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“You don’t win a debate by suppressing discussion; you win it with a better argument.” - Frank Sonnenberg
Over the many years of its stentorian existence, The English Debating Society of Delhi Public School, Mathura Road, has witnessed the opinions and arguments of young minds, who stepped forth and elucidated their standpoint through utilising rhetorical eloquence. It has helped the debaters to see the power of deploying formidable, rational and reasoned arguments, and instilled in them a great sense of poise and confidence.
Each year the club holds a plethora of debates and kindles the spirit of debating in students through competitive ventures like the Amla Chatterjee Inter-School Debate Competition for class VIII, Opinions Matter- The Annual Inter-School English Debate Competition and The Susan Margaret Joseph Memorial Inter-School Seniors English Debate for class XI and XII. An array of intersection debates organised for classes VI to VIII keeps the wheel of oration moving, year after year, wherein students deliver well-articulated debates on various topics and present information in a compelling manner.
Keeping up with the tradition and practice, The English Debating Society organised Susan Margaret Joseph Memorial Inter-School Seniors English Debate for the students of class XI and XII on 16 November 2022. The motion before the house was, ‘Protests and Dissent are Necessary in a Democracy’ and debaters from 14 distinguished schools in and around Delhi came out with their stimulating and thought-provoking opinions.
The Guest of Honour, Professor Sydney Rebeiro graced the occasion with his august presence. The event saw a congregation of eminent judges such as Dr. Rakhshanda Jalil, an illustrious writer, critic and literary historian; Ms Kalyanee Rajan, Assistant Professor of English, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Evening College, University of Delhi and Ms Sonali Dawar, an English Language Coach and Life Skills Mentor.
The event commenced with the lighting of the ceremonial lamp followed by a tribute to Late Susan Margaret Joseph. The presentation on Democracy/DeMOCKcrazy which highlighted that deliberation and debate are the pillars of any democracy, enthralled the audience.
The school Principal, Ms Reema Sharma; Vice Principal (Administration), Mr Naveen Kumar and Vice Principal (Academics), Ms Inderjeet Kaur felicitated the dignitaries.
Following this, the Principal addressed the gathering. In her speech, she highlighted that debates provide experiences that are conducive to cognitive and presentation skills. She added that through debate debaters acquire educational benefits as they learn and polish skills far beyond what can be learnt in any other setting. She also mentioned the benefits of debate, which include gaining broad, multi-faceted knowledge cutting across several disciplines outside the learner’s normal academic subjects. She then declared the debate open.
To begin with, the participants spoke their mind on the rationale for, ‘Protests and Dissent are Necessary in a Democracy’. They described protests as a catalyst for social change. Unsurprisingly, this led to a wide spectrum of contrasting views – from being heralded as an inconvenience, a perturbation to be controlled, or a threat to be doused.
The Guest of Honour, Professor Sydney Rebeiro considered it to be a delight to attend this prestigious event. He pointed up the importance of extracurricular activities, which provide a myriad of opportunities for students; a platform for them to demonstrate their talent, a stepping-stone to achieving greater things in life.
The judge for the event, Dr. Rakhshanda Jalil called everyone's attention to the fact that debates are the very foundation of the society we live in today and debating is an indispensable character of a person. She emphasised the significance of intonation and pronunciation in a debate. She added that intonation provides rhythm to the speech and good pronunciation contributes to lucidity and comprehension.
Following this was the Prize Distribution Ceremony. The award for the best speaker was shared by Alia Iqbal of DPS Mathura Road and Yuvika Aggarwal of DPS Sushant Lok, Gurugram. The second position was again a tie between Amira Bhutani of DPS, International, Saket and Meher Singh of DPS Sushant Lok, Gurugram. The third position was secured by Sia Bhat of DPS Dwarka. Ruhani Bakhru of DPS Dwarka was declared the best interjector. The rolling trophy was awarded to the team of DPS, Sushant Lok, Gurugram.
The Head of the Department of English of DPS Mathura Road, Ms Manisha Varma proposed the vote of thanks. She applauded the research done by all the speakers and congratulated the winners. She thanked the judges for sparing their valuable time. She commended all the students of The English Debating Society and teachers for their efforts and endeavours to make the event a great success. The National Anthem brought a closure to the incredible event.