SPH Kemang Village Student Joins the National Debate Team in World Schools Debate Competition

One of the Grade 11 SPH Kemang Village students, Cassia Tandiono, alongside with four other Indonesian students from other schools, joined the World Schools Debate Competition in Zagreb, Croatia, started from July 17-27, 2018. The World Schools Debate Championship (WSDC) is a global competition for national high school debate teams with 68 different countries regularly participating in the tournament. Teams from all over the world gathered to discuss and debate on 13 different topics set by an international panel of debate experts. The following is Cassia Tandiono’s testimony about her experience joining this competition:

Becoming a member of this year’s national debate team has been such a rewarding experience for me. Being able to see countries around the world gather together to challenge different issues and ideas, joining World Schools Debate Competition has been both an intense and eye-opening journey. This year’s competition was held in Zagreb, Croatia, with 68 different countries participating in this global event. The topics that were debated included issues in education, welfare, sports, technology, and politics. I found the motion on China’s Belt and Road Initiative particularly interesting, because when I researched more into it, I found the controversy and analysis very in depth and entertaining. Overall, this memory is one that I really treasure; I’m happy to be able to share my story here.

Debate wasn’t an activity that existed in the Kemang branch of SPH. Knowing that, a group of my friends and I started the KV debate program, stemming from our interest in global issues and current world events. So from there it started. Sparring with different schools in Jakarta, entering local competitions, and training our minds to think critically at a fast pace, are just some of the intellectual points we accumulated through debate. We spent close to 10 hours a week on this activity! But I realized that wasn’t enough. When I heard stories about this year’s winner (China) and the vast amount of competitions they joined prior to World’s, I could barely believe it. That is when I realized that to really acquire all the full advantages to debate, one must be committed and enjoy the activity. A parent’s push might work for starters, but it really is up to the individual to take an interest in that sport and continue from there.

For the students who take up debate in SPH, they will find that the community we build here is very encouraging and healthy. It builds teamwork, cooperation skills, as well as learning to understand people’s opinions regardless of whether or not we agree with them. Furthermore, debate really boosts your confidence, public speaking skills, and intellect in general. These are just some skills that debate offers and that will hopefully encourage more students to join. It is a blessing that SPH Kemang is able to facilitate this activity in their schools, and it’s amazing to see the widespread interest in debate growing from the student body in each SPH campus.

For those interested in the outcome of this year’s competition at the World Schools Debate Competition (WSDC) in Croatia, sadly, Indonesia did not win. First place was rightly won by China, the first non-English speaking country to win this tournament, and the runner up was India. Indonesia won four points, and received 4th place among the EFL countries (English as a Foreign Language). I really do hope Indonesia will at least proceed to elimination rounds in next year’s WSDC tournament, which will be held in Colombo, Sri Lanka. God bless!

~ Cassia Tandiono, Grade 11, SPH Kemang Village

Cassia Tandiono with other contestants, both from Indonesia and other countries.