Emma Hinde, Form III, reports on a very successful Book Week 2018.
On Tuesday twenty Transition Year pupils visited Microsoft Ireland’s newest building, One Microsoft Place, to explore their ‘Dreamspace’ – a wonderful space for young people to learn more about technology. On arrival, the pupils were given a tour of the amazing award winning building, where some of the highlights include the yoga cube, the wellness centre, the amazing “mountain” stairs, the roof garden and the LED waterfall. After the tour they settled into the amazing Dreamspace – a vibrant learning environment – discussing Microsoft’s contribution to technology in their lives before exploring their latest innovations in assisted technology for those with disabilities. The learned about the skills needed to thrive in STEM careers, with a focus on development of soft skills. Then their first challenge – a team building / problem solving task – the Marble Track. With a few assorted household items, each team had to create a track for a marble to travel before settling within a small square of graph paper. There were no rules except that is couldn’t be pushed and had to stop on the graph paper. Each team took a different approach (there was some astounding creativity on show) but all ended successfully completing the task (one team broke the record). But then it was on to the main task – a brief introduction to coding via the Mirco:bit software and hardware. The pupils learned about the basics of coding before programming their own devices, using Microsoft surface tablets, to play a game of rock, paper, scissors. Later they learned how to send messages from one device to another.
The pupils thoroughly enjoyed their experience and, no doubt, stoked their interest in STEM and coding (incidentally this week is European Code Week). We would like to thank Microsoft and their Dreamspace team for a most enjoyable, wonderful learning experience.
Last weekend saw the first round of House Debates on Saturday evening, both Junior & Senior, and the Transition Year House Speech competition on Sunday night – always a lively affair.
Shannon Dent reports on the Senior Debate:
The topic discussed in the first round was Voluntourism and if it should be banned or not. Some of the major key points that were brought up in the debates were the negative after effects of voluntourism and how it can be detrimental to a small disadvantaged community. As well as how voluntourism can have a positive effect on both the voluntourist and the people receiving the help by being able to provide an experience for both sides. This topic is a bit difficult to discuss because it can go either way. It brings up many questions such as: Do people receiving the help from voluntourism get used to it and do not try to improve their well being? What happens to the people after the voluntourists are gone? Are buildings created by voluntourists of good quality? Why would it be wrong to volunteer while on your vacation? Is it really helping? Do people benefit from it? The subject is different for every case but the debaters on the night did a very good job supporting their argument. Debating in the Cadogan, with a very thought provoking debate there was a combination of Beresford and Tibradden proposing against Gwynn. Speakers for Tibradden and Beresford: Caoimhe Cleary, Georg Mueller-Methling and Noah Leach. Speakers for Gwynn: Toby Green, Killian Morrel and Alexander Casado. Debating in the Lower Argyle, a very strong and interesting debate between Iona and Glen took place. Speakers for Iona: Amy Cosgrove, Éile Ní Chianain and Sinead Cleary. Speakers for Glen: James Park, Dmytro Kasianenko and William Zitzmann. Finally debating in the BSR, with a very engaging debate was Hollypark proposing against Stackallan. Speakers for Hollypark: Georgia Wignall, Alexandra Murray and Sofia Leach. The winners were Gwynn, Glen and Stackallan.
To finalize, this first round of debates was a great way to start a new year of debating. Congratulations to the winning houses and to all the speakers involved. Thank you to Mr Brett, Ms Lynch and Ms Morely for being the adjudicators of the evening. Well done to Amy Cograve, Jiwoo Park, San Lawrence and Toby Greene who awarded “best speakers” for the first round. Also a quick reminder that for the next round, electronic devices will not be allowed while debating, handwritten notes are accepted. Once you have your debaters for the next round we ask you to email them to Ms Duggan as soon as possible. Good luck on the next few rounds and do try to get involved!
Thea Walsh, Form III, reports on the Junior Debates:
My debating team consisted of Sophie Webb, Rachel Mungavin, Henry Johnson, Christopher Atkins and myself, Thea Walsh. We were proposing the motion ”This House Believes that Fast Food Should be Banned’. The opposition team was Emma Hinde, Akin Babajide, Miles Bubulia and Wolfgang Romanowski. There were some thoughtful and provocative speeches presented on the night and also some very intelligent points of order, which put each speaker on the spot. A special well done to Christopher Atkins, new to the school in September, who was the only first former debating on the night. As there is growing interest in debating, Miss Dugan and I are floating the idea of a junior house debating competition to mirror the one taking place between the senior houses. At the end of the night, after questions from the floor, the winners were announced. The team proposing the motion won. Rachel Mungavin won the accolade of best speaker. A special thank you Miss Morley for adjudicating and Miss Duggan for making all of this possible.
