St. Augustine’s College’s (SAC) debate team for the third consecutive year has talked their way to the National High School Debate championship title.
Debating the moot, “Be it resolved that the legacy of The Bahamas has not been significantly compromised and is of value to our posterity,” were Kyla Jones, a senior, and 10th-grade students Daunte Butler and Jai’Don Haley, who were both in their first outing as debaters.
Kyla also walked away with best speaker of the debate honors.
Similar to the championship round, in 2021, it was a three-way debate with SAC and St. George’s High out of Grand Bahama proposing and C.I. Gibson opposing.
SAC’s squad took a political, educational and historical approach to the topic.
Kyla, the first speaker, argued that The Bahamas’ democracy is the best in the region and has not been compromised. She further argued that Bahamian dates are enshrined in the constitution, immigration laws have not changed and citizens still pledge allegiance to the Bahamian flag.
Daunte addressed sports, economics and tourism. He argued that the pioneering work of the late Sir Durward Knowles in sports has been multiplied through the likes of Olympian Shaunae Miller, and that up-and-coming stars such as Jamiah Nabbie have someone to emulate.
Third speaker, Jai’Don, focused on Bahamian culture – Junkanoo, Bahamian dialect and Bahamian food. Despite influences from foreign countries, she argued that Bahamians have still kept most aspects of their culture.
SAC’s debaters said they found the moot interesting and challenging. They said joining the debate club was a good move on their part as it helped them to think critically and articulate their thoughts clearly.
It was SAC’s fourth debate title in the competition’s 21-year history.
Three of those wins came under debate coach Kerron-Gaye Knight, who described this year’s winning debate trio as a “special group”. She said each debater brought something unique to the table. She described Kyla as passionate, Daunte as assertive, and Jai’Don as forthright.
With Daunte and Jai’Don in the 10th grade, she believes that the future of the club is bright.
SAC was founded by the Benedictines of Nassau in 1945. From its establishment, the monks stressed the importance of developing the whole child – spiritually, intellectually and physically. As such, a strong extracurricular program, of which the debate club is a part, is in keeping with the Benedictine vision.
“At SAC, we believe that students’ ability to think critically and quickly and to address an audience persuasively is an important part of their development and an important skill that citizens in a democracy should possess,” said Terrance Pratt, who coached the school’s winning 2017 debat team. “Public speaking is one of the greatest fears that many people, including adults, have, and the debate club helps students to face and conquer that fear.”