St Peter’s College entered a senior debating team into this competition for the first time this year. The team comprised Erika Burdon as First Speaker, Bridget Hurrell, Second Speaker, and Georgia Johnston, Third Speaker.
The competition took place at Columba College and was run by the Otago University Debating Club. On the Friday night the prepared debates took place, teams had to have prepared 7 minute speeches for both sides of the same moot. The team lost its Affirmative debate to St Hilda’s and won its Negative moot against Waitaki Boys. The style of debating was much less formal and very different to our Bishop’ Shield experiences! Erika Burdon was awarded the ‘Best Speaker’ of this second debate and the adjudicator highly praised her ‘paradigm’ Leader’s Reply.
On Saturday the team competed in two round of Limited Preparation debates – 30 minutes to prepare 7 minute speeches. As our debaters have never taken part in this kind of debating, it was a great challenge, but all three responded fluently and with conviction on both their topics. We lost the first against King’s High School by only four points, and the second against Kavanagh College by only two points. Georgia Johnston was awarded ‘Best Speaker’ of this second debate. As the Dunedin schools had been taking part in inter-school competitions in this style of debating during Term One, the team compared very favourably and were heartened by their performances.
The adjudicators of all debates gave extensive and individual feedback, which was invaluable to the students. The experience was well worthwhile and the skill of pursuing valid lines of argument is also very useful for essay writing!
Mrs Barbara Fraser (Debating Coach)
HOD English & Arts