It was a fantastic night overall and a great start to the year’s public speaking events. However, much like Dublin buses, you wait weeks for one public speaking event and the second one follows soon after. On Sunday, ten inspired Transition Year pupils spoke passionately on a wide range of subjects – from gun control & dyslexia to religion & the Leaving Cert – but it was Raphaela Ihuoma who emerged victorious. Iona were named the House winners. Well done to all on providing interesting, entertaining and thoughtful speeches.
A hearty congratulations to the Leaving Certificate Class of 2018 on their record breaking average points score of 483. This, we are confident in saying despite the lack of national statistics, places St. Columba’s as one of the top performing schools in the country. 7% of our pupils achieved over 600 points, with one candidate attaining 6H1’s and therefore the maximum points score of 625. A phenomenal 48% of our pupils achieved over 500 points, 81% achieved over 400 points and, finally, 97% of our pupils achieved over 300 points. On the grades obtained across all candidates 17% of all exams sat were awarded H1’s, 41% either a H1 or a H2 and 61% either a H1, H2 or H3 – which is extraordinary. A considerable 85% of all exams were sat at Higher Level.
Our pupils worked extremely hard over the past two years, and in particular in the final term, and we are delighted to celebrate their achievements today. We celebrate every pupils’ results – from the pupil obtaining the maximum score to the pupil who struggled throughout but obtained their target, however modest. Of course, although it should seem obvious, the results obtained in these exams are not a true measure of a pupil’s life in school. Pupils are not remembered for their CAO points total but for their contributions to St. Columba’s on the stage, sports-field or in the classroom, for their attitude, work ethic, personality, humour and talents, of which this cohort had many.
We now wish each and every pupil success in their next big adventure, be that university, a gap year or another path entirely. Congratulations once again – we are all extremely proud of you!
Last night in the Big Schoolroom Mr McCarthy wrapped up this year’s Transition Year Programme, speaking to the pupils about their successes and progress throughout the year. He thanked all the TY staff team, and in particular Mr Noel Coldrick, who contributes a huge amount to the Year annually, and who is retiring from the College.
This year’s awards:
Margot Aleixandre: Spanish
Sam Lawrence: Biology
Shannon Dent: Physics
Sakhile Khumalo: Business
Calina Sacolax: Design
Charlotte Klingmann: Music, Chemistry, Economics
Tania Stokes: Art, Music, English, French, Latin
Eliza Somerville: Geography, Maths, Irish, Religion, Classical Studies
Congratulations also to:
Tania Stokes, winner of the Columban Award Scheme Cup.
Shannon Dent, winner of the Spirit of Transition Year Cup.
Last night, a very successful Transition Year Modern Languages Evening was held at Trinity College in Dublin, in which ten pupils gave talks and presentations in French and Spanish. Tania Stokes won The Alyn Stacey Cup for her presentation on Les Bandes Dessinées (you can view Tania’s presentation by clicking the link below). Joan Clivillé came second with his talk on the La Légion Etrangère. In third place, were Charlotte Klingmann & Calina Sacolax; their subject was La Música Latina.
All ten participants are to be commended for their efforts and high quality presentations. Mr Clarke’s set also made a very entertaining video on life at St Columba’s College. Tania was a clear winner because she had prepared her topic in depth, used her own words and was able to speak without excessive reference to her notes.
Special thanks go to Dr Alyn Stacey for allowing us to have use of the Swift Theatre as well as the three judges for giving up their evening to listen to our pupils.
Antonia Bullrich and Isabelle Townshend write short reviews on recent art gallery expeditions – the Grayson Perry exhibition at the RHA and the Emil Nolde exhibition at the National Gallery.
Last Thursday, the senior art pupils visited the RHA for the Grayson Perry exhibition. Grayson Perry is a British contemporary artist. He is known for his tapestries, vases and for cross-dressing. The exhibition is called The Vanity of Small Differences and it consists of six tapestries expressing modern life based on classical paintings. Perry is very interested in the emotional attachment we place on objects. The tapestries were hung up in a very spacious white room and each of the colors stood out individually. Each one told a story about the different social classes, and some harsh truths were depicted. As I walked around I realised each tapestry had small details that are hard to notice but they are exceptionally meaningful. When I gave each one of them a second look I noticed one or two new details I hadn’t noticed the first time around. Overall it was an amazing exhibition and we really enjoyed the day.
