Nearly 50 high school and middle school students participated recently in the Conyers Inter-Schools Debate Tournament at St. Ignatius School.

All public and private schools in the Cayman Islands debated the topic “torture is justifiable to combat terrorism,” for which teams had to prepare an argument for both sides. There were also two impromptu rounds, on education and technology.

More than 30 members of the community, including lawyers, accountants and parents volunteered as judges. Retired Grand Court Justice Alex Henderson determined the overall winner.

“I was impressed with the ability and enthusiasm of these young debaters. Oral advocacy skills are important in law, politics, diplomacy and business. The experience of engaging in a structured debate before a large audience is invaluable,” Mr. Henderson said.

For the third time in four tournaments, St. Ignatius was the overall winner. Debating in the competitive division, the team of Elijah Samson and Sarah Jackson won first place. Rafael McKenzie and Chadene Brooks of John Gray High School took second place.

Elijah was also named best individual debater in the competition.

Conyers also introduced a novice division for younger students from Years 9 and 10. While the focus of the novice division was less competitive and more instructional, it was still in an inter-school, competitive setting.

Sarah Goring of Conyers’ human resources team said, “Conyers is committed to supporting students of all ages …. By offering this new division, we are engaging with students at a younger age and presenting a platform for them to practice their spoken word.
“The power of speech and persuasion is something which our lawyers use in their careers daily. This is a skill that we are proud to be able to support.”

Cayman International School won the novice division, with Tahiti Seymour taking first place. The school also took the top four speaker positions.

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