09 September 2021

Junior Debating Update

Article by Mt Michael Tod

Junior Debating Update

Junior debating has continued under lockdown with the finals for the Schools Competition proving to be an exciting diversion from yet another round of Remote Learning. Our first finals playoff round took place on Thursday 26th August with Saint Ignatius squaring off against Yarra Valley Grammar. Taking the negative position on the topic: ‘That video games are harmful for children’, our side had to make the case for this much maligned but undoubtedly popular form of entertainment. Curtis McCoughtry (Year 9) opened the team’s case by suggesting that each generation had to overcome fears about the latest forms of entertainment. He went on to explain how games are meant to be fun, not harmful, and made quite an impression with his considered and deliberate delivery.

Alana Clark (Year 9) spoke next, allaying fears about any connection between the popularity of computer games like Grand Theft Auto and actual crime statistics. Alana spoke with great conviction and was able to rebut the key points of the opposition with humour and finesse. Finally, our third speaker, Stephanie Reynolds (Year 9), dismantled the opposition’s case with some hearty rebuttal, delivering an animated and compelling summation of our team’s case. Saint Ignatius College was awarded the victory, meaning that they only had one week to prepare for their next playoff.

On Thursday 2nd September, the team quickly regrouped and took the negative position on the challenging topic: ‘That the Victorian Parliament should sit in regional centres rather than Melbourne’. Our first speaker, Owen McCoughtry (Year 7), opened the case with a lucid explanation of how much money such an idea would cost and how it would be better spent simply supporting regional areas. Owen's relative inexperience was certainly no obstacle as he delivered a confident, engaging speech. 

Curtis McCoughtry (Year 9) followed up as second speaker, arguing that modern technology allowed greater access to information than regional sittings would provide. His polished presentation, including a withering rebuttal of the opposition’s case so far, certainly made an impression.

Our third speaker, Alana Clark (Year 9) demonstrated real flair in her ability to rebut the key points of the opposition, including some witticisms that drew a smile from the adjudicator. Her performance won her the Best Speaker for the debate and Saint Ignatius 1 was awarded the victory. This team is currently undefeated and heads into the final debate for the year excited by the prospect of competing against some of the most talented speakers in the state.

The Junior Secondary Program also started on the 2nd September and our team consisted of Ella Downing (Year 7), Jade Cowdery (Year 7) and Stephanie Reynolds (Year 8). This first round was won by forfeit as the opposition failed to attend. However, the adjudicator generously offered to hear the debate and improvised the opposition speeches so our team were able to receive some great feedback about their performance.

Michael Tod  Junior Debating Coordinator