Year 7 Debaters Make National Finals

Middle School Wednesday, 08 Dec 2021

Being part of the debate team has been a big thing at BCC this year with record numbers participating across Junior, Middle and Senior School.

Since term 2, Bundaberg Christian College has participated in The Association of Independent Schools of NSW National Debating Competition; challenging themselves against schools near and far including some of the top private schools in Australia. 

Gifted and Talented Education (GATEway) coordinator Mrs Amanda Kelk explained that virtual debating is something the college has done for a number of years, but this year has seen increased participation and exceptional results. “Previously our Middle School team made it through to the knock-out round, but this year our Year 7’s (competing in the Junior division which is Year 7 and 8) took it further and competed against Newcastle Grammar in the National Semi Finals.”

For each round students were given a topic 1 week prior to the live debate and they would speak for 5 mins each. They argued a range of topics such as cyberbullying to technologies effect on our sense of community and how organ donation should be compulsory.

Year 7 student Emma MacPherson says joining the debate team has increased her skills across a range of academic pursuits. “It’s helped and extended me with my English assessments and just to be able to experience a different style of writing and incorporate that into my day to day English lessons.” 

Fellow Year 7 student Caleb Hill has had similar motivations and seeing that pay off. “I thought it could help my vocabulary and extend it and use different words in English and learn different styles of writing like the different styles of arguments.”

With such a large team in the Junior division, it may seem that only certain few were given the opportunity to actually be the ones debating. However, each one of the debate team were integral to the success. “We had to rotate the speakers for each individual debate so that everyone had a chance to actually experience that” explains Mrs Kelk. “But if they weren’t debating, each one of the team was assisting with the research and the practice to ensure that they were well prepared for each of the debate topics.”

After making it to the Knockout stage, the Year 7 team made it all the way to the semi final before being defeated by Newcastle Grammar School who eventually defeated Canberra Girls Grammar to claim this year’s title.

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