The 2005 Russell McVeagh Waikato Regional Schools’ Debating Championships were held at Hamilton Girls High School on the 22nd of May. There were sixteen teams competing on the day: Hamilton Girls High, Hamilton Boys High, Waikato Diocesan, Te Awamutu College, Aquinas College, Bethlehem College, Otumoetai College, St. Pauls Collegiate, Fraser High School, Rotorua Girls High, St. Johns College, John Paul College, Tauranga Boys College, Hillcrest High, Katikati College, and the Mighty Mighty Swing Team.
Teams debated whether to make voting in New Zealand general elections compulsory, whether organ donations should be denied to those who have led unhealthy lifestyles, whether George Bush has been effective at fighting terror, and whether to raise the drinking age.
The standard of debating was very high and the debates were often amusing. In one debate, a student announced to his opposition: “If you don’t like democracy, there are three weekly flights to China operating.”
The topic for the final was “That we should support nuclear energy”. Affirming were Hillcrest High School (Lena Skandera, Beth Murphy, and Phillipa Norman) and negating were Hamilton Girls High School (Sarah Keast, Georgia Cox-Wright and Liana McPherson). It was everything that a good final should be, entertaining, persuasive and with great clash between the teams. But alas there can be only one winner, and it was Hamilton Girls High School that emerged victorious after a unanimous decision from the panel of judges.
There were a number of Highly Commended Speakers: Mailing Young (Fraser High School), Richard Higgins (Otumoetai College), Atsushi Ikebe (Hamilton Boys High). Zaal Meher-Homji (St. Pauls Collegiate) picked up the Most Promising Speaker Award, and Aquinas College took home an award for being the Most Improved Team at the competition.
The 2005 Russell McVeagh Waikato Regional Team is: Lena Skandera (Hillcrest High School), Akif Malik (Hamilton Boys High) and Sarah Keast (Hamilton Girls High), with Anna Smith (Waikato Diocesan) named as 1st Reserve.
A huge thank you to the wonderful people who helped me organize the event or adjudicated on the day: Michelle Coursey, Jo Maplesden, Claire Ryan, Emma Hannay, Zach Ward, Jordan Ward, Sarah Barnett, Amy Vinkenvleugel, Paul Paterson, and Dileepa Fonseka.