Debating the Big Issues
Over 400 teams and 2,000 students compete in the Perth Schools Debating Competition each year. It is the largest debating competition in Western Australia and has been running for over 45 years.
This year, among the thousands of competing students, were 25 girls from Santa Maria College. They made up five teams in the Year 9/10 Junior Division. The benefits of debating for these girls have been enormous. Year 9 student, Annika Zammit said, “Debating allowed us to speak our mind on relevant, interesting issues and topics in a way that helped us work together, think on the spot, and persuade others.
It is lovely to be able to congratulate one of our teams on winning the pennant in the Year 9/10 Junior Division. The members of the team were: Claire Durston, Kallysta Lim, Ella Sharman, Annika Zammit and Abigail Marra.
A second Year 9 team also made it to the division finals. That team included: Rainy Guimbeau, Myah Waldock, Zara Goundrey, Madison Pino, and Jaymie Clarke.
Looking back on the season, Ella Sharman says, “I think our team did an amazing job, especially considering it was our first year. The competition that we faced each week was quite tough which is a good sign for debating culture in the future and the topics really made us think. My favourite topic was one given in an impromptu debate, it was about the banning of chequebook journalism. Our team was on the affirmative side. We liked the topic because we were able to use our general knowledge about the media and the influence of wealth on the media. We won that debate by a strong margin.
“This experience has given us so much more knowledge about our world and its issues. It has also given us the opportunity to improve our presentation and thinking skills which will be really helpful in the future.”