Perse students talk their way into prestigious debating final
Ebrahim Daultana and Tyler Sabot (both Lower Sixth) successfully argued their case to gain a place in the Oxford Union Debating competition national final.
They qualified via a regional online round and will now take part in an in-person final in Oxford on Saturday (12 March).
For Ebrahim, the regional qualifier was his first taste of competitive debating with just 15 minutes to prepare for each topic.
Ebrahim said: “I was encouraged and given the confidence to take part by Mr Green (Director of English & Drama) and it sounded like a nice opportunity.
“Even though it was on Zoom, it was still an intense experience because it was very competitive with many people making great points. There were around 30 teams and there were just five that could qualify for the nationals.
“However, it was a very nice environment and everyone was very positive with one another. I learned a lot and it was a really nice experience.
“We put in a really strong performance and for that I’d like to thank Tyler, who would very meticulously remember points I’d spoken about and bring them up again to strengthen our arguments.”
Tyler, who has been involved in school debating clubs since Year 7, also enjoyed taking part as the pair tackled topics including whether professional athletes should be viewed as role models and whether big film and TV roles should be recast with minority actors or if new roles should be created especially for them.
Tyler said: “I enjoy debating because it allows you to voice opinions and even if you may not agree with them, it teaches you to be persuasive and introduces you to different outlooks on different issues.
“To me, even though debating is seen as beating the other team, I don’t treat it that way. I treat it as trying to be the best rather than trying to tear the other team down.”
Both are now relishing the prospect of pitting their wits against around 120 teams of top young debaters in the national final.
Tyler said: “It sounds as if it will be live rather than online which will be interesting because it’s been a while since we’ve done any live in person debating and I’ve never been to Oxford, so that will be good.
Ebrahim added: “It’s definitely something to look forward to. We’ll have to gear up for it and it will be exciting to represent the school in the final.”