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Youth Speaks Debate - The Opposer

Why I loved the experience!

On the 31st of January, Crofton School participated in the ‘Youth speaks’ debate competition which was held at Fareham Civic offices – our first competitive event for our two teams. I’ll be telling you first hand exactly how it made us feel and why I believe this was a brilliant example of how Crofton encourages these opportunities for us.

Though many would view this as a daunting formal event (which in truth it was), I personally really enjoyed it. It wasn’t easy of course; we had an initial audition process for the teams, lunch time meetings for our theme, writing our actual speeches, memorising it and then, as I’m sure you’ve gathered, working on delivery. It was a long process, it took us months! But it truly was all worth it in the end.

Our English teacher, Miss Sweetland, never put pressure on us and regularly provided encouragement in the form of biscuits for all our meetings and consistently helped in every way – from helping us write our speeches, helping us perform, to even the small things like making sure we knew we had to have fun as well as try our best.

This most definitely worked, we had a run through with teachers during the Monday lunch of the day we were supposed to perform, and to be truthful, it really didn’t go as we had initially hoped. This naturally caused nerves across the board for everyone involved, including me, but also sparked determination to get it right for the night!

Upon arrival, I felt more excited than I did nervous. Perhaps it was the adrenaline or my competitive nature, but I simply couldn’t wait and was confident in our ability. After all, we’d practiced consistently day and night.

Once we were inside the offices on the eighth floor, we were greeted in an extremely friendly manner and were made to feel very welcomed, it really made the world of difference! We sat and watched all performances, some very good, others very humorous – there were none that disappointed my hopes. Of course, though some may say I’m biased, I thoroughly enjoyed watching our intermediate team who were made up of three Key Stage Three students plus one stand-in: Georgia, Joseph, Mollie, and Iris. My own teammates evidently loved it too and we were extremely proud. Our proposer, Abi Hughes, had to endure all my nervous squeezes to her arm.

Once the intermediate category was finished with, that’s when the real nerves set in. We were the last to present and I could hardly feel my legs, giving constant nervous smiles to my teachers, team, and mum in the audience – all of which supported me to no end. However, once it was my turn, muscle memory and adrenaline took over, making it enjoyable and fun to present, almost like a performance. I wasn’t perfect, it’s almost impossible to be, but we evidently did spectacularly; as the saying goes, ‘bad rehearsal, brilliant show’. Both Abi and Mollie were amazing and hardly faltered, both seeming to enjoy it just as much as I did. Abi even got asked a question on the spot from the floor and answered it flawlessly, making everyone extremely proud and confident within our performance.

To spare the details that Mollie has already accounted within her own article... We won!! We won a lovely trophy the size of our heads, amazon gift cards, and certificates of recognition. But above all, we made everyone who was there to support us proud; poor Miss Sweetland and my own mum were almost in tears.

Of course, we were devastated for our intermediate team who unfortunately didn’t qualify, but this didn’t reflect on their performance at all – they were brilliant and showed such wonderful confidence and capability, they made everyone just as proud.

We all want to thank everyone who supported us, helped us, and even made the effort to wish us good luck, it made the world of difference to each and every one of us. It personally gave me the confidence to do something I wasn’t sure I’d be able to follow through with as the date had drawn nearer. I would also like to give a massive thank you to our English teacher, Miss Sweetland, who made this all possible – she was brilliant with us the entire time. All I can say now is that I can’t wait for regionals where we’ll do this all over again but with increased competition and, as you can imagine, nerves!

If you’re interested in the layout and structure of how the event was hosted and we went about competing then please check out the article from my teammate and friend Mollie here.

Lillia D, Year 10 - The Opposer for the performance.


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