The Cayman Islands recognizes the month of March as Honouring Women’s Month, a month to celebrate the achievements of women and call for greater gender equality. Conyers kicked off these celebrations on 1, March with its 12th Inter-school debate, a tournament that saw students contemplate the future of gender equality and evaluate the monetary value of stay-at-home wives and mothers.
The tournament, held in collaboration with the Family Resource Centre, took place at Cayman Prep and High School. Mehr Lamba, Programme Facilitator with the Family Resource Centre commented, “It is always exhilarating to engage in new partnerships and our collaboration with the Conyers Inter-School Debate Tournament is very much in this vein. Young persons are our future and to hear intelligent and nuanced debate by students on issues central to gender equality, especially during Honouring Women’s Month, gives us hope for the future.”
The tournament saw 74 students from John Gray High School, Cayman Prep and High School, St. Ignatius Catholic School, Clifton Hunter High School, Wesleyan Christian Academy and Cayman International School competing in two divisions, Novice and Open, over three rounds. The tournament was a team effort with more than 60 business people, ranging from lawyers, accountants, consultants, and other leaders from the Cayman business community volunteered their afternoon and evening to act as judges. The tournament itself was run by more than 40 students and teachers at Cayman Prep and High School.
In the first two rounds, students in the Open division debated the resolution “This house believes that global gender equality will not be achieved in our lifetime” and students in the Novice division debated the resolution, “This house believes that stay at home wives and mothers ought to be paid for domestic work.”
“Honouring Women’s Month is an excellent time to take stock of how far we’ve come and how much further we have to go to achieve gender equality.” said Kevin Butler, Partner and Head of the Cayman Islands Office. “We were pleased to partner with the Family Resource Centre for our spring 2021 debate and are committed to sponsoring initiatives like the debate that help develop the next generation of professionals in the Cayman Islands.”
The final round of debate was judged by the Hon. Madam Justice Carter of the Cayman Islands Grand Court, and took place on stage in front of the other students, judges, coaches and parents. Awards were presented by Stran Bodden, JP, Chief Officer in the Ministry of District Administration, Tourism and Transport and Erik Bush, JP, Chief Officer in the Ministry of International Trade, Investment, Aviation and Maritime Affairs.
Attendees at the final debate round were treated to a dinner catered by a team of women chefs from Mise En Place and Conyers further celebrated women with a donation to the ‘Women in White’ scholarship fund, a scholarship established to help women chefs further their professional studies abroad.
The winners of the debate were the team of Sophie Ellison and Aiden Watler from Cayman Prep and High School and the Second Place team was Sadie Finch and Thomas Dickens from Cayman International School. The top teams and speakers were as follows:
Open Division Team Awards
• Sophie Ellison and Aiden Watler, Cayman Prep and High School, First Place Team
• Sadie Finch and Thomas Dickens, Cayman International School
• Shaela Reid and Hadassah Blake, John Gray High School
Open Division Individual Awards:
• Aiden Watler, Cayman Prep and High School, Best Speaker
• Sophie Ellison, Cayman Prep and High School, Second Place Speaker
• Sadie Finch, Cayman International School, Third Place Speaker
Novice Division Team Awards:
• Solomon Aka and Dabari Morgan, Clifton Hunter High School, First Place Team
• Natalia Cugliari and George Zimmerman, Cayman International School, Second Place Team
• Michael Moncreiff and Moises Diaz Pascual, Clifton Hunter High School, Third Place Team
Novice Division Individual Awards:
• Moises Diaz Pascual, Clifton Hunter High School, Best Speaker
• Solomon Aka, Clifton Hunter High School, Second Place Speaker
• Natalia Cugliari, Cayman International School, Third Place Speaker
Ian Whan-Tong, Tournament Director commented, “The Conyers Inter-school Debate Tournament continues to go from strength to strength with greater interest from schools, teachers and the community. Our students today have a wide range of extra-curricular activities, but debate allows students to develop a number of skills that are essential for their future success: critical thinking, confidence, communication and a growth mindset. I’d like to thank Conyers for their continued sponsorship of the tournament, and all of our volunteers and supporters for their contribution to advancing debate in these islands”.
Sponsored by law firm, Conyers, the Conyers Inter-school Debate is the only inter-school debating tournament in the Cayman Islands. The tournament was founded and organized by Tournament Director Ian Whan-Tong, and is sustained by a large team of volunteer judges, coaches and teachers, with support from the judiciary and government and legislative leaders.
Since its inception in October 2015, more than 250 different high school students representing all local secondary schools have debated more than 40 different resolutions in the course of over 350 individual competitive inter-school debates. The 13th Conyers Inter-School Debate will be held in the autumn of 2021.