The Conyers Inter-Schools Debate Tournament took place on Thursday, 5 October at the ARC at the Cayman International School in Camana Bay. All local schools were invited to take part and nearly 50 students from both private and public schools participated in this tournament, which included the largest turnout of senior students.
Six schools from Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac were against one another, debating on the theme of, “This House believes that Donald Trump has been good for the American political system”, for which debaters had to prepare an argument for both sides. The topic brought together a great deal of passion, logic and humour, unlike nearly any other resolution.
A new component was added to the format, which allowed students to ask questions directly to one another by using Points of Information. This promoted a more direct challenge and rebuttal, so that students could not speak past each other.
This year’s winners were as follows:
• Richard Weber, Cayman International School, Best Speaker
• Sadie Finch, Cayman International School, Runner up Speaker
• Martin Diaz-Pascual, Clifton Hunter High School, Third Place Speaker
• Chadene Brooks and Rafael McKenzie, John Gray High School, Winning Team
• Richard Weber and Charles Sokohl, Cayman International School, Runner up Team
• Victoriya Bolgova and Giselle Ebanks, St. Ignatius Catholic School, Third Place Team
• Makeda Harris, St. Ignatius Catholic School, Best Speaker
• Ellie Nickason, Cayman International School, Runner up Speaker
• Naja Beach, John Grey High School, Third Place Speaker
Fraser Hughes, a Conyers’ litigation Partner, said: “Debating teaches students to think and structure arguments in an organised and persuasive manner. Through the debate tournament, we aim to encourage the integration of world issues into every day conversation. Improving the ability to think and persuade creates an educational foundation that is transferrable to all kinds of career and situations, the tournament offers the ideal space for which students can begin to have these discussions”. He continued, “I would like to congratulate all of the students on another successful tournament and to thank our business partners in the community for their participation”.
Joint organiser, Ian Whan Tong, Cayman National Bank, said, “The Conyers Inter-Schools Debate Tournament has become a prominent fixture on the school calendar, and the soar in the event’s popularity is testament to this. We are pleased to see that as a result of the tournament, schools are incorporating debate into their regular academic programmes, and even more so at junior levels”.
In keeping with past events, judges were drawn largely from the business and legal community. Madam Justice Carter of the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands judged the final debate, with a number of other members of the community involved, including the Hon. Roy McTaggart, Hon. Joseph Hew, Hon. Dwayne Seymour, Hon. Franz Manderson and Mr. David Wight, Acting Minister of District Administration, Tourism and Transport.
“The debate series offers students a way to develop their confidence and critical-thinking skillset, as well was learn about important global issues. We are proud to offer this platform and to continue to see it grow in popularity is rewarding”, commented, Sarah Goring of Conyers’ HR team.
Conyers is the founding and sole sponsor of high school debating in the Cayman Islands. The next tournament is scheduled to be held in the spring of 2018.