Kakata, Margibi County – The 2018 National High School Debate Competition has officially been launched in Liberia.
The This Competition has been organized and implemented in Liberia over the course of the last three years by a local organization called Youth For Change, Inc.
For the first time in its 3 year history, the National High School debate is graduating from a Montserrado centered event to being an actual national event thanks to the sponsorship from Liberia’s premier GSM Company – Orange Liberia.
At the official launching last Friday the 2nd of March held at the Kakata City Hall in Kakata City, Margibi County, the Executive Director of Youth For Change Inc., Mr. Alex F. Devine Jr. said that the event this year was the largest in the history of the debate competition and was bringing together sixty four schools from seven counties for an exciting 12 weeks competition.
Mr. Devine noted that the debate was an extraordinary opportunity for students to engage with each other via an academic platform that allowed them to horn their research, analytical and speaking skills.
“There was a point when the only thing high school students in Monrovia were interested in and excited about was Super Friday,” said Mr. Devine, “the idea of the National High School Debate Competition was to give student a viable alternative that would actually have a positive impact on their futures.”
The official launching was attended by representatives of several schools including J.J. Roberts United Methodist School, Lico Lippi School - Margibi County, St. Mary Catholic High School -Nimba county, Robert Sport Central High school - Cape Mount County, St. Dominic High School - Bomi County, Bassa High School -Grand Bassa County, and the William V.S. Tubman T-Gray High School - Bong county.
Also represented at the event was the 2017 Defending champion: Bethesda Christian High School.
Serving as Chief Launcher of the event, the Corporate Communications Strategist for Orange Liberia Dr. Kimmie Weeks, told the audience that Orange was proud to be the prime sponsor of an event that would have a significant impact on the lives of hundreds of Liberian students.
He explained to the students that participation in the debates could be an important springboard in their lives.
Said Weeks: “Wwhen I was your age, I started to participate in debates and academic competitions.”
“Those experiences have played a key role in making me the successful person I am today, so I encourage you to look at the National High School Debate as an opportunity to prepare the future that lies ahead of you.”
Dr. Weeks outlined that in addition to providing certain logistical, technical and media support, Orange Liberia was also providing the first, second and third place cash prizes to the winning schools for $4,000, which will be paid via Orange Money.
He noted that Orange was also providing a special popular SMS vote prize to the school that had the highest number of popular votes, even if they did not end up being one of the top three performers at the debates.
Students can text a specific number for their school to 6544, the school getting the highest number of votes getting $1,000 of cash prize paid via Orange Money.
He encouraged other companies and organizations to join Orange in supporting the National Debate Competition.
“While we are providing a significant amount of support to this incredible event, we certainly encourage other companies and organizations to come forward and support their endeavor because this is a transformational event that we must all put our support around if we want to see the improvement and development of Liberia,” said Dr. Weeks.
The launching program was attended by several high profile officials including Minister Felicia Doe-Sumah, Deputy Minister for Basic and Secondary Education at the Ministry of Education, Mr. Sam Hare, National Secretary at UNESCO, and the Margibi City Mayor.
Also in attendance were Atty. Massa Jallabah, Legal counsel for the Ministry of Lands Mines and Energy, as well as Atty. Meo D. Bayen, Lecturer at the Louise Arthur Grim School of Law.
The first debate challenge is expected to take place on March 8, 2018 across the seven (7) counties all at once.