Displaying accomplished speaking skills and consummate confidence, Presentation College Chaguanas students, Kabir Singh and Jerod Griffith, were crowned champions of the 2017 Junior Achievement Leadership Debating Series when they turned back a fierce challenge from Queen’s Royal College (QRC) at the auditorium of the Central Bank, Port of Spain, last week.
In a virtual clash of the titans, which was witnessed by President Anthony Carmona and chaired by Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Esmond Forde, the Presentation pair of Singh and Griffith triumphed over QRC’s Kai-Jeevan Kalideen and Derron Philanders in a very close contest.
“We are thrilled to receive the championship trophy as we put in a lot of hard work for the series. We want to thank our teachers for the tremendous effort that they put in to get us to the stage we were today. We also congratulate our opponents from QRC for presenting a really great challenge. We are all winners, though, since everyone has benefited from this exercise,” said a happy Singh, who also paid tribute to his colleague Griffith and alternate, Tej Capildeo.
Presentation argued against the motion: “Be it resolved that happiness is the most important indicator of well-being and success at the level of the individual”.
Judges for the final were Dominic Kalipersad, Averil Ramchand, Merle Carrington, Annette des Isles and Dr. Rose Ann Walker.
The JA Leadership Debate Series was supported by First Citizens Bank and Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business.
Giving the judges’ assessment of the riveting and often humorous exchanges, Kalipersad admitted that the judges had a tough decision to make. “We were thrilled with today’s performances, such as the high level of debate. It was a tough one. The presentation styles were very engaging and we have seen the transformation of the debaters from the beginning when they were hesitant and timid to today when they stood as adults and were ready to conquer the world,” said Kalipersad, a noted television broadcaster.
JA Executive Director, J. Errol Lewis, congratulated all schools, which took part in the debate series, noting that the initiative help to develop leadership and debating skills among the country’s young men and women.
Although recounting his difficulty in getting support from the corporate community, Lewis assured the students, teachers, principals and the audience that next year’s edition would be bigger with a wider participation from schools.
JA Chairman, Anthony Pierre, pointed out to the audience that the movement had stood the test of time as a leader in youth development and youth entrepreneurship since the 1970s and was involved in programmes for the young from kindergarten to tertiary level.