Hard work and dedication finally paid dividends to four Brettenwood High School learners whose intellect and eloquence in public speaking booked them a ticket to New York’s Yale University for the last lap of the World Scholar’s Cup debate competition set to kick off on 17 November.
The Durban-based school learners – Bonoyolo Sicwebu, Olwethu Mabaso, Sibani Ncampalala and Sthembile Shangase, who kicked off their journey from the local inter-schools debate competition by conquering
the local around in June, have also done it again in the provincial round last week in the competition series that began on Monday and ended
on Thursday. They were in disbelief when they were announced as the winners of the provincial round of World Scholar’s Cup which qualified them to travel to Yale University for a last lap of the competition.
However, the excitement that came with success could not last that
long as the cost of the entire trip of the four learners and a educator did
not prove to be affordable, as each individual had to pay R50 000 to
cover the accommodation, traveling and other relevant costs. If the required sponsorship does not come along, their dream of debating on foreign soil will go up in smoke.
Avela Mabaso, Mabaso’s sister, said that the learners were in plight to raise funds. “We are open for sponsorship of any nature, be it financially, items of clothing or any other help,” she said.
An educator at the school, Cynthia Samynaden, said that insufficient funds could lead to the trip being cancelled. ”This could be the saddest thing for us a educators and the affected learners as they fought so hard to get where there are today. This is a once in a life time opportunity for them,”‘ she said.
Samynaden, who is also the team’s coach, said that although some sponsors had already responded positively, the available funds are in no way close to the required amount. “We have not given up the hope of pooling together enough money as we continue to approached many potential funders,” she said.
She appealed for sponsorship to come along so that the dreams of these youngsters, three of whom are in Grade 11 and one in Grade 10, come true.
”These youngsters are not going there to represent theirs school, but to represent the country. Moreover, the trip to Yale would benefit them a lot as they will not only participate in debates but they would also take in cultural activities which will help display the good heritage-diversity of our country. It would also sharpen their minds because they will get mixed with their fellow learners from around the world during their academic sections which are also part of the forthcoming event,” she said.