Debaters Past and Present gather for Debating Society Dinner
On Friday 27 May, nearly 60 debaters, past and present, gathered in Perrins Hall for the Debating Society Dinner.
This was a fabulous occasion, giving us the opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the Debating Society not just in the 2021-22 season but over the last nine years. Presidents and debaters from almost every generation since 2013 attended, with speeches from Mike Atkinson (President 2014-15), Nick Humphries (2015-16), Felix Haynes (2018-19) and James Preece (2021-22).
For myself, it was like watching a procession of the superb debaters with whom I have been privileged to work over the years – Oxford and Cambridge finalists, ESU champions, champions from one day competitions such as Birmingham, Bath, Nottingham and Warwick. The current Upper Sixth generation epitomise everything that is so fantastic about RGS debaters, with remarkable competition success since Year Eleven and a great sharing of skills and ideas amongst peers and in their training of younger debaters. This has been spearheaded by the outgoing President and Vice President, James Preece and Elizabeth McCabe, themselves quarter-finalists at Oxford in 2021 and key coaches for the Middle Society.
It was also a time to say goodbye to our amazing coach, Amber Warner-Warr, who has been such an integral part of our success, both through her own debating with Felix and via her phenomenal work with the last three generations of RGS debaters. Her adjudication is always insightful, incisive and constructive – much more terrifying to the students than mine! We are incredibly grateful for everything that she has done and wish her all the best as she heads down to London from Oxford University at the end of the year.
With Amber moving on, this also seems a good moment for myself to take a step back and let a new Head of Debating take the reins. I have felt immensely honoured to work with so many talented students in debating over the last few years: their intelligence, dedication and commitment have taken our school to incredible success, particularly given our relative size and resources compared to the large public schools like Westminster or Eton with whom, I feel, we have increasingly competed on more and more equal terms. Thank you!
Miss Jane Waller
Head of Debating