Young students debate and bring in new ideas at The Bait

The Debate Club, a student initiative of Bhavan’s Rajaji Vidyashram organised and hosted The Bait 2013 for the fourth consecutive year on July 19 and 20, 2013. The two-day extravaganza witnessed very responsive participation from various schools and an exceptional performance by participants of the debate as well as the Change Makers’ Conference (CMC) Finalists which was held on July 20.

P.S.Nandini, who won the title Change Maker 2013
P.S.Nandini, who won the title Change Maker 2013

This year’s Bait kickstarted with 28 debating rounds, three judges for each round and topics that triggered debaters the need to think beyond common conceptions and ideologies. Hari Shreya, a student of D.A.V Girls’ Sr. Sec. School, Gopalapuram, a participant said on the level of difficulty of the event, “The topics given to our group were considerably easy. But yes, I agree, they were tricky and needed attention but were very informative. The context was easy but then too many words confused us.” At the end of day one only four teams managed to qualify for the finals. They were the teams from PS Senior, PSBB KK Nagar, PSBB Millennium and Hindu Sr. Sec. School along with a school through a wildcard entry, Chinmaya Vidyalaya, Anna Nagar.

Teams from different cities also participated in the event. P.Obul Reddy School, Hyderabad,  Mallaya Aditi, Bangalore and GD Matric, Coimbatore who managed to go to the finals, were all geared up to battle it all out and win the title of The Bait 2013 Winners.

The best Chennai team out of the top four, P.S Senior Secondary School was chosen after yet another few rounds of debates as was the outstation winner Mallaya Aditi, Bangalore. Both the teams had to debate against each other to bag the trophy. Mallaya Aditi beat P.S.Sr. Sec. School and became the South zone Winners while P.S. Seniors became the Zonal Winners.

The CMC 2013 saw over 108 applicants and five participants were short-listed for the finals, along with Harsith R, the youngest contestant, a student of class 6 at PSBB, KK Nagar. He was appreciated by all for his splendid performance though he was under aged for the contest.

Another out-of-the-box thinker P.S.Nandini a 12th grader from Sir Sivaswami Kalalaya Senior Secondary School, whose project named Project Keni was to set up a library for the economically underprivileged children, who do not have access to non-curricular books, won the CMC Grand Prize. She bagged the Change Makers Conference Trophy was awarded Rs.30,000 for implementing her project.

Project Keni aims at inculcating the reading habit among these students, which according to Nandini will indirectly increase literacy rate. The project mainly involves collecting books, comics, academic books etc. from willing donors and deploying them in a neighborhood school that is in need of such books. Nandini says that old newspapers are also welcome from households, which in turn shall be sold as trash for money, which shall be used to buy some used books.

All the 11 panellist judges at the CMC 2013 were encouraging, Nandini says. “They constantly reminded us to take their questions as suggestions for improvement and not as criticism. They refined our ideas with their questions,” she adds.

“The other contestants were extremely friendly. We have all become close friends. By attending this conference, all of us were awarded the opportunity to understand and question various ideas that  today’s youth have for solving a range of problems that the society currently faces, both at the regional and national levels.”

The two days of wonderful ideas and meaningful discussions have left the hosts and the participants to look forward to The Bait 2014!

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