Mackenzie High takes coveted title

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Chief education Officer Marcel Hudson (extreme left) with Mackenzie High’s Angelique DeJonge, Ayesha King, Royston Lester, and Mc Ale McRae. At right is Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education Alfred King

–at JOF Haynes inter-secondary debating competition

MACKENZIE High took the coveted title this year at the annual JOF Haynes Memorial Inter-Secondary Debating Competition, hosted countrywide every year by the Ministry of Education.

The event, which was held at the Theatre Guild, saw Mackenzie High of Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice), going up against Anna Regina Secondary of Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), both of which successfully won their regional debates and secured their place in the finals.

Locked in discussion on the merits and demerits of reducing CO2 emissions are, from left, Emilia Martinborough, Duvina Seurattan, and Swasti Saytoo of Anna Regina Secondary; and Angelique DeJonge, Ayesha King, and Royston Lester of Mackenzie High

The competition is usually done in several stages, with the first seeing students from each school debating among themselves internally, with one team emerging victorious to represent their school.
In Phase Two, the schools battle other schools in their respective districts to find the group to represent their region. In the final phase, the regional representatives go head-to-head for the title.

This year, the finalists had the task of debating the topic, “Is reducing emission from deforestation and degradation important to the development of Guyana’s Economy”, and saw Anna Regina proposing the moot, and Mackenzie High opposing it.
Both teams presented their points in a strong and robust way, convincing both audience and judges that their view was the one they should believe, giving their opponents a real battle to rebut their points.

The debaters in this year’s final leg of the competition were Swasti Saytoo, Duvina Seurattan, and Emilia Martinborough, with Shane Samaroo on standby, all of Anna Regina Secondary; and Royston Lester, Ayesha King, and Angelique DeJonge, with McAle McRae on standby from Mackenzie High.

During the final leg of the JOF Haynes 2019 Inter-Secondary Debating Competition (Photos by Delano Williams)

The title of Best Speaker went to Mackenzie High’s Ayesha King, who, in telling of
her experience while training for the competition said that while it was very intense she was able to grasp additional knowledge in the use of English language, and was able to build her own self confidence as it relates to public speaking.

Asked about her reaction to not only being a part of the winning team, but also being named ‘Best Speaker’, the teen said, “I’m so happy that we won the finals; it was so nerve-wracking sitting there for what seemed like years, while we awaited the judges’ deliberation. At this point, I’m just so excited. Being in this competition changed me. When I started, I was very scared to… like raise my voice and so on, but as we went, I got more and more encouraged to do it. I don’t even sing, and I stood proudly today to sing.”
King further related that she would encourage any student to take up debating, as it is a great tool to utilise for self-development.

Both schools were awarded prizes and trophies from Sol Guyana, Metro Office Supplies, and The Ministry of Education. The winning team, in addition to their trophies and prizes, were also rewarded with a cheque on behalf of Sol Guyana Inc. and a computer system, compliments of Metro Office Supplies.