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Debating is like a box of chocolates

This week’s guest blogger is Gavin, a member of the debates team from Coláiste Bríde in Carnew, County Wicklow.

Gavin is now a seasoned debater; his team have managed to make their way to Round Six and are still going strong. Here’s what he has to say:

Hi there! I’m on my work experience this week in Concern; it’s great to be on the inside of where the planning of aid, fundraising and of course debates is – a real eye opening experience. I would definitely consider a career in this field of work and recommend this placement to anyone.

Being in the Concern office doesn’t mean I’ve been gathering dangerous resources and sending them back to my team! The big scary board with the remaining teams matched up is right beside me, and I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate and thank everyone who took part in this debating competition, particularly those who are left. I had debated in one competition before, but even with that experience I get that butterflies-in-the-stomach feeling every time we attend – particularly at rebuttal time. Most people I have talked to have said it’s the pure exhilaration, adrenaline and learning experience that they do it for. 

The last debate motion was “The western media is superficial in its portrayal of the developing world”. My team and I were opposing this motion, but it would be as much of a challenge proposing it. Such a tight debate, so easy to be sidetracked. Everyone has personal feelings on the matter that were hard to mask; for example: who cares where Posh and Becks went on holiday?! But that’s debating; I suppose it’s like a box of chocolates – you never know what side you’re going to get. 

Particularly in this last debate, I learned the true value of teamwork. I didn’t speak so well; stumbled more than usual, couldn’t read some rebuttal, forgot the toning of phrases and all the other speech-related necessities. But I noticed something else: I couldn’t stop writing for the whole debate. I was the last speaker. I was able to pass the information to my team mates who were all in their Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton states-of-mind! I remembered that in another debate, I couldn’t write any rebuttal but I delivered the rest of my team mates’. Really what I’m trying to say is that if you’re not up to scratch on the night, keep fighting. You can help in other ways.

I’d like to give my thanks to everyone at the Concern debates for giving myself, my team and all the other schools such great experiences and skills.

Hope to meet everyone at the final, whether debating or in the audience!