Article by: Joshua Tan
For the reason that Cultural Convention is not as held as frequently as IASAS sports tournaments, many of the students do not have a concrete understanding of its importance. This year, ISM is given the opportunity to host IASAS Forensics and Debate. The convention exposes students to different forms of public speaking, but also presents a challenge. Unlike other IASAS events, the holding of Forensics and Debate in ISM will require diverse logistics such as the occupation of 34 classrooms and having volunteer students participate as timers, door guards, and escorts. This even lead Ms. Hillman, the Fine Arts Director of ISM, to conclude that this is the “biggest logistical exercise of all IASAS events.”
To prepare the volunteers for the actual convention, the Fine Arts department trained all of them in a 2 hour session, involving practice timing scenarios and reading the IASAS rulebook for each event. Mr. Peter Curry, coach of the ISM debate team, stresses the importance of precision in timing as “points are deducted” if competitors do not complete their speech within the time limits given. As Ms. Arndt adds that “students are perfect for time keepers as they are responsible,” allowing them the opportunity to “learn from the from the performances and see a variety of events.” Emphasising the significance of the volunteers, she states that “there would be no way that we could run the event” if there were no students involved.
Without a doubt, even though ISM was tasked to handle the success of this convention, the greatest degree of pressure and work lies in the hands of the speakers and debaters. As an extemporaneous speaker, Hardik Singh highlights that the team has to “not only know about any and all major geographical issues around the world,” but to also accumulate various articles to be used during the competition.
Certainly, as the host country, our delegates will be receiving enthusiastic support from the ISM crowd. Hardik believes that this will create an advantage because local speakers will be able to orate “comfortably” in a familiar environment. Ellice Tordesillas, Hardik’s teammate, is “most excited about” her parents being able to “come and see (her) speak,” confessing that her parents have “never really seen (her) give these kinds of speeches despite knowing that public speaking is something (she) feels most passionate about.” As part of the debating representatives of ISM, Brian Molloy is simply contented about being free to “sleep in (his) bed each night.”
Together with the tensions of preparation, hosting IASAS Forensics and Debate serves as an incomparable benefit to all ISM’s delegates. However, as expressed above, this would not be possible without the collaboration of both students and teachers.