Senior high schools from the Eastern and Western Districts participated in the 20th Annual District Debate on Tuesday (November 29) at The Bahamas Teacher’s Union Hall.
Daphne Barr, Senior Education Officer for the Ministry of Education Science and Technology in Grand Bahama said, “We have the Western District and the Eastern District participating in the same event.”
Barr explained that usually schools from Bimini all the way to Grand Cay participate in the competition; however, due to the hurricane those Out Island schools were unable to make travel arrangements in time. Therefore, they could not compete.
“So we have the three government high schools and all of the other private schools competing,” she said.
Barr informed this daily that after the competition the two winning teams will eventually continue to compete in the national competition to be held in New Providence in April of next year.
Barr noted that she has high hopes for the Grand Bahama teams. There are four rounds and the first takes place in January 2017.
“We have two teams in Grand Bahama participating in the nationals, they will leave in January and they will compete against another district,” she said.
Barr explained that if they can make it to the final round they would compete against the last district standing and whichever team wins is crowned the national winner out of all 16 districts.
“Grand Bahama has been known for producing some of the best debaters, but for the past several years we have been challenged,” she said.
Barr stated that although Grand Bahama has not won in a few years, the district is still holding the largest number of winners throughout the competition’s history. This district has also been the only one to have two teams competing against each other in the final round of the national competition.
She added that winning is not the only reward of participating in the competition.
“It’s a good experience, because right now within the group of coaches, one of the coaches, his name is Trevor Johnson, actually in 2011 he was a student debater and he was the National Overall Best Speaker. So, now he is a teacher at Eight Mile Rock High School and he is sitting here as a coach and I think that is wonderful,” she said.
Johnson told this daily that this is his first year of teaching and he decided to lend his debating and speaking talents to help his students at Eight Mile Rock High School.
“It’s a rather interesting role, the role has switched and I’m working with the students to make sure that they’re prepared. To show that the content is good, the delivery, the eye contact, and just the body language,” he said.
Johnson noted that a lot goes into preparing for a speech or debate; the final product shown on competition day is nothing comparable to the progress of getting there. He said that he enjoys what he is doing and is looking forward to much success from his students.
He shared that there are about 10 students on the school’s debate team.
Barr interjected that more often that not students who participate in these types of events do better on their external school exams, such as the BGCSEs.
Published Thursday, December 8, 2016