World Junior Schools Debating Championships 2021
Hats off to Nadia Nasir and Anggun Soracca Jaya from Sri KDU Secondary School for beating the finalists at the World Junior Schools Debating Championship 2021 and emerging as the world champions! The championship is the world’s largest debating championship for young speakers aged 14 and under.
Our students debated against the finalists from the United Arab Emirates on the motion “This House Believes that the Internet is Making Us Less Capable”. We had an interview with the champions on their thoughts and experience on this event. Check out the full interview here:
How long did you prepare for it? What was the most challenging aspect of the preparation?
Nadia: I’d say around late January to early February. We started much earlier than we usually would, considering that this was a pretty major tournament. I think the most challenging part was definitely getting used to the adapted World Schools debating format. The version used throughout this tournament was vastly different from the original World Schools debating format that we were used to.
Anggun: During the preliminary rounds and most of the knock-out rounds, we were given motions in advance about a month before. The semi-finals was an impromptu round and we were given 30 minutes. The most challenging aspect of the competition was adjusting to the format of 3-minute speeches. Before this, we did 5-8 minute speeches, so it was difficult to squeeze all our material into short speeches while still delivering impactful arguments.
How did you get along with your teammates? Did you always mesh together well?
Nadia: Definitely! Our club is a relatively small one, so my teammates and I have always been close. However, beyond our friendship, our team dynamic has been proven to work well. Throughout the tournament, we were often complimented on our team line-up. Judges mentioned that our individual styles complimented each other, while still being able to show off our own personalities and flair. Even after WJSDC, our team continued to perform well. We were able to become Octo-finalists in the open category at the Asia Pacific World Schools Debating Championship. So, I guess it’s safe to say that our team has chemistry.
Anggun: This was our first time being a team and we worked very well together. We were not afraid to tell each other if one of us were lacking in a certain aspect. We were also very open with all ideas and very supportive of each other. I think our coach realised we worked well as a team and grouped us again for another competition in October.
Did you expect to win?
Nadia: Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect. Having been a competitive debater for over a year, I know how unpredictable things are in the competitive world. I really just went into it thinking “hope for the best but prepare for the worst” and wanting to do my best to go as far as I could.
Anggun: We had confidence in winning, but we didn't expect to win. That would be kind of cocky. We put a lot of effort into our prepared materials and speeches. We met up for about 2 hours every week before the competition to research, discuss and perfect our analysis. We also coordinated our training to get as much practice with each other as possible.
What was the most memorable thing about this competition?
Nadia: As fun as it was to meet new people and learn new styles, the most memorable part for me was preparing and researching with my teammates. As serious as we were, we had a great time learning and brainstorming together. I think that our bond and camaraderie really tied the entire experience together.
Anggun: To me, the most memorable thing was to be awarded as the best speaker in the preliminary rounds, quarter finals and semi-finals. There wasn’t a best speaker in the finals. I was feeling down that week and my self-esteem was boosted! We also had a lot of fun in the semi-finals as we went against another team from our club, AYS. We debated on the side of proposition on the motion “This House believes that eSports should be added to the Olympics”. It didn’t feel too stressful as we were familiar with the other team.
Lastly, how did it feel to be announced as the champions of a world competition?
Nadia: It felt completely surreal. I know that we had put in the work and hours but actually winning and becoming a title-holder is insane to me. But at the same time, it was so gratifying. It showed that all the hard work and late nights had paid off. I couldn’t have done this without the help of my teammates, Emma and Anggun with whom I share this title. I’m so grateful for my amazing coach Ms Keana Reinu and my godsend seniors Heidi, Rheya, and Siti, who guided us throughout. Last but definitely not least, my parents who never stopped believing in me, even when I wasn’t at my best.
Anggun: It felt great. I was overjoyed and grateful for having supportive people around me. Thank you to everyone who has supported us, especially our amazing coach. Thank you to Nadia and Emma for being the best teammates and great extension speakers. Lastly, massive thanks to the articles and websites on Google that allowed us to do extensive research.
Their achievement was also featured by The Star in an online article here.
Congratulations to Nadia and Anggun!
Interview written by
Heidi Ilyana, Secondary 4