Something to talk about

07 Mar 2017

The premier College debating team won the prestigious Russell McVeagh Canterbury Schools’ Debating Championship in an intensive two-day tournament, held at the University of Canterbury on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 March.

As defending champions, the team – comprising Wills Wynn Thomas, Henry Seaton and Fawzan Sugarwala – were feeling the pressure, but remained undefeated throughout to take first prize and bring the Press Cup back to College. In addition, Wills Wynn Thomas was awarded the CSU Trophy for Best Speaker, and Wills, Henry and Fawzan were all selected for the Canterbury representative debating squad, which travels to Wellington in May for the Russell McVeagh New Zealand Schools’ Debating Championship.

Year 12 student Wills Wynn Thomas says preparation is key to a successful debate, as is the ability to think analytically, construct an argument that considers all perspectives, and predict what the opposition might say. “Content and style, clarity of tone and intonation, are all important. It also helps if you can deliver your ideas in a persuasive manner and show why you are right and the opposition is wrong.”

Teacher in charge of debating, Chloe Harland, says debating is going from strength to strength at College, with excellent coaching and a group of enthusiastic boys setting a very high standard. The premier team was selected on the basis of their individual strengths, but with a view to how well they would work together and complement each other. “Watching them in the tournament was just poetry,” says Ms Harland. “They were quick witted, articulate and intelligent – and after six debates back to back they really wanted the win.”

College had two teams competing in the Canterbury regional debating tournament:

Team 1 – Wills Wynn Thomas, Henry Seaton, Fawzan Sugarwala

Team 2 – Nick Stevens, Thomas Walker, Josh Stevenson, Junie Wee