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Linguistic skills impress as Tonbridge hosts National Spanish Debating Competition

Tonbridge hosts National Spanish Debating Competition

Tonbridge welcomed students from a dozen schools on Tuesday 5 March as it hosted the National Spanish Debating Competition.

The School earned the right to host the contest following last year’s win at North London Collegiate School. María Antonia García Rolland, Education and MFL adviser from the Spanish Embassy Education Office, was the main adjudicator. 

This year Tonbridge was represented by four Sixth Form students: Johnnie Averdieck (WW5), Virgile Patricot (WW5), Ciaran Tansley (CH5) and Max Teh (HS4). The boys had worked together to prepare materials ahead of the debate, but delivered their arguments as two teams.

The first round of debates covered a variety of topics, including “Spanish should be globally standardised”, “The poverty of emerging countries is the responsibility of developed countries” and “Works of art should be valued without considering the life of the author”. 

In the semi-finals, the motion “We are taking feminism too far” provoked an interesting debate, where boys fervently defended feminism, while ultimate winners Eton defeated Hampton School in the final, discussing “Abolishing exams does more harm than good”. 

Mar PonceGalan, Head of Spanish, said: “While not making the latter stages this time, our boys had prepared well and their linguistic and argumentative skills were extraordinary.

“The event was a great success and the feedback teachers and students from participating schools gave about Tonbridge, our facilities and the Spanish Department was very pleasing. We’ll be hoping to put in another good challenge and win our title back at Eton next year.”

Judges also praised the sophisticated language, well-evidenced arguments and excellent teamwork of those taking part.

To complement the Spanish theme, the Debating Competition included a meal of paella and churros for all contestants, served in the School’s Orchard Centre. 

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