On Friday, the Senior Debating Society enjoyed their now traditional end of year celebration at a black tie dinner in Main Hall.
The students looked magnificent, the boys resplendent in suits or black tie and the girls elegant in their evening dresses.
The meal, organised by Chartwells, was delicious – butternut squash soup, chicken or risotto, ending with the very on-trend vanilla parfait with banana jam and salted caramel sauce.
After a welcome from the Headmaster, Nick Humphries, the outgoing Society President, led the speeches, reviewing the Society’s successes over the year. These included Katy Fellows and Scott Whitefoot reaching the English Speaking Union Regional Final, Sam Wilson and Lucy Hope making it to the Oxford Finals, the retention of the Turner Cup and Nadiath Choudhury and Jane Thurgood winning the regional Taylor Trophy for the first time for RGS.
Our debaters came sixth at Birmingham and seventh out of 76 teams at Warwick, each time missing the final by a point.
Nick and his debating partner, Toby Messervy-Whiting, had also been in action at the Durham University schools competition over Easter. Five debates took place across two days. After a slow start and a difficult judging decision in the second debate, Nick and Toby finished strongly, taking two firsts and a second in the final three debates. Motions were eclectic, including ‘This house would make Holocaust denial a crime’ and ‘This house would programme self-driving cars to sacrifice their passengers when faced with unavoidable collisions with more people than within the car’.
As ever, we are indebted to the help and support from our sponsors at Thursfields Solicitors for making this trip possible.
At Durham, we made contact again with Craig McDonald, an excellent university debater and experienced debating coach and judge. He agreed to come over from Cardiff University, before heading to Aberystwyth for the Debating Open. He had also just returned from the Estonian Open in Tallinn where he was second best speaker.
At the dinner, Craig made an enjoyable and informative speech, looking at why debating is such an amazing and fun skill to learn, as well as giving us some hints and tips on how to improve our debating. We are hoping to work more with Craig next year.
The formal proceedings of the evening ended with toasts from the Committee, and students stayed on to chat, sign menus as memories and to enjoy the atmosphere – it was a truly lovely occasion and a fitting end for the Seniors to another fantastic year.
Miss Jane Waller – Head of Debating