French Provincial Debate
Lots of things zigged rather than the preferred zagging during Brentwood’s Covidated 2020 third term. For nearly three rather long-seeming months, students have had their fitness go down, rather than the usual up, (inversely proportional to the body mass of many of their teachers), their AP exams go from a three hour leisure cruise of entire subjects to a 45 minute nickel tour of some units, and graduates of this year have seen their graduating rite of passage quaran-corralled into an online experience.
Debate fine art has been no different. Our “zigging” has seen the loss of many competitive opportunities, even as wide scale online training continued on a volunteer basis. Happily, some events that traditionally did not fit the usual Brentwood calendar in its furious spring term went online, and so became accessible to our students. French Language Debate Provincials was one such event on the 22nd of May.
Gemma S ’21 and Lucinda G ’22 dove in and prepared online, physically distanced, for a very demanding joint delivery and POI (rather like a cross-examination) grilling en francais on a topic they had nary a week to prepare for. Thanks to the laudable assistance of Ms Legassicke, our fluidly bilingual debate RFA as well as several other faculty contributors, such as Mr Hernandez, the girls were able to loft a (virtual but very tangible) fourth place win and, in another Brentwood debate first, a berth to French Debate Nationals.
As the girls peer back onto their screens at one another, using Zoomified laptops like the palantiri used to summon other Dunedain in distant parts of Middle Earth, to jointly research the possibilities of a nationwide basic income, we hope they will see this huge achievement, perhaps, as a golden lining to what has been a cloud of uncertainty.
Bonne chance, Girls!
Mr Neil Bryant, Debate Coach