1st EVYFF 2024

Right after winning big in the regional debate championship, the VSU Debate Society secured another victory in showcasing their debating prowess in the 1st Eastern Visayas Youth for the Futures Forum (EVYFF) organized by the Biliran Province State University (BiPSU) Main Campus.

The team of Marie France Irene Matulac and Angel Mitzi Fernandico emerged as champions in the Silver Category, where Matulac was declared the Best Speaker, elevating DebSoc’s reputation with their exceptional skills and strategic arguments.

Meanwhile, the team of Harriett Nabonillo and Dhea Angela Capuyan reached the Gold Category, competing against Eastern Samar State University (ESSU) and BiPSU. Capuyan and Nabonillo secured the 2nd and 4th Best Overall Speaker positions, respectively.

The 1st EVYFF was designed to “cultivate a forward-thinking mindset among students and faculty in Region 8, fostering a community of proactive and visionary thinkers.” 

Delving into their pivotal role as the sanctuary for debating, the champions revealed how a supportive environment, coupled with constructive feedback, catalyzed their breakthrough triumph.

This remarkable victory can be attributed to more than just skill and strategy. Matulac’s distinction as the best speaker in the category underscores the team's stellar performance in navigating the British parliamentary debate format and engaging in thoughtful post-debate analysis, setting a precedent for effective communication and critical thinking.

Reflecting on the event, Matulac’s focus on key elements and self-improvement illustrates the team's commitment to constant growth and excellence.

“‘Motion Analysis’ and ‘Whipping our own bench’ are the two things in my mind during the whole debate. I still need to work on my structuring so I decided to focus more on the things that I know I have the knowledge and full advantage of. Before the final round, I always asked for ‘points of improvement’ from the judges every after rounds to evaluate myself, Ma’am Verse Abellaneda always said, “You have the potential, you are doing good, but you can do better, so here are the things that you should do to win….”. With that, I consider it and fully comprehend where I lack and how I can improve in less than 24 hours. I do not credit everything to myself for earning the title, I am grateful for our coach and my teammates for helping me improve throughout the event,” Matulac stated.

Adopting a "sponge mindset," the debaters actively absorbed lessons and applied them throughout the competition. Crucially, they recognized the EVYFF as a safe space where mistakes were welcomed, and feedback was provided to foster growth.

The debaters' journey was not without its setbacks, but they embraced failure as an opportunity to learn and grow. They maintained a positive mindset, focusing on their purpose of learning and experiencing the event, and persevered until the very end.

As the VSU Debate Society looks to the future, they are committed to fostering a culture of debating beyond the institution, reaching out to high school students, and inspiring the next generation of debaters.

“There are a lot of visions that the VSU Debate Society is hoping to accomplish and carry out, the society will transition in more ways than one, and what we can assure everyone is that we bear in mind the welfare of the members and society in achieving all these goals. Our aspirations extend to developing great quality Viscan debaters and hope that the culture of debating will continue as a legacy and reach not only within VSU but also other areas that will see the beauty of debating since this is also a safe space for everyone to be heard and to stand up for what you believe in. In light of this, we will try to establish a high school debate society as we believe that potential should be realized and that it extends to the young minds of individuals who just need the push to discover that gift and we, the VSU Debate Society, will be there to guide and support them through it all,” Nabonillo shared.

VSU DebSoc is transforming through promoting a culture of open discourse, member welfare, and empowering young minds, aiming to inspire a new generation of Viscan debaters and establish a legacy beyond the university, aiming to create a safe space for voices and beliefs.

“The EVYFF wasn’t just a training camp for debaters and adjudicators from different institutions to train but it was something that I called a “3 in 1” as the event espoused a lot of meaningful discussions through the invited lecture speakers and other keynote speakers from esteemed organizations, a disquisition on futures-thinking initiatives, and cross-training with other universities through a friendly debate spar. This event was truly an advanced-thinking initiative that changed our perspective on debating, that debating isn’t just a mental sport but can produce forward-thinking activities and it holistically changes what debate is and what more it can offer in our society. This further motivates us to host events like these that are possible to achieve,” Nabonillo added.

The EVYFF proved to be more than just a training camp, it was an inventive experience that expanded the debaters' perspectives, revealing that debating is not just a mental sport but a platform for forward-thinking initiatives and meaningful discussions.

Aspiring debaters are advised to enjoy the journey, read significant material, and develop a unique yet compelling framework for presenting speeches. Extensive team practice is essential, as is fine-tuning the intricacies of speech and adapting information to certain speaker roles.

"I would advise future debaters to enjoy the process, immerse themselves in extensive reading, and develop a personal yet effective structure for presenting speeches. Regular training with your team is crucial, as is mastering technical aspects like speech structuring and what content to speak based on speaker roles. Most importantly, identify your primary motivation for engaging in debate. Since it is a mentally demanding activity, a genuine interest in learning and embracing failure is essential for growth in this field," Capuyan highlighted.

The Viscan debaters proudly extended their gratitude to their coach Ms. Angelie Genotiva, a faculty from the Department of Philosophy and Social Sciences who supported them in the debate spar in Biliran.

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