‘This House would boycott the works of artists whose actions are morally reprehensible’. Davina and Mandeep spoke well on an incredibly difficult topic. Their commitment to debating meant travelling all the way to Repton School on a dark and snowy night, but they were rewarded by the opportunity to speak in a venue that closely resembled Hogwarts!
On the very next evening it was the Oxford Union School’s debating competition at the much closer St Paul’s Girls’ School. For this competition we selected two girls who had never taken part in a competition before. I was delighted by how both Mila Manandhar and Fareedat Kenyon responded to being thrown in at the deep end (almost literally as in the first round they had to face last year’s national champions).
On the evening there were over a hundred schools competing. At the Oxford competition students only find out the topics a mere fifteen minutes before they must speak. Mila and Fareedat had to deliver speeches on the representation of women in the House of Commons and the topic of euthanasia. Although there were moments of sheer terror, I think they both enjoyed themselves.
I am incredibly proud of our four competitors and particularly the wonderful debating captains. Girls in Year 10 and above are warmly invited to come along to Debating Club in S20 on Wednesday lunchtimes. Topics this half term have ranged from the MeToo movement to banning cars from the centre of Birmingham and after the school break, we intend to run a session on one of the subjects closest to EHS girls’ hearts - chocolate concrete!