24 Jun 2022

Debate & Public Speaking Club, 2021-22 Year In Review

2021-22 has been an unprecedented year for Island School’s Debate and Public Speaking society. With the amalgamation of the two fields, students have had increased opportunities to explore their interests and showcase their talents through a wide range of competitions and activities. This update also includes information regarding the future of the activity!

What is the club about?

Led by Mr Darryl Hood, Sam Hui (12W) and Charlie Lam (12E), Debate & Public Speaking Club strives to amplify student agency through fostering their talent in communication and public speaking techniques. Students have also considered the importance of respecting and embracing diverse opinions and what it means to be critical and creative thinkers. They attended workshops to further their understanding of what it means to be a confident speaker.

Highlights: Competitions

On 4 October 2021, Seung June Yoon (7F) and Bobby Li (7E) achieved an excellent 2nd and 9th place overall in the Inter-ESF Junior Debate Competition. Despite this being the junior students’ first-ever debate experience with just over a month of training, the teams did well, achieving 5th and 6th place overall. Congratulations to the other team members, Kailey Chan (7N), Nicholas Chan (7R), Vijay Narayanan (9F), Alicia Liu (9N), Cassy Wu (7F), Abhinay Sarma (7W), and Jason Ying (7D) for giving a very strong performance!

Charlie Lam (12E), Head of the Debate & Public Speaking Club said, “We are so happy with the performance of every single member. Huge thank you to Mr. Hood for organising, preparing and inspiring the Island School team!”

On 16 October 2021, Isabelle Woo (10W) gave a phenomenal performance at the virtual Hong Kong Senior Schools Debating Championship (Senior SDC), gaining a ‘Top 10 Speakers Award’ out of over 100 participants.

On 6 November 2021, Charlie Lam (12E) and Sam Hui (12W) achieved fantastic speaker results of 3rd and 5th place overall out of all the participants in the Inter-ESF Senior Debate Competition. Isabelle Woo (10W), Hannah Wu (11D) and Alexandra Lai (10W) also demonstrated excellent debating skills!

On 19 November 2021 in the ESF Persuade-athon Competition, Bobby Li (7E), Seung June Yoon (7F), Kailey Chan (7N), Nicholas Tsai (8W), Alicia Jade Liu (9N), Vijay Narayanan (9F), Hannah Wu (11D), and Madeleine Tsai (10N) all achieved Top 5 in their respective categories, with many others proudly representing the school.

On 13 January 2022, Charlie Lam (12E) came 4th overall in the Hong Kong Trials for the World Individual Debating and Public Speaking Championship, coming 1st in parliamentary debate and 1st in impromptu speaking. Isabelle Woo (10W) and Hannah Wu (11D) also spoke confidently at the event.

On 19 March 2022, Island School representatives demonstrated a superb performance in the Junior SDC competition, with Team 2, consisting of Katrina Hon (10R), Cyrus Ng (10F), Nicholas Tsang (9E), Abhinay Sarma (7W), Minjoon Kim (7E), achieving Top 10 in the entire event. Alexandra Lai (10W), Kailey Chan (7N), Seung June Yoon (7F), and Vijay Narayanan (9F) also demonstrated skilled argumentation.

On 23 April 2022, Varun Suresh (11F), Peter Yoon (10D) and Luciano Suen (10D) achieved fantastic results in the inaugural ISSIA British Parliamentary Debate Tournament, achieving 4th, 6th, and 8th overall respectively out of over 50 participants. Roel Leung (8D), Nicholas Chan (7R), Nicholas Tsang (9E), Vincy Lung (7W), Seung June Yoon (7F), and Bobby Li (7E) also spoke at the competition with flair, nuance and confidence! This event was also organized by Island School students, with Clement Kwan (11R) and Alexander Bray (12W) spearheading the organisation of this competition.

Sam Hui (12W), Head of Debate & Public Speaking Club, commented, “This year’s achievements have been spectacular – congratulations to all! Well done to everyone who has confidently put themselves forward to participate in the competitions on offer, as these really are a fabulous opportunity for passionate students to further develop their interests in speaking.”

Highlights: Events & Partnerships

On 6 December 2021, students researched, developed, and presented a speech on the topic of their choice in the inaugural Island School Public Speaking Skills Showcase. From the impacts of world hunger and the future rise of the metaverse, students spoke eloquently about their issues and received feedback from the activity leaders.

From 7 March to 24 March 2022, a combined Middle/Senior phase Inter-House Debate Tournament was run, with teams made up of Year 9-12 students. All six houses participated in 30 heated debates on topics ranging from esports to population control to future technology in Island School’s Inter-House Debate Tournament. Congratulations to Fleming House for winning the Grand Finals against Wilberforce House! Mr Darryl Hood, Head of Debate & Public Speaking Club, and Inter-House Debate Competition organiser, said, “It’s been a great competition this year. The final standings were very close, and both teams [Fleming and Wilberforce] were excellent throughout and provided a great spectacle for the rest of the school on Zoom. It takes a huge amount of courage to speak in front of a large audience and engage in a complex discussion, particularly considering they had only received the motion and their stance just a day beforehand. Their maturity, insight and passion shine through the whole competition.”

On 14 March and 21 March 2022, a series of debates were held as part of Social Action Women’s Week and Diversity Week. Teaming up with Island School’s Social Action Group, the club celebrated diversity, equality and inclusion through these activities. Ms Maryanne McPhee, Head of Individuals & Societies and Social Action Committee also commented: “Dialogue and debate is key to addressing issues of inequality and it is great to see Debate & Public Speaking Club engaging in this issue of gender equality in the workplace. Thanks to the leaders of this club for continuing to raise issues of inequality as part of your focus.”

On 17 March 2022, students from Island School and Diocesan Boys’ School came together in a collaborative SPAR-friendly debate session where students demonstrated their public speaking skills and shared insight on a variety of topics. Co-hosted by the Debate leaders of both schools, the session encouraged students to develop their debate skills and foster critical thinking. Vice-Captain of the Diocesan Boys’ School English Debating Team, Justin Cheng, explained, “It was a delight seeing aspiring debaters from both schools spar against each other, and seeing friendships and bonds blossom.”

2022/23 Activity Leaders Announcement

Every year, the selection of upcoming Debate Club and Public Speaking Club leaders have engendered great attention from the community. The leaders congratulate everyone who has put themselves forward for the position. The leaders are then selected through a rigorous and extensive review process. As Island School returns to Borrett Road, more activities will be prolific and these leaders will help ensure that debate and public speaking are to their highest standards. After careful deliberation by the activity leaders and a community consultation process, the activity is delighted to announce the following students will step up to a leadership position next year:

  • Debate Club: Clement Kwan (11R) and Isabelle Woo (10W)
  • Public Speaking Club: Hannah Wu (11D) and Alexandra Lai (10W)

All leaders are incredibly experienced in the field and have actively immersed themselves in the activity over the past years. Congratulations to the leaders for being appointed for the position.

More information regarding signing up for this activity can be found on the activities system next term.

Report written by the Debate & Public Speaking Club