12 January 2023
Mrs Anna Housden, Head of History
On Wednesday 11 January, Lower Sixth Former Ava (pictured left with Anisia) acquitted herself fantastically well, representing Woldingham in the second-round heat of the ‘Great Debate’ public speaking competition, organised by the Historical Association. Students were tasked with writing and performing a five-minute speech on the topic ‘Why does history matter to me?’ Ava spoke eloquently about microhistory and made comparisons across history, noting similarities between people across time. She cited the Alexamenos Graffito, a depiction of Jesus estimated to have been created in Rome around the 3rd century, and compared it to graffiti from the modern day.
Ava, her fellow Woldingham History Society member Anisia and I enjoyed all the speeches. It was inspiring to hear seven different views of why history is important, with commentaries on its role in forming cultural identity, the pitfalls of a history written by the victors, the importance of a historical narrative and how concepts such as change, continuity and significance are interpreted in history.
The competition was judged by Mr Simon Cullen, Head of Sixth Form at Benenden School and Mrs Theresa Dickens, a seasoned veteran of English-Speaking Union debating. Ava’s passion for history shone through and she received excellent feedback about her public speaking skills. Ava found the competition a wonderful experience and plans to enter again next year.