Last Thursday, the fifth and sixth form art pupils went to the Emil Nolde exhibition in the National Gallery of Ireland. Nolde was a German expressionist and at the time (1867-1956) which an attempt to creat a new style of painting. Nolde was so daring for his use of colours and topics that he painted. His paintings have a way of speaking to you in a way that I have never experienced before. For example in his self portrait of himself his piercing blue eyes feel like they are staring into your soul. The gallery was split into five sections ranging from paintings based on his homeland to when he went travelling. The most appealing section to me was called ‘conflict’ in which he painted his view on religious events which would have been really outrageous at the time. My favourite painting has to be Nolde’s interpretation of Adam and Eve, the use of colours and form of Adam and Eve is really interesting to look at. I would recommend this exhibition to anyone.
Jeanne Levesque reports on the recent Sculpture in the Garden Exhibition in the Warden’s Garden – an Arts Week event.
In October, the Form V art class went on a trip to The Botanic Gardens, to see the “Sculpture in Context Exhibition”. Our task after this trip was to create our own exhibition in the Warden’s Garden for Arts Week 2018. Each of us had to come up with our own unique idea and create a sculpture. We had to plan our sculptures carefully, and we had to think about what materials we could use to ensure our sculptures would survive outside in rain, wind (and snow!) so in other words, Irish weather! We all had to think carefully when choosing where to place our sculptures as we had to make sure they would be visible to the people walking past the exhibition. Our trip to The Botanic Garden gave us lots of inspiration for our sculptures. For this project, each of us had to make two development A2 sheets to show how we designed our sculptures from start to finish and what challenges we faced during the project. The human form was an inspiration for many of the works. Identity was another common theme. For my project I constructed three giant rabbit heads in geometric form to hang on the garden wall. We spent almost a term on this project. It was really fun and we learned new skills and techniques that will help our future artwork.
Last week was ‘Seachtain na Gaeilge’ – where pupils and staff celebrated of the Irish language and culture. Below is a short report, as Gaeilge ages as Béarla from our Head of Irish Alison Maybury.
SEACHTAIN NA GAEILGE
Cheiliúramar “Seachtain na Gaeilge” sa tseachtain roimh Lá Fhéile Pádraig. Seans a bhí ann do na daltaí a labhraíonn Gaeilge spórt agus spraoi a bheith acu trí mheán na teanga agus bhí deis ag daltaí eile taithí a bheith acu ar chultúr na hÉireann.
Eagraíodh imeachtaí éagsúla sna ranganna Gaeilge. Bhain daltaí an-taitneamh as a bheith ag cleachtadh damhsaí nua-aimseartha (mar is léir ón bhfíseán gearr de dhaltaí ón Idirbhliain ag foghlaim na ngluaiseachtaí don “Dreoilín”!) agus roinnt de na seandamhsaí freisin. Chan siad amhráin, arís idir shean- agus nua-aimseartha, agus chuaigh siad san iomaíocht a chéile le tráth na gceist. Bhailigh daltaí le chéile sa tob-Ghaeltacht ag am lóin i rith na seachtaine chomh maith le haghaidh comhrá agus spraoi. Chuir daltaí ón Idirbhliain isteach ar thráth na gceist Gaeilge agus tá siad ag súil le ticéid a bhuachan don fhéile ceoil “Groove” i dTeach Chill Ruaidhrí.
Bhí fuaim iontach treibheach le cloisteáil ar an Máirt nuair a d’fhoghlaim daltaí ón réamhrang, Bliain I, II agus V conas an bodhrán (uirlis thraidisiúnta) a sheinm le Robbie Walsh ó The Bodhrán Buzz. Ghlac Nyla Jamieson, Henry Carroll, Éile Ní Chianáin agus Poppy Somerville páirt i gCraobh Náisiúnta Tráth na gCeist Boird i mBaile Átha Cliath an lá céanna. Níor bhuaigh siad ach rinne siad éacht dul chomh fada sin sa chomórtas!
Sa séipéal ar an gCéadaoin, sheinn André Stokes fonn traidisiúnta ar an bhfidil agus chan Emily McCarthy “Siúil, a Rún”. Léigh Kate Higgins agus Cian Slyne na dánta “Sneachta” agus “Mise Raifteirí” agus chan Aurora Higgins-Jennings aistriúchán den amhrán “Your Song” le Elton John, á tionlacan féin ar an bpianó. Chan daltaí ón réamhrang agus Bliain I “Amhrán na gCupán”, le Jamie Green agus Tadhg Rane Ó Cianáin ag canadh na véarsaí. Rinne siad go léir éacht!
