Rated underdogs during the start of the inter-high school debate competition, Bethesda Christian Mission and Liberia Dujar put on surprise performances that have led them to the point of bracing themselves for a showdown in the grand finale of this year’s competition.
Their arrival in the final reads like a fairy tale, which has gripped the imagination of thousands of Liberians and students who religiously follow the competition. The two were given a 60 to 1 odds of reaching the final.
Unheralded Bethesda and Dujar outshone top contenders, including past winners Len Miller and Isaac A. David, and runners-up St. Teresa Convent and Sammy Dukuly, on their way to the final.
The duo, who failed to reach the second round of the debate competition last year, comfortably set aside their competitors – Bethesda defeated Dawah Umar, while Dujar squeezed out William VS Tubman, in their respective semifinal matches.
The semi-final in the University of Liberia auditorium saw Bethesda defeat Dawah Umar 87.26 to 85.15 on the proposition: “Corporations should be allowed to donate money to political campaigns.”
Dujar went past William VS Tubman high school 88.82-88.72 on the proposition: “Master’s degree should be included in the criteria for both the post of president and vice president.”
The saving grace during both debates ended up being the first and third speakers, whose brilliant arguments tore down the logic put forward by the losing schools, who made several slip-ups in their arguments.
Although the last minutes of the semifinal debates saw some strong responses from Tubman and Umar, all their efforts were halted by stronger arguments from the two finalists.
This year’s debate, organized by Youth for Change – headed by Alex Devine, saw 64 schools battling for the grand prize of US$2,000.
The final debate competition will take place on August 6 at the Monrovia City Hall.
The runners-up will walk away with US$1000.