ESU National Debating Competition
1st December, 2017
On Thursday 30 November, Merchiston’s two junior debating teams competed in the English Speaking Union’s National Debating Competition held at Heriot’s. The motion was a very challenging one as they had to support and oppose the motion: this house would introduce compulsory community service of one year for all school leavers. Freddie and John had a very confident win, defeating both Clifton Hall and Tynecastle High in their round.
The boys were commended for their team work, confident rebuttal and full engagement in the cut and thrust of the debate. In the second tie, debating novices Teddy and Tristan also prevailed, defeating Cargilfield and the second Tyncastle team; an astonishing result as neither boy had debated until the clan in-house debates held a few weeks ago. The presiding judge commented that they were “head and shoulders” above the other teams and again the strength of persuasive argument was the deciding factor.
Special mention must be made of Teddy, who had the very difficult job of summating the whole debate. This meant very little pre-prepared material could be used and he had to spontaneously react and explore why his side of the debate triumphed.
The boys all now progress to the second round of this national competition: a real achievement given their novice status.