ALUMNI

Patrice Ellis
Hutton Church of England Grammar School

I was able to look back and reflect that I now felt confident in intellectual and social situations with not only peers but also superiors.

COMPETITION YEAR
2010
UNIVERSITY
BSc Economics, University of Sheffield

While competing in Debating Matters there is the adrenaline rush of knowing that at any moment an exchange of your ideas could lead your opponents flummoxed and yourselves victorious. Being a Debating Matters alumnus may not involve the same kind of buzz but initially there certainly is an adrenaline factor of a different kind. It comes from being the face of a professionally run institution, the pressure of keeping it professional. Be it as a chair, judge or just general helping hand, your audience of schools will have a goldfish memory when it comes to what you did right, but that of an elephant should you muck up!

Fortunately, this doesn’t last for long as you soon realise it is far scarier for the students than yourself and that what you have to do is really very straightforward. Once relaxed into the role you can really enjoy the debates and the nostalgia it will for sure bring back, all the while fronting a prestigious organisation, the likes of which very few 18/19/20 year olds can match.

After competing in Debating Matters I was able to look back and reflect that I now felt confident in intellectual and social situations with not only peers but also superiors – in the form mainly of those fearsome judges! Being part for the Debating Matters alumni network has allowed this to be put into practice and develop that confidence, because I am now seen - in terms of the competition - as working and co-operating alongside the great and good of Debating Matters judges.  Also, whereas as a sixth former you need to be able to take the limelight and convince people that what you have to say is the most important and life-changing thing they can hear, as an alumnus I have found that a very different style of presentation is developed. It is one that requires a subtlety and can consequently allow others to flourish. This isn’t something to be disregarded – a truly valuable skill.

It is my pleasure to still be involved with Debating Matters and hope for it to continue long into the future.

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