A student of Chemu Senior High School (SHS) in Tema, McKenzie Damprani, has been crowned winner of the 11th edition of The Young Debaters (TYD) 2023 competition.
He emerged as overall winner after a stellar performance at the TYD finals held in Accra. His winning speech, “building bridges” – chosen from the main theme of this year’s competition, ‘Relations between nations are too important to be left to governments alone’, was adjudged best out of six contestants.
For emerging the overall winner, he gets an all-expenses paid return trip to the UK to participate in the International Public Speaking Competition (IPSC), a £300 per diem plus an engraved plaque. The first runner-up, Mercy Buckman of Accra High School, and second runner-up, Fathia Dramani of Accra Girls School, were given prizes including sponsored online programmes for teenagers and engraved plaques
Meanwhile, all finalists were rewarded with a novel and a certificate of recognition.
TYD is a public-speaking competition for high school students. Every year, winners of the competition are selected to participate in the International Public Speaking Competition (IPSC) in London, UK. It is an initiative of The Young Educators Foundation (YEF), a Ghanaian NGO that promotes education and literacy.
Speaking to the B&FT, the TYD 2023 champion said he is excited to represent the country on the world stage. He commended the relentless support of his coach, and described the success chalked up as his greatest achievements.
“I am thrilled and excited to see that my hard work and sleepless nights paid off today. It is a great achievement for me, and I am grateful to my coach for training me for this competition,” he said.
In attendance at the event were the Director of Communications at Melcom Ghana, Godwin Avenorgbo; Director of Public Affairs-Parliament of Ghana, Kate Addo; Spokesperson of former President John Mahama, Joyce Bawah; representatives from the British High Commission and other invited guests.
Programmes coordinator of YEF – organiser of TYD, Salomé Dzakpasu, says the competition seeks to fill a gap they have noticed among young people: lack of confidence in public speaking and in defending their ideas. She noted that the competition goes beyond helping students boost their confidence to structuring their thoughts, and delivering an impactful speech that is well understood by all.
Ms. Dzakpasu explained that the IPSC brings together young people from about 50 English-speaking countries who meet in London over about five days for the competition – adding that the winner will be given adequate preparation through coaching and training to “lift the flag of Ghana high in UK”.
In an interview with Ruth Quashie, coach of the overall winner and an English teacher at Chemu SHS, she said she was not surprised to see her trainee winning because he went the extra mile and was more composed during the competition.