The Senior House Debating Competition occurs annually, with every house putting forward a team made up of a combination of four, fifth and sixth formers who compete on a weekly basis under the British Parliamentary format of debating. This year saw highly talented teams competing throughout with a variety of experienced and debuting talent on display.
Port Hill’s ascension to the finals was truly a journey worth reflecting on. After losing our first debate in the group stages to a formidable Grove team, this was just the motivation we needed to press forward and redouble our efforts for our upcoming debates, none of which we could afford to lose if we hoped to have a place in the final. As a result of our team confidence and resilience when facing strong opposition and thanks to the valiant efforts of fellow Port Hillians, many of whom had no prior experience of public speaking, we advanced out of the group stage victorious, securing us a place in the quarter-finals.
After successfully navigating our way through the quarter finals against Grove’s second team and defeating Radbrook in a dayboy showdown in the semi-finals, we faced the daunting prospect of the rapidly approaching final against Grove, the House who had defeated us in our debut debate.
Despite the pressure and knowledge that we would have to step up our game to defeat our Grove rivals, the finals promised to be a spectacle of epic proportions. Drawing upon the fervour of our housemate’s support and our confidence in each other as a team, we secured Port Hill’s first ever senior debating victory after an impassioned debate over whether the UK can be considered a democracy, which had one of the largest audience turnout to date.
No matter where they placed, every participant in this year’s Senior House Debating Competition should be proud of their performance and will benefit from the valuable skills developed over the course of the competition including increased public speaking confidence and the ability to better work and cooperate within a team, to name just a few.
I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate all of the participants in this year’s competition, express thanks to all debate judges and extend particular gratitude to Mr Mackridge for his time and dedication in ensuring this year’s competition was such a resounding and enjoyable success.
Oliver F (Ph, LVI)