Debating in English

Patricia Curd

The final of the competition "Debating in English" took place in the historic setting of the salons de la Presidence of the Conseil General du Maine-et-Loire in Angers on the evening of Thursday, 9th February 2012.

The competition is a co-operative project between the ESU Loire Valley, represented on the judging panel by John Curd, and the English Language Library in Angers, represented by John Cassini, Chairman of the Board. Other members of the judging panel were Robert Tate, Consul of the United States for Western France, Philip Breeden from the US Consulate in Rennes, Julie Walker, an English teacher, and Philip Hymas, a retired businessman.

The twelve contestants were sixteen year-old students from three schools in Angers. They drew lots to determine their positions on four teams of three, proposing or opposing the first motion, "Giving to Charity is a Good Thing". The subject itself was drawn from a short list by Mme. Drouet-d'Aubigny, representing the Conseil General du Maine-et-Loire. Each student had three minutes to deliver a convincing argument. At the end of the round, six candidates were selected to progress to the second and final round when the subject drawn was "Taking a Year off from School is a Worthwhile Experience".

The three successful contestants,Montaine Morice, Vincent Harmsen and Garance Chaslot, are flanked by Robert Tate from the US Embassy, shaking the hand of an unsuccessful contestant, and Phoebe Marshall-Raimbeau. The judges, Peter Hymas, John Curd and Mme. Drouet-d'Aubigny, are seated in the backgound.

Members of the ESU were among the large audience of supporters, mainly parents, teachers and friends of the finalists. Undaunted by their grand surroundings, the judges or their audience, students spoke confidently and clearly and the judges had a difficult task selecting three winners to represent the Loire Valley at the national finals. Congratulations to Garance, Montaine and Vincent, and good luck in Bordeaux!