WESTERN BUREAU:The Mount Alvernia Preparatory School in Montego Bay recently made western Jamaica proud with its victory in the Junior Debate International Competition.
The school won three titles - parish champions for St James; zone champions, with the highest ranked average of 92 per cent; and all-island champions.
"We played a total of eight matches. We won all of our matches, starting with the zonal matches. We played George Headley Primary School in our first match, then we played Columbus Preparatory from St Ann, and then we had a walk-over against Glenmuir Preparatory," explained grade-six teacher Alex Hepburn, who was one of the team's coaches.
During the final round, which was held at the Police Officers' Club in St Andrew, Mt Alvernia Prep and Lannaman's Prep debated the moot 'Education is the Key to Success'.
For their part, the students were proud of their achievement.
"The debating competition was a very exciting one. It was kind of scary and challenging. I felt very relieved and happy that my hard work paid off in the end," said Bethany Pinnock, the team's first speaker.
"Even though Lannaman's was a very good team, we came out victorious, and I'm very happy about that. We won for western Jamaica."
Added Tiffany King, the team's second speaker: "I was so happy because we worked so hard, and it really paid off that we're the only people in the history of the school that have won the debate competition."
Hepburn added that the students' training for the competition began as early as a year ago.
"With this team, we've been working with them from grade five, showing them different clips of matches, and also preparing them in terms of having them do research and having them compete among themselves in class. We also had teachers from other schools come in and show us where we were weak," said Hepburn.
Mount Alvernia Preparatory School grade six students Meshale Sherwood (second left), Tiffany King (centre), and Bethany Pinnock (second right) display their trophies from the recently held Junior Debate International Competition. With them are coaches Alex Hepburn and Natalie Johnson. Missing from the photo is student and debate team member Krystal Louisy, who copped the Best Speaker Award four times in the competition. In addition to winning the overall competition, the Mount Alvernia Prep team was designated parish champions for St James and zone champions with the highest average of 92 per cent. - Photo by Christopher Thomas