In February, after many weeks of arguing their way through the early rounds against all of the other houses, the junior teams gathered to present their arguments for the inter-house Mather Cup final. The motion for debate was 'This House believes that universities should ban speakers with extreme views'. Mya Onyett and Polly Brown were proposing the motion for Kirkeby, whilst Anjolaoluwatikitan Solola with Mary Cummins opposed the motion for Sanderson. Both teams presented their ideas with passion, clarity and detailed consideration of this important question. However, the arguments proposed by Kirkeby were stronger, with a clear and nuanced definition of the motion allowing them to avoid accusations of censorship. Kirkbey was judged the winner and Sanderson achieved an extremely well-fought second place.
Senior Debaters were equally busy. In the latter part of the Easter Term, Raj Sira (L) and Ali Bourne (L) enjoyed taking part in Oxford Schools Final day. In addition, the ESU Mace team of Lucy Stock (N) and Rose Asquith (Sn) debated their way into the Regional Finals of the ESU Mace held at Bedford School.
They were also honoured, along with George Brettle (B), to take part in the Grocer’s Company Greatest Grocer balloon-style debate held in the impressive surrounds of Grocer’s Hall and compered by the historian Lucy Worsley. Lucy, Rose and George presented a persuasive pitch for Sir William Laxton as a philanthropic and visionary educationalist, but were elbowed out by the rival claims of Houlbon for the first Governor of the Bank of England.
The Senior Debating Humphreys Gavel competition came to a close in the Summer Term. A vigorous semi final on the themes of privacy laws and trade tariffs was succeeded by an equally hotly contested final with the motion “This House would move to Mars”. The Crosby team of Dan Mikhaylov and Pelham Cox ultimately snatched victory from School House’s Ed Hodgson and Henry Stringer.
The Senior Debating Dinner, which concluded the formal calendar, was addressed by Mr Adam Begley, author and biographer. A warmly witty foray into the perils of the trans-Atlantic language divide contained also a serious exhortation to cherish and hone the skills of rich and persuasive speech.