Bishop's Shield

Posted Thursday August 10, 2023

And your winners of the 79th Annual Bishop's Shield Competition are… St. Peter's College!!!"

Yes, that's right. We did it once again. After a superb weekend of intense and fierce competition, we have returned as victors once more. From the evening of August 4th to the middle of the 6th, we, the members and community of St. Peter's College, played host to the 79th Annual Bishops' Shield Competition.

The weekend began with our very own Isabella Gordon-Glassford addressing whether Pope John XXIII's "Pacem in Terris" is still relevant to us today in the prepared speech competition. This competition ended with a two-way tie for second place, leaving us unaware of how the rest of the weekend could play out.

Following this striking speech, we were left to sleep and prepare for the next day of competition, where our junior debate team took on the challenge of affirming the moot that "world peace is real and attainable." After some incredibly well-spoken and convincing arguments, and the judges having to deliberate over the outcome, we unfortunately lost to a strong Trinity Catholic College team. However, Cheska Acuna was awarded the Best Speaker of the entire section, showing us the potential that we will have coming up into senior debate with this group of talented kids.

Following the junior debate, our senior debate team faced a Verdon College team comprised of multiple Southland debating representatives. Our team was negating the moot that "the United Nations are no longer fit for purpose and cannot stop armed conflict, and thus should be disbanded." After many more well-worded arguments that left the audience on the edge of their seats, a breakthrough was found when Daniel Kovarski, who would later be named the Best Speaker for the section, made a crucial point of order during the opposition leader's reply. This tipped the scales in our favor, earning us a strong win. Mikee Omega was announced as the Best Leader of the section as well, showing promising signs for next year once more.

Following dinner, we then proceeded to the senior impromptu speech, where Sophie Aynsley took the win with her compelling and well-thought-out speech on the topic of "Global Peace." She persuaded us, the audience, that although not entirely possible, a world without perfect harmony is one worth living in nonetheless.

Drama was the final section of the night, and our junior team got off to a rocketing start with their piece on Romans 14:17, "Do what leads to peace." Managing to combine Saint Paul, Star Wars, Ghostbusters, and Greta Thunburg, the juniors were able to make the audience think and laugh with an incredible performance from Jude Terry. This earned him the title of the Most Promising Performer for junior drama as well as the win for the junior section.

Senior drama placed 2nd for the senior section and had the audience keeling over with laughter with their comedic piece about duck shooting and overcoming adversity in the face of ignorance and unwillingness. The combination of comedic tropes and the colloquial theme of duck shooting helped the seniors secure a closely contested second place, helping end the night on a high note and setting the bar for the final day of competition.

Scripture was the deciding factor in the competition this year. Eli Puna ensured that he rocketed us to a comfortable position following his confident and well-spoken second-place finish in the junior section, setting the bar and the stake incredibly high for the final event of the weekend.

With the scores close and one event remaining, we welcomed Rachel Miller to the stage with rapturous applause, knowing that with a solid finish here, we had a strong chance of taking the shield once more. Yet, "strong" was an understatement for Rachel's performance. She took the victory in both the reading and question sections of senior scripture, gaining maximum points and bringing an end to an exciting weekend of competition.

With that being said, I must thank everyone involved in the Bishops' Shield Competition this year. Thank you to the Netball Committee for their assistance in feeding over 120 people for dinner and lunch over the course of the event, as well as providing such delicious morning and afternoon teas.

A large thank you must also be extended to all the coaches and volunteers during the course of the event. So to Mrs Thomas, Mr Terry, Mrs Kelly, Mrs Wilson, Ms Sorrel, Mr Ryan, Mrs Pearce and Mrs Ryan, thank you. Your contributions were incredible, and without all of you, who knows how the event could have gone.

Lastly, I must send out a humongous thank you to Mr. Brendan Terry. Your unwavering dedication to the competition and its smooth running cannot be adequately summarized. So, on behalf of not just the competitors and coaches, but all of the Dunedin diocese and community, thank you.