National finals are a good proposition for GSAL debaters

Wednesday 22 February 2017

Debaters from The Grammar School at Leeds (GSAL) have broken through to the finals of two prestigious national schools competitions, with a good chance of reaching a third.

The schools competitions hosted by Oxford and Cambridge Union Societies and the English Speaking Union (ESU) Schools’ Mace are the ultimate in schools debating. These three competitions bring together the best young debaters from across the UK, who gain valuable experience by debating controversial topics and current affairs, developing their knowledge of the world alongside their reasoning and public speaking skills.

Gemma Timmons U6 and Sanjana Gunasekaran L6 will compete at the Oxford Schools’ final in March, as well as another GSAL team, Aditya Tambe U6 and Mahika Gogi L6. They broke through to the final at the north regional round, which was hosted at GSAL and involved 30 teams. With only two teams making the final, GSAL will be the only school from the region at the national final.

Aditya and Mahika are debating as a team this year for the first time. Mahika said: “We assume opposite roles and complement each other. The qualifying competition was tense because we didn’t know how we had scored until the end, and we’re so excited to get through.”

Gemma and Mahika have also won the regional round of the ESU Schools Mace and will compete at the north of England finals for a place in the national final.

GSAL’s youngest national finalists are Rohan Karthik and Harris Aldridge, both Y11, who broke through to the Cambridge Union Schools Debating Competition final, along with the more experienced GSAL team of Sanjana and Mahika.

Rohan said: “We got into debating in Y7 and this is the furthest we’ve gone. It’s the first time we’ve entered the Cambridge competition and we got straight into the final. The motions are quite intricate compared to more junior competitions, so we expected to get destroyed but it’s been a great experience!”

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