East London student Ife Grillo wins ‘private school dominated’ international debating contest

WINNER: Ife Grillo

WINNER: Ife Grillo

A STUDENT from east London was part of a debating team crowned the world’s best at a prestigious contest in Germany.

Ife Grillo, 18, from The Bridge Academy in Hackney, joined teammates from Eton, Dulwich College, Westminster and Alleyn’s School – private schools whose students usually dominate the team – to beat pupils from Hong Kong, Canada and Australia at the World Schools Debating Championships.

“Finding out I made the England Team was one of the best days of my life,” Ife told HuffPost UK ahead of the competition. “[Coaching organisation] Debate Mate getting involved in my school absolutely changed my life and I owe them a lot.”

Ife is also one of the few students from an ethnic minority background to have been selected to debate for England.

“Debating is very private school dominated, and by extension there are very few ethnic minorities. The reality is that that is often how things are at the top of any profession, and it taught me that sometimes you have to step out of your comfort zone to reach success”, Grillo added.


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