We have had a really impressive year in Debating and just last week, Somerset College won both Grand Final Debates in the Junior B and Open A divisions to clinch the coveted title of 'Champion School' in the Gold Coast Debating Competition for 2017. Our teams have debated everything from whether 'The government should censor the internet' to whether ‘Globalisation has gone too far’.
Last Wednesday 16 August, we saw the debating season come to a close at the greatly anticipated Grand Final at Bond University, where we were fortunate enough to see the first ever Somerset vs Somerset Open A Grand Final.
The Year 11 team consisting of Uni Kyeong, Charlotte Roche, Olivia Hammond and Chloe Oxnard (with Jessica Jackson as reserve) went head to head with the Year 12 team that included Brendan Major, Zoe Wei, Nalin Batra and Jason Zhang. The topic for the short prep debate was that ‘We should give aid to countries with poor human rights records’. Both teams had an hour and a half to prepare and write their eight minute speeches before presenting their compelling and persuasive arguments to likely the largest audience of their debating careers. Ultimately, the Year 12 team who argued the negative side of the debate, came out victorious, with second speaker, Zoe Wei, presented the prestigious ‘Speaker of the Night’ award.
In addition, Phoenix Chapman, Lilah Thurbon, Tanya Nagrani and Kei Nato from the Junior B team also won their Grand Final debate on the affirmative side of the topic, ‘We should speak our minds’. If that wasn’t enough, Somerset was then crowned ‘Champion School’ for having the highest overall debating results for the year, with six Junior and Intermediate teams qualifying for the ‘Round of 16’ and three out of four Somerset Open A teams making it to the semi-finals.
Grand Finals night was truly one to remember, as was the 2017 debating season as a whole. Through debating, Years 7 to 12 students have not only been able to grow in confidence by thinking on their feet and writing speeches under pressure, but have also been able to improve their knowledge on a range of global issues, while bonding with their teams.
Throughout the year, our debating teams have celebrated wins together, but also learned to deal with disappointment from time to time. The commitment and dedication students have shown this season has been impressive, debating on Wednesday evenings throughout Terms One to Three, often staying at school as late as 8.30pm to receive their post-debate adjudication.
Thanks must go to all the students who participated, the debating coaches Mrs Wheeler, Mr Henderson, Ms Hyman, Ms Coombs, Mr Moore, Mr Wrigley who generously gave their time and expertise to mentor the teams throughout the year, parents who committed to late night pick ups, Gold Coast Debating adjudicators, particularly Somerset’s own student adjudicators, and the student volunteers who helped set up classrooms for the debates. The Year 12 Open A teams would also like to thank their coach, Ms Lee, who put her heart and soul into mentoring both teams throughout the season.
Finally, special thanks must go to Mrs Hossy, Somerset’s Debating Coordinator, who undertook the massive task of ensuring debates ran smoothly, expertly managing the many coaches, students and adjudicators week after week.
We hope many of you will join Debating in 2018 to continue to build on this success.
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