Bhí seans ag na daltaí sóisearacha a gcuid eolais (nó easpa eolais!) faoi Éirinn agus cultúr na hÉireann a thaispeáint i dtráth na gceist i Seomra Mór na Scoile oíche Dé Chéadaoin. Bhí an bua ag Harry Petch, Boris Shvalov, Poppy Gleeson agus Elena Diaz-Leanta Sanchez.
Bhaineamar go léir taitneamh as imeachtaí na seachtaine agus táimid ag tnúth le Seachtain na Gaeilge 2019 cheana féin!
SEACHTAIN NA GAEILGE/IRISH WEEK
We celebrated “Seachtain na Gaeilge” in the week before St Patrick’s Day. It was a chance for the pupils who speak Irish to have fun through the medium of the language and an opportunity for other pupils to experience Irish culture.
Various activities were organised in Irish classes. Pupils really enjoyed learning modern dances (obvious from the short video of pupils from Transition Year learning the moves to “The Wren”!) and some of the old dances too. They sang songs, again both old and modern and they competed against each other in quizzes. Pupils got together in the pop-up Gaeltacht (Irish speaking area) at lunch time during the week for conversation and fun. Pupils from Transition Year entered an Irish quiz and they hope to win tickets to the music festival “Groove” in Kilruddery House.
A wonderfully tribal sound was to be heard on the Tuesday when pupils from Forms Primary, I, II and V learned how to play the bodhrán (a traditional instrument) with Robbie Walsh from The Bodhrán Buzz. Nyla Jamieson, Henry Carroll, Éile Ní Chianáin and Poppy Somerville took part in the National Table Quiz Final in Dublin the same day. They didn’t win but they did great to go so far in the competition!
In Chapel on Wednesday, André Stokes played a traditional air on the fiddle and Emily McCarthy sang “Siúil, a Rún”. Kate Higgins and Cian Slyne read the poems “Sneachta” and “Mise Raifteirí”. Aurora Higgins-Jennings sang a translation of “Your Song” by Elton John, , accompanying herself on the piano. Pupils from Forms Primary and I sang “The Cup Song” with Jamie Green and Tadhg Rane Ó Cianáin singing the verses. They all did really well.
There was a chance for junior pupils to show their knowledge (or lack of knowledge!) about Ireland and Irish culture in a quiz in the BSR on the Wednesday evening. Harry Petch, Boris Shvalov, Poppy Gleeson and Elena Diaz-Leanta Sanchez won.
We all enjoyed the week’s events and we are looking forwards to Seachtain na Gaeilge 2019 already!
Harry Oke, Form V, reports on the latest debating team competition – The PhilSpeaks at TCD.
The PhilSpeaks debating competition is a yearly debating competition organised by the Philosophical Society (The Phil) in Trinity College Dublin. This is the second year St. Columba’s has taken part in this competition, as debating becomes an increasingly strong part of our community. There were four teams of two in total that went for this event. And regardless of the fact that most people had not taken part in this form of debating, we were all willing to give it a shot. The teams were Toby Green and Georgia Keegan-Wignall, Caoimhe Cleary and Shannon Dent, Jakob Hasburg and James O’Connor and finally Jack Stokes and me, Harry Oke..
We were required to prepare a debate in fifteen minutes after we were told the motion without the aid of any sources except our minds. There were four sides, Opening Government, Opening Opposition, Closing Government and Closing Opposition. Jack and I found it relatively easier than the others as this is our second year but were still faced with the challenge of creating points that could win us the debate. Nevertheless, we all rose to the challenge and were able to work together and give well structured speeches.
Some of the topics were, “This house would ban homeschooling”, “This house would ban UFC” and “This house would force priests to report any violent or serious crimes they are told in Confession”. These were very different topics but I felt that we all complemented each other in our respective teams. Each person brought a different perspective to each argument, and produced an interesting and lively debate. Each side has to be original as you get no points for stating what a previous side has stated.
Unfortunately, none of our teams made it to the final, which was discouraging, but it was a fantastic weekend where we met a lot of wonderful people, created new experiences, fostered our deep passion for debating and overalls had an amazing time. I especially want to thank Ms. Duggan for all her hard work and this could have not been possible without her unwavering support.
