source: Bernews

On Saturday, March 6th the Bermuda Debate Society hosted the 31st annual National Schools Debate Tournament, with teams from Bermuda High School and Warwick Academy taking the top prizes for the middle and senior school divisions respectively.

Held online this year, the tournament featured debaters from BHS, Saltus, Warwick Academy, and Somersfield.

Forming the winning high school team from Warwick Academy were McKenzie-Kohl Tuckett, Noah da Silva, and An Mei Daniels. Winning in the middle school category from BHS were Varshini Srinivasan, Anne-Camille Haziza, Helena Thomas. Coaches for the winning teams were Mrs. Stefanie Sinclair from Warwick Academy and Miss. Amy Dingley-Jones from BHS.

The senior school runners-up were Maile Dalene, Elodie Manning, and Grace McFadden from BHS coached by Mr. Harvey Cornish. Also from BHS were the middle school runners-ups Nadia Gibson, Robin Selley, and Kalea Walker, coached by Miss. Dingley-Jones.

McKenzie-Kohl Tuckett, a Warwick Academy student, took home the Victoria Cox Memorial Award for top overall speaker in the senior school division and the Michelle Outerbridge Memorial Award for the best performance in the impromptu round. Additionally, Olly Cherry from Somersfield Academy received the Bermuda Junior Service League Award for best speaker in the middle school division.

Noah da Silva from Warwick Academy won the David Saul Award for the best performance in the senior school finals against BHS. Rounding off the top 5 in the senior school division were Elodie Manning [2nd, BHS], Noah da Silva [3rd, Warwick Academy], An Mei Daniels [4th, Warwick Academy], and Cameron Lucas [5th, Saltus Grammar School]. The middle school division’s top 5 speakers included Chris Medeiros [2nd, Saltus], Annie Pursell [3rd, Somersfield], Jack Fischer [4th, Saltus], and Anne-Camille Haziza [5th, BHS].

“Senior school students faced off and debated that “civil unrest is a legitimate form of protest”, while middle school students debated that “governments should provide all citizens and residents with health care”.

Students were also challenged with an impromptu round in which middle and senior school students independently prepped and debated the motions, “This house believes that climate change is the responsibility of the government not corporations and companies.” and “this house believes that states should not erect statues or memorials which commemorate or glorify military campaigns or the service of soldiers in war” respectively. Students were given only one hour to prepare for these debates before facing the judges and their opponents and were able to use only a dictionary, an almanac and their wits during that hour.

“We are incredibly happy to have been able to host a tournament despite the pandemic, and would like to thank the BDS board, debaters, coaches, adjudicators, volunteers and supporters who came together to make this happen. Hosting a tournament online was a new and great undertaking, but we are grateful that the students were able to participate, and by all accounts it seems that they all enjoyed themselves,” remarked the Bermuda Debate Society’s President, Nikki-Lynn Marshall.

“We remain committed to expanding debate within Bermuda’s schools and are looking forward to seeing more schools bring their debate programs back after pausing them due to the pandemic,” Ms. Marshall added.

The first National Schools Debate Tournament was held in 1989 as a community service project launched by the Bermuda Junior Service League under President Victoria Cox. The project’s intent was to provide a forum in which all secondary school students island wide could come together & participate in a non-athletic competition.

If you are interested in supporting the Debate Society, or if you would like your child to get involved in debate you can contact