Tamica Telphia and Christopher Brown
The Debating Society is a small group of students who have aspirations to improve their public speaking and writing skills. Though they may not be considered the best speakers Kingston College possesses, the team which comprises coach, Tamica Telphia and speakers: Javair Thomas, Kevonne Martin and Chevaughn Channer was determined to go against the odds.
This is a group of tenacious, industrious and co-operative young men who were willing to push themselves despite their shortcomings. The team was driven by the maxim from Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Our goal as we started the competition was to advance to the television round which only materialized at the semi-final match. Having reached the semi-finals we dared to aspire for the championship. The grueling Debating season seemed to last an eternity; from January to April, where we confronted formidable opponents.
The road to success was by no means without its obstacles. We had to first overcome the hurdle of challenging Ardenne High School proposing the motion, “Parents should be allowed to choose the sex of their child.” The St. Andrew High School for Girls was our second challenger where we opposed the motion that voting should be mandatory. We then played the Mannings High School where we supported “The implementation of a one child policy.” After defeating Mannings we were declared zone finalist. Then we faced our nemesis Calabar opposing the motion “Government should be the only source of funding for political parties.” This match was held on the Tuesday following The Boys and Girls Athletics Championship, the same day we won the Schools’ Challenge Quiz Trophy for the 11th time. We were extremely motivated and thankfully, once again, we were victorious.
We advanced to play McGrath High School in the semi-final round, proposing the motion “This house prefers investments to environmental protection”. This match was nail biting and we think that to date it was our most challenging. The match against Munro College for the championship title was just a match away. The moot we were presented with was “Hate Speech is Free Speech” and we were asked to support this moot. We were excited and nervous at the same time.
We fought gallantly and our journey ended with Kingston College being crowned as The Burger King National Schools’ Debating Champion for 2014. The team walked away with a cash prize of Three Hundred Thousand ($300,000) Jamaican Dollars and the coveted Championship Trophy. Most importantly the title has garnered new respect for the Debating Society and the art of public speaking. Chevaughn Channer was named Best Speaker for all of the matches except the semi-final and was also named Best Debater of the competition.
Tamica Telphia and Christopher Brown are members of the English Department; Tamica is the debate coach.