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Friday 21 September 2018
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JA debate series quarter-finals begin

Queen’s Royal College student Kai-Jeevan Kalideen leads off the debate for his school in Round 3 of the Junior Achievement Leadership Debate Series 2017 on Friday.

Three schools –Presentation College, (Chaguanas), Queen’s Royal College (QRC) and NorthGate College (St Augustine) – dominated the Round 3 knock-out stage of the 2017 Junior Achievement (JA) Leadership Debate Series last week, with each school placing two teams in the quarter-finals, which are scheduled for today and tomorrow.

Naparima Girls’ High School and St Joseph’s Convent, St. Joseph also made it to the quarter-finals.

Keen competition and high standard of debate have been the benchmarks for the competition since its preliminary round on October 3, said a media release. Students from 28 secondary schools put forward compelling arguments for and against the proposition: “Be it resolved that the education system that currently exists in TT is sufficient to produce successful 21st-century global citizens.”

With schools allowed to enter two teams in the competition, Presentation Team B came up against San Juan South Secondary Team B in the Round 3 knock-out stage last Wednesday, speaking against the proposition and winning to go through to the quarter-finals. That same day, QRC’s Team A turned back Manzanilla Secondary, while NorthGate Team A overcame Vessigny Secondary.

Naparima Girls debaters Nirvana Maharaj, right, and Shreya Gopeesingh chat with their competitors from Shiva Boys’ Hindu College, Sudarshan Motilal, left, and Darius Ramnath during Round 3 of the JA Leadership Debate Series 2017.

On Thursday, St Joseph’s Convent prevailed over Scarborough Secondary, while NorthGate Team B won against San Juan South Secondary to join their colleagues in the quarter-finals. Presentation’s second team, Team A, also argued their way to quarter-finals, with victory over Naparima College. Naparima Girls continued their impressive run in the competition on Friday, with a triumph over Shiva Boys Hindu College, establishing themselves as one of the favourites to go all the way. The final quarter-final spot was secured by QRC’s Team B, which won the judges’ decision over Arima Central Secondary.

Judges for Friday’s two debates were Dr Rose-Ann Walker, Averil Ramchand and Nicola Harvey-Mitchell, while Allan Benjamin chaired proceedings, with Elizabeth Calder as timekeeper.

The motion to be debated at the quarter-finals is: “Be it resolved that happiness is the most important indicator of well-being and success at the level of the individual.”

At the start of last Friday’s session, JA executive director J Errol Lewis, informed the students that they had to prepare themselves to “win and not win” in the competition. Lewis advised: “Sometimes you have times of stress and challenges, but you can’t climb a mountain if it is smooth. One of you will walk away with not getting first place and you have to decide what you hope to gain from it. You have the option to seek the benefits you want to derive from this exercise.”

The JA Leadership Debate Series aims to develop critical thinking, the development of research and problem-solving skills, promote dispute resolution skills among youths and cultivate a positive cadre of youths to become productive citizens.

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