Online debating and public speaking success for Perse pupils
25 Mar 2021
Perse public speakers and debaters have made a successful switch to online competitions during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Wendy Hau and Camillo Padulli (both Upper Sixth) reached the national finals of the Cambridge Union schools’ debating competition after finishing third in the first round. Of the 26 teams entered in the opening round, Lily Croke and Olivia Howard (both Year 9) were sixth, Benedict Meissner (Year 11) and Ganesh Mullaparthi (Year 10) 10th and Angela Han and Charlie Stalker (both Year 11) 11th.
Sanjana Bhatnagar and Alina Turchyn (both Year 10) have qualified for the finals of the International Competition for Young Debaters next term following their success in the first round. The Perse was also represented by Catherine Balfour, Ganesh Mullaparthi (both Year 10), Julia Chandy, Lily Croke (both Year 9), Djia Sanath-Vijay and Hercules Voultsos (both Year 8).
Ten Perse students took part in the Oxford Union schools’ debating competition – Wendy Hau, Camillo Padulli (both Upper Sixth), Angela Han, Benedict Meissner, Charlie Stalker (all Year 11), Ganesh Mullaparthi, Vishrut Pisupati, Sourish Sharma (all Year 10), Lily Croke and Olivia Howard (both Year 9) – while Camillo, Wendy and Benedict also entered the English-Speaking Union (ESU) Mace debating competition.
Harry Knight, Angela Han (both Year 11) and Catherine Balfour (Year 10) were runners-up in the regional final of the ESU Churchill public speaking competition, with Catherine earning the best chairperson award. The team had reached this stage by winning the first round, in which Harry was named best speaker. The Perse was also represented by a team featuring Lily Croke, Olivia Howard and Marcus Wentzell (all Year 9).
Meanwhile, the winners of the House public speaking competition included:
- Lower School – Djia Sanath-Vijay (Year 8, Yales)
- Middle School – Marcus Wentzell (Year 9, Yales)
- Senior – Shaaon Bhattacharya (Year 11, Unicorns)
Perse Director of English & Drama Chris Green said: “It’s really good news that external debating and public speaking competitions have been able to continue throughout the pandemic.
“Thanks to the efforts of Perse students, and the willingness of organisations such as the ESU, Cambridge Union Society and Oxford Union Society to continue their major events online, it has been possible to involve more participants than ever in national tournaments.
“All our students from Year 7 to Upper Sixth have done well and particular congratulations go to those who have been part of winning teams or who have gained individual awards.”