Public school debaters are the talk of the town

The combined high school team has secured a prestigious inter-sector debating title, writes Dani Cooper

Image: Public school winning debaters from the NSW Combined High Schools’ team with the NSW Representative Debating Cup

Public school debaters have shown they can walk the talk after winning the prestigious NSW Representative Debating Challenge

It is the first time since 2016 that the NSW Combined High Schools’ (NSWCHS) team has won the competition which features teams from the public, Catholic and Independent sectors.

The Arts Unit’s Speaking Competitions Officer, Justine Clarke, said last month’s win was a fabulous effort with all three teams critical to securing the win.

Sixteen comprehensive and selective school Year 11 and 12 students from Sydney, Newcastle and the Illawarra made up the three teams.

Ms Clarke said the students had trained each week online throughout Term 3 and only trained together in person on the weekend before the competition began.

“It is a huge time commitment from the students and coaches, and it was great to see schools like Rooty Hill – which had a fantastic year in the interschool competition – represented in the final squad,” she said.

The competition was held over three days at various locations. Firsts, Seconds and Thirds debates were held simultaneously at a host school with all teams attending the final debating round at Newington College in Sydney, so everyone could be present for the announcement of the winning team.

Ms Clarke said the championship was decided on a point system with a Firsts win worth more points than a Thirds win.

The final results saw the NSWCHS Firsts win two debates, the Seconds one and the Thirds did a clean sweep winning all three of their debates.

“It was incredibly tight, and we managed to win the championship by two points – so each of our Seconds and Thirds wins were critical,” she said.

Ms Clarke paid tribute to the team coaches, who were previous public school debaters and now university students.

“It is wonderful to see our debating alumni still involved in public school debating, mentoring the next generation,” Ms Clarke said.

The Combined High School squad was: Dylan Adams (Caringbah HS),

Abrar Chowdhury, Archie Wolifson and Timothy Hanna (Sydney Boys HS),

Emily Condell and Ava Roberts (Smiths Hill HS), Darshanik Aryal, Iqra Razzak and Alisha Gugnani (James Ruse Agricultural HS), Neva Mikulic and Anna Kremer (Sydney Girls HS), Andrew Doan (Rooty Hill HS), Joel Gaynor (North Sydney Boys HS), Aryana Arora (North Sydney Girls HS), Amy De Malmanche (Merewether HS) and Alexia Rigoni (Cammeraygal HS).

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