source: The Royal Gazette
written by: Fiona McWhirter (Senior Reporter)

Teenage debaters will be pitted against former world champions at the end of a two-week boot camp designed to hone their skills.

Three members of Bermuda’s national debate team will take part in the match next week when they will face the 2016 world-beating squad from England.

Kenza Wilks, a Bermudian who has used his own debating success to set up a public speaking firm, CodeBlue Consultancy, worked with the UK-based World Schools Boot Camp to offer the course on island.

The programme started on Monday and will run until Friday.

Mr Wilks said: “We have been overwhelmed with the positive response CodeBlue WSBC has received from students, parents and sponsors on the island.

“We are really looking forward to continuing to bring world-class debate coaching to Bermuda in our future programmes.”

The camp was designed for pupils aged from 12 to 18 with any level of debating experience and offers an introduction for young people who have never tried the hobby.

Mr Wilks made his name after leading the England debate team to victory at the 2016 World Schools Debating Competition, which involved pupils from more than 50 countries.

The then 18-year-old came top out of 460 competitors at the global competition in 2017.

The Bermuda national team is made up of Ywione Darrell and Giselle Concepcion, both 16-year-old Saltus Grammar School pupils, Robert Thomas, 17, from the Berkeley Institute, Cree Dunn, a 16-year-old from Bermuda High School and Kate Tobin, a 16-year-old Somersfield Academy pupil.

Nikki-Lynn Marshall, the Bermuda Debate Society president, said: “We’re very happy for our national team to have this experience.

“Kenza and his colleagues bring a wealth of knowledge and experience that will truly complement the team’s training programme.

“The camp will develop Bermuda debaters, and the debate against Team England will showcase Bermudian talent.”

Mr Wilks will be part of the England team and will be joined by Will Cook, who captained the squad in 2014, and Rosa Thomas.

Coy Kijuan Millett, the Bermuda national team coach, said: “I’m very excited to have our team participate and spar with the incoming instructors, who are themselves former worlds debaters.

“The incoming group bring great experience and skill from which I believe our students will greatly benefit.”

Mr Millett, who is assisted in coaching by Jacari Brimmer-Landy, said the camp was sponsored by organisations and companies including Allied World, Canterbury Law, Conyers, KPMG, AIG, Challenger Banks and the Bermuda Public Services Union, who all provided scholarships and bursaries for pupils to attend the camp.

• Organisers said the public was welcome to watch the showcase debate, which will be held at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute from 5pm on July 12

From left: Ywione Darrell, Cree Dunn, Giselle Concepcion and Kate Tobin, members of Bermuda’s national debate team (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
From left: Ywione Darrell, Cree Dunn, Giselle Concepcion and Kate Tobin, members of Bermuda’s national debate team (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)