Finals’ Day of the International Competition for Young Debaters was held on Saturday 5 May at Oxford University. The day consisted of four round of debates and then a grand final, with two teams from Dulwich having progressed from the regional round: Dulwich A, comprised of Ronan Patrick and Raffy Marshall, and Dulwich B, with Edmund Stutter and Sebastian Curtis. For the first time ever, a team from Dulwich won this prestigious competition for pupils in year 10 and below.
The motion of the first round was ‘This House would ban gambling’, with Dulwich A coming first in their room and Dulwich B third. The second round found the boys debating the motion ‘This House would punish parents for their children’s acts of bullying’, with both teams placing second in their respective rooms. The teams faired better in the third round, with both taking firsts in their rooms on the motion ‘This House would ban the payment of ransoms’. The fourth round was key to securing a place in the grand final and Dulwich A came second in their room and Dulwich B third, having debated the motion ‘This House would make it compulsory for 18 to 25-year-olds to vote’.
After a tense wait, the finalists were announced: Westminster, Upper Canada College, Winchester College B and Dulwich A. The boys were closing proposition for the motion ‘This House would ban dictatorships from participating in or hosting major sporting events’. After hearing all the speeches, our debating coach, Sayeqa Islam, was in no doubt Dulwich had taken the day, confirmed by the unanimous decision of the judges announced shortly afterward. Not only is this the first time Dulwich has won this competition, but Raffy and Ronan only joined Debating Society in the Michaelmas term.
Dulwich B should equally be congratulated, having placed 15th on the team tab out of the 56 teams at Finals Day. Raffy Marshall was the highest placed Dulwich debater on the speakers’ tab, having come 8th, with Ronan Patrick 14th, and Edmund and Seb placed joint 21st out of the 112 speakers in attendance.