Inter-house debate settled at Mayfield

Over the years, Mayfield has been the venue for the settling of many sporting debates; and now it has witnessed the settling of HSD’s annual Senior Inter-House debate too!

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The playing fields, framed by clear blue skies, provided a unique setting as representatives of the School’s four houses – Aystree, Wallace, Lindores and Airlie – debated the motion: This House Regrets politicians' increased usage of social media for communication.

After impressive arguments were put forward by the proposing teams Aystree (represented by Hamish Doig) and Lindores (David Logan and Malavikha Sudarshan), and the opposing teams Airlie (Ksenia Kapelyukh and Anthony Hingston) and Wallace (Dominic Westwood and Ruby McIntee), it was over to the judges to make a tough decision. But not before the audience of F2 pupils had had the chance to have their say on the motion via floor speeches and questions for the debaters.

After lengthy deliberation, the panel (Rector Lise Hudson, senior debating coach Irene McGrath and guest judge – former pupil and Scottish debating internationalist – Steven Roy) declared Airlie to be the winning house, with Ksenia Kapelyukh awarded the prize for Best Speaker. 

After a year in which debating tournaments were forced to move online, the decision to hold the event at Mayfield had been taken to allow the participants the chance to debate in front of an audience and Irene McGrath was delighted to see the annual event take place.

She said, “When I arrived at HSD in 1980, the House Debate was really a public speaking contest which consisted of pupils reading essays to one another. Some initial consternation ensued when I pointed out that debates involve engagement, Points of Information and persuading the audience!

“I am therefore very grateful to all those colleagues who made it possible for the debate to take place at Mayfield and enable the pupils - who have made sterling efforts in continuing to debate online throughout the Covid restrictions - to be able to round off their year by debating face to face in our beautiful setting. We do however very much hope that next year will see us back to getting on trains very early on Saturday mornings to set off to all the traditional competitions!”