The 2007 Russell McVeagh Wellington Regional Schools Debating Championships were held on 12 and 13 May at Samuel Marsden Collegiate School. 14 schools debated in four preliminary rounds of debates, before four went through to the semi-finals. In a change from previous years, the tournament consisted only of limited preparation debates. On the Saturday the teams debated whether euthanasia should be legalised; whether the United States should withdraw from Iraq, and whether tertiary education should be free. On the Sunday the final preliminary round topic required the teams to consider whether sporting sanctions were a legitimate tool of political protest.
Four teams progressed to the semi-finals: Marsden B, Wellington College B, Sacred Heart College, and Scots College, the defending champions. In two closely-fought semi-finals, debating whether political parties should receive state funding, Wellington College B defeated Marsden B and Scots took the win over Sacred Heart College.
The final topic was on a bioethics issue, reflecting the Bioethics Council’s support as regional partner for the New Zealand Schools’ Debating Council in 2007. Scots and Wellington College B debated the challenging and interesting issue of whether deaf parents should be allowed to genetically screen their embryos so that their children were deaf. In a 3-0 decision, Scots College, the negative team, won the debate and the Wellington Speaking Union Cup, retaining their title won in 2006.
A number of prizes awarded to individual speakers. Lauren Brazier from Paraparaumu College received the award for the Most Improved speaker. The Most Promising speaker award was shared by Charlotte Pope from Wellington Girls’ College and Dipti Manchanda from Samuel Marsden. Highly Commended awards were given to Tom Matthews (Scots), Kirsty Clarke (Hutt Valley High School) and Rafe Hampson (Wellington College). The reserves for the 2007 Wellington regional debating squad are Jehan Casinader (Hutt International Boys’ School) and Charlotte Pope.
The following speakers were named as members of the 2007 Russell McVeagh Wellington Regional Schools’ Debating teams:
· Paul Smith (Scots College)
· Udayan Mukherjee (Scots College)
· Jaz Morris (Wellington College)
· Holly Jenkins (Sacred Heart College)
· Ella Edginton (Sacred Heart College)
· Maria English (Samuel Marsden Collegiate School)
The Best Speaker of the tournament was Maria English, an incredible achievement given she is only in Year 11.
Thanks to Marsden for hosting (for the third year in a row), and to the adjudicators who gave up their time over the weekend: Christopher Bishop, Gareth Richards, Polly Higbee, Clodagh O’Connor-McKenna, Rosemary and Kevin Moar, Yogesh Patel, Kate Wevers, and Tom Fitzsimons. Thanks also to the Bioethics Council for their generous support of regionals this year.
Check out the photos here.