City kids to fly to London to contest in British school debate serieshttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/city-kids-to-fly-to-london-to-contest-in-british-school-debate-series/

City kids to fly to London to contest in British school debate series

“Just three weeks before the competition they will reveal to us the topic on which we should prepare for the finals in London,said Mrinalini Shinde...

After three gruelling rounds,a team of four from SM Choksy High School will represent the country at the finals of Debating Matters

“Just three weeks before the competition they will reveal to us the topic on which we should prepare for the finals in London,said Mrinalini Shinde,one of the four team members,who achieved the feat of defeating five schools from different zones in the country,to be short listed after clearing the grilling question-answer session to enter the preliminary rounds of the competition. Unlike the national level competition,where they were given two months time to prepare on various topics,the final competition to be held in London in July gets tougher with just three weeks time in hand for the standard XI students.

Gliding their way to winning the round,the students from S M Choksy High School,who pitched for the topic ‘India’s future lies more with Asia than the United States’ credit their win to their individual touch and witty satire.

Debating Matters,that has involved over 160 schools and played host to some 100 debating events in UK,launched its first indigenous edition in India when they registered over 250 schools from all over the country. After short listing six schools from different regions the three-day preliminary round that opened on January 15 was held in Delhi.

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The quartet — two boys and two girls — of the science stream is ecstatic about representing the country. “For us,representing the country is what matters more and we can deal with any pressure for that,” said Vignesh Gundesha whose impromptu answer to why India’s future lies with USA even though USA hasn’t signed the Kyoto Protocol impressed the judges.

“When we almost drew a blank,Vignesh suddenly came up with the magical answer — the fact that 220 countries cannot do much about USA not signing the protocol itself explains why India’s future lies with USA,” said A.Shivanand,one of the teammates.

The contest that allowed only two speakers at a time gave time to the quartet to prepare for both the stands. “We also used to prepare for the stand we did not take. This gave us an edge over others,” says Gundesha who along with A. Shivanand beat Don Bosco School from Liluah in West Bengal to clinch the Indian finals.

“Amongst the 250 schools that had applied from all over India for the elimination rounds 48 schools were short-listed and eight reached the semi-finals. The school is proud of the students. They have worked a lot to achieve this. During Diwali vacation,they came to the school to prepare for the contest,” said Neeta Lodi,principal.

However,Lodi regrets that unlike other schools that contested,Choksy could not sponsor the trip of its students. “It all happened in such a haste that we could not discuss it with the school committee. But we are getting the trip fare reimbursed for the students,” said Lodi.

The parents,however,are content with the supporting role that the school has played in allowing the students prepare and appear for various rounds. “If the school would not have allowed them to appear for the regional and preliminary rounds during the unit tests,this success surely would not have been there,” said Dr Surekha Shinde,Mrinalini Shinde’s mother.