Debate team off to Croatia and Czech Republic

  • The Dynamic Debaters team, front row, Zina Thompson (chaperon), Halle Teart (17, Bermuda Institute), Robert Thomas (16, Berkeley), Tierrai Tull (17, Berkeley), Glenn Simmons (23, coach), Sierra Brangman (17, Berkeley); and back row, Gladstone Thompson (team manager), Tyrese Coakley (18, Berkeley), Asha Symons (17, Warwick Academy), Kim Jackson (coach), Christopher Jackson (15, Berkeley) (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

A seven-strong group of Bermudian debaters have jetted to Europe to compete in two prestige international competitions.

The Dynamic Debaters will show off their skills in the Czech Republic at the Heart of Europe Debating Tournament in Olomouc and at the World Schools Debate Championship in the Croatian capital Zagreb this month. Team member Sierra Brangman, 17, a pupil at The Berkeley Institute, said the Heart of Europe competition would help the squad prepare for the world championship.

She explained: “It will let us know our strengths and weaknesses so that we can capitalise on them in Worlds”.

She added that larger countries held multiple tournaments every year to give young debaters practical experience — so Dynamic Debaters had less experience compared to other competitors.

Gladstone Thompson, the team manager, said the team had “a unique opportunity to hit both tournaments”.

Asha Symons, a 17-year-old Warwick Academy pupil, added: “The access to global issues and their contextualisation in our own community is extremely important.

“Global discussion is necessary because it can be isolating to live in such a separate community.”

Team members said that contact with international teams would help broaden their global perspective, as well as hone their public speaking skills.

Halle Teart, 17, and Robert Thomas 16, both Berkeley pupils, said they were looking forward to visiting foreign countries and making new friends from around the globe.

Glenn Simmons and Kim Jackson, coaches for Dynamic Debaters, said they had watched the young debaters develop into a “co-operative and vibrant” team.

Mr Thompson added “they are winners already, regardless of a win, loss, or draw” and that “Bermuda should be very proud”.

Topics in the tournaments range from the impact of advances in cryptocurrencies, remote-controlled weaponry and the separation of business operations and editorial content in journalism.

The young public speakers are trained to work on their own and as part of a team to research and prepare speeches for the competitions.

Mr Thompson said the skills used would help form future industry leaders.

He added debating was “highly fast paced and cognitively challenging” and was good preparation for “the movers and shakers of future industries”.

The Heart of Europe Debating Tournament will be held from July 11 to 16 and the World Schools Debate Championship will run from July 17 to 27.