A number of our Transition Year pupils recently took part in a Trinity College Geoscience Week. Shannon Dent reports on a challenging but exciting week’s events.
Geoscience week was organised to engage students into geology and the importance of this science in our daily lives. I went to this event with two other students in Transition Year in St. Columba’s, Calina Sacolax and Sam Lawrence. Apart from us there were 12 other students from different schools that also showed an interest to science and geology. The activities ranged from lectures to museum visiting to a day on the beach analyzing rocks and entering a small cave. We had 3 lectures and the one I enjoyed the most was one focused on seismographs and looking at earthquakes. The museums were also great fun. I have always wanted to visit the Book of Kells and the Old Library, and I was able to do it! It was a beautiful library and the book itself was crafted so intricately that I can understand the reason for its popularity. We also visited that Natural History museum which is packed with exhibits. Among the museum category we visited an art and science exhibition. These were a lot of fun and there was one specific piece that caught my eye, which was a DIY science kit including its own microscope that was made entirely of materials you can buy at local stores. During the beach day my friend Sam and I were picking at a rock and a shard-like piece fell out. We looked at it and decided to build a sort of spear with it, which sounds dangerous but was actually just for gags. Later on Shane told us about the micas (which are the shin bits in rocks, more specifically in granite) you can find in that specific rock and the layers of age in the rocks. Overall Geoscience was a really enjoyable activity and I definitely do recommend it for all Transition Year students who are interested in looking at the world through a scientific and curious point of view.
After the College’s huge success in last year’s pan-european CanSat competition (St. Columba’s were crowned Irish champions and went onto place 2nd in Europe), a new crew of Transition Year pupils want to follow up on the success on ‘Canny Potter’ with their own satellite ‘Can Solo’. Form IV pupil Calina Sacolax reports from a recent CanSat workshop at Dublin Institute of Technology.
Last Thursday (December 7th 2017) the new Cansat team were invited to a workshop in Dublin Institute of Technology, Kevin St. Our successful Canny Potter also attended to speak and give advice to the future cansat teams. On arrival we were given a talk about teamwork and presentation skills and shown tips on how to improve our public speaking and how to make an interesting presentation. Soon after the talk last year’s winners ‘Canny Potter’ from St. Columba’s gave an interesting and informative presentation on their experiences in the European Competition back in June.
The team couldn’t stress enough the importance of teamwork and making plans. They told everyone to get the primary mission working and then to start adding the additional sensors that corresponded with the aims of the project. After their presentation they took questions. Canny Potter was a hit with all the schools and were practically treated like celebrities. Many people want to take a picture with the European runner-ups and asked for tips and ideas from their projects. They were glad to help, shared their experiences openly and meet everybody. Team ‘Can Solo’ know that the pressure is on them particularly after last years’ very successful project.
The team then participated in a soldering workshop. Nobody in ‘Can Solo’ really knew how to solder properly but with the help of the mentors our team learned pretty quickly. Practice makes perfect so we will continue to practise until we become masters at the art of soldering.
We are happy to have made such an educative and helpful trip and look forward to building our satellite in a can next term for the regional competition in March.
The launch of the College’s Development Office and 175th Anniversary Celebrations took place on Thursday evening in Whitehall, with details of the activities and projects which will commemorate the 175 years of excellence in education. The newly formed Development Office, headed up by Sonia Young, will focus on garnering philanthropic support for the College’s future growth. It will manage a series of funds including the Old Columban Society Bursary Fund (which provides financial assistance to sons and daughters of former pupils to attend the College), the College Bursary Fund (proving financial bursaries to pupils with no previous connection to the College), the Annual Fund (which will direct money to various capital projects within the College) and, finally, the 175th Anniversary Fund (which will support the College’s ambitious plans for 2018 – the new Social Hub, pictured below). For more information on the Development Office please visit the new dedicated webpage here.
In addition to the launch of the Development Office the College’s 175th Anniversary Microsite went live last night. The new site details the all the various events taking place during the year, more detailed plans and images of the Social Hub, 175th anniversary news, articles on the evolution of the College since its 150th anniversary and a detailed history of the College in the earlier years. The 175th Anniversary celebrations will centre around the June Bank Holiday weekend in 2018, traditionally the St. Columba’s Day celebrations, and will include a gala ball, invitational cricket & hockey fixtures, a family barbecue, a golf outing and much much more. Visit the microsite here (175.stcolumbas.ie).
