Following their success in the South-Central regional round of the Oxford Schools’ debating competition, Lily Taylor-Fitzgibbon and Yan Mezhebytski competed in Finals’ Day on Saturday. The competition was held at the prestigious Oxford Union, home of the world’s foremost debating society.
There were 140 teams competing, not only from across the country but internationally also, with teams coming from four different continents. Unsurprisingly, the standard of debating was exceptionally high and Lily and Yan were challenged to perform at their very best.
During the course of the day there were four rounds of debating. After each motion was released, the competitors were given just 15 minutes to prepare, with no access to external sources of information. The four motions were challenging and wide-ranging with a focus on important issues such as the use of social media by children and the rise of citizen journalism.
As novices in the competition, Lily and Yan performed admirably, mastering their nerves and demonstrating their ability to think critically under pressure. Lily reflected that it helped to boost her confidence with public-speaking and encouraged her to have greater conviction in her own ideas whilst Yan felt that it was an honour to debate alongside such excellent debaters. Despite not breaking into the semi-finals this year, Lily and Yan are determined to further hone their debating skills before hopefully competing again next year.
By Miss Briony Thomas