Founders' Debate 2021

This year’s Founders’ Debate was unprecedented both in the historical figures that participated and in its purpose.

Organised in order to inaugurate the new Julia Powell Sports Hall and Auditorium, an all-female group of sixth formers represented renowned women in history in order to attempt to convince an audience of Year 8s (and an online audience of other Key Stage 3 classes) of their value and importance. Metaphorically trapped in a sinking hot-air balloon, the renowned figures attempted to convince the audience that they should be saved from the impending accident that requires the rest to be thrown out of the balloon.

After introductions by Mr Powell and Mr Crumpton, who co-ordinated the event, the debaters, composed of historical and metaphorical figures, began with opening statements on their life and work. Marie Curie, Isabel la Católica, Mother Earth, Rosalind Franklin, Princess Diana and Jane Goodall gave a short introduction about their lives followed by a series of questions from the audience. Marie Curie (Angélica O) was the first to speak, recounting the French-Polish Nobel prize winners’ struggles during her research which culminated in her discovery of radioactivity and two new elements.

Followed by Mother Earth (Stella S), the personification of nature expressed her disapproval of her mistreatment concerning pollution and global warming before pointing out that without her, not only would the audience also meet its death but the rest of women would have also been incapable of following the path that took them to greatness.

The metaphorical figure was followed by Isabel la Católica (Catalina S). The most famous queen in Spanish history, Isabel highlighted her role not only in the discovery of the New World but also in the unification of not only Spain, but also the Christian states that would become Europe.

Focused on the lack of recognition she faced during her lifetime, the discoverer of DNA (Martina B) opened up the possibility of leading with future pandemics if she were saved by the audience due to her knowledge of genetics and virology. Viruses were also mentioned by Lady Diana (Khushi A) in relation to her efforts to de-stigmatise HIV and AIDS as well as her propulsion of the global campaign against Land Mines. The initial remarks were finalised by Jane Goodall (Lucía O) and her studies of primate populations over decades as well as her unwavering commitment to conserve the environment.

After a series of questions from the audience, a vote finally declared Rosalind Franklin the winner by an overwhelming majority. This was a both entertaining and informative event, perfect in order to inaugurate the spacious and luminous new building.

Written by Angélica O (13K)

The school’s Covid Co-ordinator gave permission for masks to be removed for the 2 minute-long speeches, having given the participants antigen tests that morning, and ensuring there was safe and sufficient space between the stage and the audience.