After six rounds of debates against formidable opponents, NorthGate College emerged victorious at the 2012 RBC Young Leaders’ Great Debates Competition.  Vongai Mlambo and Raejeanne John started the competition enthusiastically, though a bit uncertain of the demands of debating.  After losing their first round of competition yet getting through to the second round, they never looked back, wowing the judges at each subsequent debate.

The Winners’ Row L-R Emaiya Hazelwood, Vongai Mlambo and Raejeanne John

The experience for the girls was a memorable one. They learnt from their mistakes, adjusting as they went along. Vongai admitted that she gained confidence from the debates because standing in front of a crowd was not something that she could previously have done.  By the finals she felt that they could do this, as they had come too far to give up now.  This determination and perseverance bore fruit.

For Raejeanne the journey was more beautiful than winning overall because it taught her more than she went in knowing.  She reflects that one of her greatest external experiences was when after winning their 4th debate the teacher from the other team walked up to them and said, “You all were really great, see you all in the finals”.  In the finals she walked up and gave Raejeanne a hug and a kiss commenting on her notable development.  The fact that someone who did not know them would comment on their growth and development and also support them on to victory was memorable.

Both ladies were full of praise for the dedication and sacrifice of the NGC staff, of note, Mr. Christopher Williams and Mr. Terrence Ragoonanan, and their friends, in particular Emaiya Hazelwood and Zezura Nurse.  Their parents were also a tremendous source of encouragement and support.  This debate reflected the NorthGate standard of collaboration, in practice.

This was a journey for the NorthGate community as well as we listened to the girls debate, encouraged them, gave them tips and watched them grow. Vongai and Raejeanne grew as a team and grew as friends.  They were diligent in preparing for the debates and just as diligent in ensuring that they kept up with their class assignments.

Group shot Winners 2012 RBC Young Leaders Great Debates

At the end of the day, regardless of the results, NGC would have won, for the evident practical application of the principles of collaboration, sacrifice, diligence and perseverance,  seen throughout this process.  Congrats again to the NGC team!