Lutricia le Roux, Grade 11 learner from Noorderland High School, has a novel way of articulating the rebelliousness that being a teenager is commonly associated with.
A formidable debater, she holds the opinion: “Debating is in me, it is part of my life now and it gives me an opportunity to be rebellious in a formal way, since there is a general perception that teenagers are rebellious.”
She is the recent winner of the Road Traffic Management Corporation’s Road Safety Debate District Championships held at her school. She competed against 55 learners from across the Capricorn district on topics that govern road safety in South Africa. Noorderland’s team consisted of five learners with Lutricia being the only one making it to the top three.
Winning the district competition earned her the trophy, a tablet, dictionary and scientific calculator. She is also included in the district team that will contest in the provincial competitions on 2 August.
The district tournament consisted of three rounds where the different school teams competed followed by a round in which only the top ten debaters selected from the participating schools went up against each other. The winners were then announced.
Lutricia said that the motion for the first round was ‘Travelling in a vehicle without a safety belt is a significant contributor to road traffic fatalities in South Africa’. In round two, the learners had to argue for or against the motion whether ‘Road safety education is adequate enough to prepare young people to be safer road users.’ The third round topic was ‘The speed limit on South African roads are too high.’
According to her, the last round was the hardest motion because her team had not received the motion beforehand, unlike the other teams, but her fellow team members assisted her during the round.
“I think I won because stylistically I was good at stating my opinion even though I did not have the motion beforehand. Luckily all the motions are related to the topic of road safety and I could use some of the arguments I had used during the previous motions,” she said.
Lutricia was born in Polokwane in 2001 and attended Laerskool Pietersburg-Noord Primary. Noorderland has been her academic home since 2013 and she hopes to attain her Grade 12 there next year. Her subjects are Physical Sciences, Economics, Accounting, Pure Mathematics, English Home Language, Afrikaans Home Language and Life Orientation.
She began debating in Grade 8 after her then English educator, Tlou Mashitisho encouraged her to try out for the debating team. By Grade 9 she was already actively participating in competitions.
She cites former student leaders of the school, Isaiah Ramakgolo and Victoria Mathapo to be among the inspirational influences of her early debating career. Lutricia explained that it was their example and success as debaters that captivated and motivated her to try her best in debating she said.
She went on to say that the emotional highlights during her debating career have been the debating camps the school held during which the team members who attended got closer to each other and formed a family.
On a more formal level being named Best Speaker during a debating championship held last February opened up the possibilities for her to achieve more in debating.
Her goals are to pursue a career in political science after completing high school.
Mary Ramohlale, English First Additional Language educator at Noorderland said she followed Lutricia’s progress during the district tournament and was impressed. “She made our school proud and I am also very proud of her. She is an ambitious, joyful learner with a lot of potential in life.”
Story and photo: THINUS DU TOIT