And so ends the annual house debating competition – School House crowned winners for 2021.
Overall, I think that it is fair to say that this year’s competition took a slightly unorthodox course, having to deal with the inherent difficulties of ‘Zoom’ debating and being pushed back by an unexpected Winter lockdown. Nevertheless, all of its participants, regardless of experience or prowess, showed impressive commitment and stamina to keep up with the weekly fixtures and (oftentimes) pursue their own academic or extra-curricular activities simultaneously, which is testament to the strength of Shrewsbury debating.
As for the School House journey to the final, we started by getting through 4 group stages fixtures relatively unscathed, and found our spot in the business end of the competition and the quarter-final now loomed large. Against a formidable opponent comprised of the best that EDH had to offer, we managed to navigate our way through to the semi-final after managing to convince Mr. Chipperton that animals do not currently have rights. Subsequently, we encountered a younger, yet not to be underestimated Grove team which put forward three promising fifth form debaters. A tough contest, Mr. Fitzgerald and Rev. Keulemans both agreed that School House had collectively made a stronger argument that the British public does not expect too much from its politicians; the final was now in sight and preparations for a motion and date began.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 had other ideas. Initially scheduled for the second week of the Lent term, the final was to be pushed back until the 13th of May in order to be properly enjoyed: both Churchills and School House felt it inappropriate to deny the loyal supporters the opportunity to cheer on their heroes and witness intellectual combat in the flesh.
So, it was to be the Hodgson Hall Theatre which would accommodate the final of the 2021 house debating competition. The motion concerned the West’s role as the guardian of world affairs and certainly did not disappoint the neutral. School House’s argument comprised of an initial examination of what a guardian actually is and what it does, with each speaker then taking one of political, economic and military global affairs to illustrate the West’s incapability to act as this guardian. However, Churchills responded with a slightly different line of argument by presenting the moral issue of not having the West as the guardian of world affairs, and pointing to a host of persuasive examples of the West acting positively on behalf of global affairs. Ultimately, however, it was not to be for this unquestionably talented Churchills team; School House came out as victors and ended this year’s competition.
As a final note, I’d like to congratulate all of the participants in this year’s competition, thank all of the judges, and - on behalf of Shrewsbury debating – give thanks to Mr. Mackridge for masterminding the competition and ensuring its smooth running.