International debating final awaits Perse pupils

Cheyoon Kim (Year 10) and Sissi He (Year 9) have talked their way into the finals of an international debating contest following success in the regional qualifiers.

They came fifth in the regional round at The Cambridge Union to book their place in the finals of the International Competition for Young Debaters, which will take place at the same venue next month.

The pair won two of their four debates on the topics of the imposition of a 100% inheritance tax should be imposed and the banning of social media influencers from featuring children in their content.

They were joined in the regional round by two further excellent Perse teams – Magnus Burt and Vivek Kondel-Laws (both Year 10), who won a debate on whether a BBC-style impartiality requirement should be imposed on all news platforms, and Freya Aidt and Sophie Zhang (both Year 9).

Reaching the final was a particularly impressive feat as Cheyoon, who was ranked in the top 10 of individual speakers, had not taken part in an in-person event before.

Meanwhile, it was Sissi’s debut in any form of debating competition.

A delighted Cheyoon said: “There were so many good teams taking part. We just came for the experience for future competitions and didn’t expect to get to the final.

“With the debate on inheritance tax, we were given the motion a few days before, so we prepared a lot for that and were pretty confident.

Sissi added: “Everyone only had 15 minutes to get ready for the other debates. With the influencers debate, we spoke first. Because it was a subject I was more passionate about, it made it a lot easier for me personally.”

Both pupils are now looking forward to taking part in the final, which will feature teams from as far afield as Canada and south-east Asia.

Cheyoon said: “We are novices in debating and every team is going to be super good, but it should be fun.”


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