Hamilton Boys’ High retain regional title
The 2012 Russell McVeagh Waikato Regional Debating Championships were held at the University of Waikato on Sunday 27 May. Schools came to participate from as far away as Bethlehem and Otumoetai College, with 15 schools and 16 teams in the competition.
This year three preliminary rounds were followed by a knockout semi-finals round, followed by a final. Teams debated a range of topics, including performance-based pay for teachers, banning smoking, and the chemical castration of sex offenders.
At the end of three preliminary rounds, Hamilton Boys’ High School and Hillcrest High School advanced to the semi-final on three wins. John Paul College and St Peters advanced on two wins. St John’s, Aquinas, St Pauls, and Otumoetai College were also on two wins, but had fewer speaker points than John Paul College and St Peters.
The semi-final matchup saw Hillcrest against John Paul College, and Hamilton Boys’ against St Peters. The motion was “This house would farm endangered species”. John Paul College and Hamilton Boys’ emerged as the winners, and went on to face each other in the final with the motion “This house believes that beauty pageants do more harm than good”.
The final saw a great deal of wit, detailed analysis, and passionate delivery. Ultimately, in a unanimous decision, the five-person panel awarded the debate to the defending champions, Hamilton Boys’ High School, who won the Alexandra Gillespie Cup.
Awards were given to a number of speakers that had distinguished themselves throughout the day.
Highly commended awards were presented to Scott Cameron (Hamilton Boys’), Ben Hamilton (Hillcrest), and Emily Anselmi (St Peters).
This year’s Waikato team was also announced, consisting of Thomas Simpson (Hamilton Boys’), Christopher Jury (Hamilton Boys’), and Kayla Grant (Hillcrest). This is the same team that won the 2011 NZSDC National Championship, and will be returning to defend the title.
Rebecca McMenanin (John Paul College) and Claire Threadgill (John Paul College) were named as reserves to the team. For a second consecutive year, the best speaker award was presented to Thomas Simpson (Hamilton Boys’), who won the Ward Cup.
An enormous thank-you must be given to Susan Law, Alonzo Mason, and Sam Fellows of the University of Waikato. Yet again they provided us with lecture theatres for debating rounds, and a scrumptious spread for lunch.
Also thank you to the adjudicators who drove from Auckland for the competition – Hamish Saunders, Holly Jenkins, Adeel Malik, Aditya Vasudevan, Lucy Harrison, Brierley Penn, Callum Rose, Miriam Bookman, and Caitlin Hollings.
NZSDC Waikato Convener