Grand Gedeh Wins Nat’l Debate Championship
Monrovia – The boys from the interior were the proud winners of US$2000 as they defeated their counterparts from Monrovia in the National Debate Championship, which was organized and hosted by the Youth for Change.
Report by Mae Azango, [email protected]
The Executive Pavilion, which hosted the grand finale, was a place to be, over the weekend when these youth, students and others gathered to witness the debate.
The debate, which brought students from the 15 counties of Liberia, also attracted parents of the students and other eminent citizens.
They were there to witness the brilliance of their students/children and to also see which one of the two contesting schools from Montserrado and Grand Gedeh Counties would have walked away with the US$2,000 grand prize.
Grand Gedeh-based Bishop Juwle Catholic High School was team one. It argued that Liberia should change its form of government from democracy. According to them, it is very expensive for Liberia to keep spending “unnecessary money” on by-elections, when its citizens live in abject poverty. The students from the Southeastern part of Liberia suggested that their nation should change their form of government to Communism in order for it to redirect those “unnecessary money” to improving the livelihood of its citizens.
Team two — Paynesville Seventh-Day Adventist (SDA) High School in Monrovia — argued otherwise.
For them, they defended the present form of government that Liberia has; justifying: “because it is what Liberia has been practicing since its establishment.”
According to them, in a democracy such as Liberia, people continually work to improve the systems; so it should not be changed to another form of government.
The debate, which was very interactive, had the audience on their feet cheering their team, which they thought was forceful and provided logic in their arguments.
In the end, the judges declared Bishop Juwle Catholic High School in Grand Gedeh County, the winner of the competition.
Paynesville SDA School walked away with the second prize of US$1,000.
Orange GSM, which sponsored the debate, provided the prizes and others for the debate organizers.
Madam Sarah Buchanan, head of Orange Liberia CSR Department, also promised both schools some electronics.
“Since Orange Liberia is about innovation, we are going to sponsor modern digital rooms within your schools, including giving 50 IPAD tablets for each school, a projector, solar power and servers. Just so you know, this was never part of the sponsorship deal signed with Orange Liberia,” she said.
Ms. Buchanan expressed Orange’s joy that the debate organizers had reached the 15 counties.
Madam Laymah Gbowee of the Gbowee Peace Foundation told the young people not to give up but should plan their lives and work towards their success.
Sharing her life’s experience, she told her audience that at some point in her life, her family could not afford to pay hospital bill in 1996 when she gave birth to her son. The Nobel Peace Prize Winner told the students and young people that she didn’t give up but rose to establish a charity organization that today caters for to less fortunate children and young people.
She promised the organization a two-year financial support in the amount of US$5,000.
On behalf of the government, Deputy Education Minister for Administration, Latim Da-thong said Youth for Change will be included in the national budget because the organization is helping to transform the minds of the future generation.
Also at the program, Student Williette Mars of the Paynesville SDA, won the most eloquent speaker prize; while Student Miama Brooks of the O.S. Collins Baptist School, won the most valuable player of the debate.
According to Youth for Change head, Mr. Alex Devine, as the result of their small created platform – the Liberia National Debate Championship, has impacted two schools within two counties. He said Montserrado and Grand Gedeh counties are respectively benefiting from a project they never dreamt of and that the project is worth approximately US$10,000 – US$15,000 each.
“Education is not about talking; it’s practical!! Let’s get our educational system working. As always, Youth for Change Inc remains committed in leading the evidential change.”
Devine boasted that his organization’s evidential change is visible all across the 15 counties of Liberia.