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It was cold. Almost 5 degrees Celsius. The kids were ready, though.

Ten students from SIS traveled to Beijing to compete in a debate tournament. From grades 5 to 12, students debated whether non-violent criminals should be put in prison in the United States. Consequentialism, the social contract, rehabilitation, retribution and deterrence: the students dealt with all these ideas and more — along with the cold weather of Beijing in November.

For two days the students competed. Starting the competition, a traditional Chinese dance and acapella performance from Tsinghua International School greeted the group, along with welcome speeches from the principal of the school, the organizer and the student body president. Next, it was on to the debate rounds. The first day were the preliminary rounds with four debates for each team. Every team from SIS won at least one debate, with three of our five teams moving on to the elimination rounds on the second day.

The competition was fierce with over 250 debaters. Fifty different Chinese schools were represented in the competition, along with a school from Mongolia. Surabaya Intercultural School was given a warm welcome by the hosting school at the ending ceremony. Along with the recognition, our debaters brought home trophies and awards.

In the middle school division, two SIS students were in the top 32 teams. Two more SIS students in Middle School were in the top 16, as were two high school students. One of our high school debaters won seventh best speaker out of all the high school debaters.

Congratulations go out to all debaters. Not only did they face the cold Beijing weather, they faced fierce competition, nerves, confusion, and new dialects. Through all this, they kept a brave face and represented SIS well.

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