Perse students argue their case in major debating final
Alina Turchyn and Rebecca Li (both Lower Sixth) made their point to reach the grand final of the Manchester Schools Debating Competition.
They finished third overall among an international field after coming through several rounds of debating on the day to make it to the final.
Topics discussed included the dominant narrative of the triumph of good over evil in children’s fiction, giving lower tax rates to women and the implementation of a four-day working week.
Having also recently taken part in the Oxford Schools’ Debating national finals, Alina and Rebecca were thrilled with their placing.
Alina said: “We’d gone into it hoping to get to the grand final. If you do well at the start, you get put up against stronger teams and we ended up with a team from Zimbabwe, who went on to win the competition, from the second debate onwards.
“We were very equally matched and it was a great experience. We definitely got to know their tactics and they were a very high-level debating team. You debate to the level of the people around you, so it really pushed us.”
Rebecca added: “It was a long day, but the adrenaline kept us going. There was a lot of downtime because each debate is only 40 minutes and you only speak for five, so it’s also very intense.
“We opened in all but one of the debates in the heats and you have to watch for people trying to take down your points.
“However, we closed the final debate and then you have to be switched on for the whole time because you have to respond to what everyone else has said.”
Despite narrowly missing out on the overall honours, Alina and Rebecca had the consolation of earning the highest number of speaker points during the day.
Alina said: “It’s all based on the level of the debate and how you respond to other people, and we both had good presentation and made strong points.
Rebecca added: “One of the things that really worked for us was framing the debate, so talking about other stakeholders that hadn’t been considered to add more impact, but the Zimbabwean team caught on to that!”