Abigail O Brien, Transition Year, reports on the upcoming Art Exhibition of the work produced for the Junior Certificate 2017
Last year 23 pupils in 3rd Form completed the Junior Certificate Art Project. Each of us had to put together a number of finished art pieces. The themes we worked on ranged from sharks to space travel. However, a major part of the project also required that we show our preparatory sketches and brainstorming, alongside explanations of our individual thought processes.
The course is pretty straightforward – we had to make a 3D construction or sculpture, a painting or graphic design, and an optional third craft piece (calligraphy, puppetry, batique, a lino cut, and a host of other things). The challenge came in trying to complete all of this work in the time frame and to a standard which was strong enough.
A big part of the project was to show how our ideas developed over time. The big difference between this project and sitting a one hour portrait exam is that your ideas have a lot more time to evolve and grow. Despite drawing inspiration from a common theme throughout the three pieces, many of us were surprised at how varied the results were. In addition to the project we had to do a drawing exam. We had a model sit for us while we drew them and we also had to choose an object from a set list to draw. We were given an hour for both.
All of us worked well over the year and were all happy with our results. I think it was a very good experience and an opportunity to express our ideas.
This coming Sunday December 10th, there will be an opportunity to view our work as it will be displayed in the BSR for all to see after the evening Carol Service. We hope that you can make it!
Here are a small selection of pieces on display.
This week at St. Columba’s there are a range of events to mark national ‘Science Week‘. Every day this week our beloved ‘Daily Notice’ will feature a science fact to engage the brain and encourage our pupils and staff to #StopAndAsk (which everyone is encouraged to do on social media). Our library has an excellent display on the best science books, both fiction and non-fiction, within the 15,000 volumes on the shelves. The pupils can take part in a Science Photo Competition or Science Joke Competition (a live mic for the best jokes is scheduled for Friday). Every year group will have a Science Kahoot Challenge at lunch time and Transition Year will have a science themed movie night. There are also a series of art in science projects in all labs and some lunchtime demos, including live dissections in the biology lab.
Please follow the events on the College’s social media platforms – Twitter & Facebook – and #StopAndAsk. (The video below was created especially for Science Week 2017 to kick start the #StopAndAsk initiative).
Form V pupil Harry Oke writes this update on Senior Debating in the College
It is great to know debating and public speaking has become something greatly valued in St Columba’s. So far this term we have been involved in our own in-house Debating Competition, the Oxford Schools Debating Competition, the European Youth Parliament and the Concern Debates. The first round of the Senior House Debating Competition began September 30th with the motion, “This house would ban users of performance enhancing drugs for life”. The line-up was Glen against Hollypark, Tibradden & Beresford against Stackallan and Iona versus Gwynn. Glen, Stackallan and Iona were victorious but who knows what the future will holds for all houses in round two of the debates in the second half of the Michaelmas term.
The 2017-18 Concern Debates have also begun and St Columba’s put forward a team led by Jack Stokes. Unfortunately, we were not able to carry the motion “To end hunger, the world must embrace GMOs” against a formidable team from Tallaght Community School. The most important thing from all these debates irrespective of winning or losing is what you learn and gain from the experience. Debating informs us about things that are happening in our world. It affirms or challenges our original beliefs and encourages us to question everything. Debating makes us use what makes us different from all other animals, our minds. I deeply encourage anyone to give debating and public speaking a try because it is worth it. It makes us act instead of being observers and it makes us assertive. It makes us independent and there is nothing better than being your own person!
Public speaking and debating are important part of the College’s extracurricular programme. Below, Form III pupil Phoebe Grennell gives an account of the progress of our Junior Debating Team over the past month.
Last month the Junior Debating Team attended a debating workshop in Belvedere College. The pupils who took part were Emma Hinde, Raphaella Ihuma, Charlotte Moffitt, Maybelle Rainey, Ailbhe Matthews, Éile Ní Chíchnáin and myself, Phoebe Grennell.
When we arrived at Belvedere College, we were warmly welcomed and were taken to a large lecture hall where we met up with some debating teams from other schools. Many of us, myself included, had never debated before. The aim of the workshop was to introduce us to debating and to give us some introductory skills and tips.
A kind lady introduced herself and confidently started speaking to us about debating. She gave us some good tips and advice on how to write speeches and to deliver them. We learned that the objective of a debate is to prove how the principles and practicalities of your side of the motion is true. We were given some tips.
- Keep speeches to a minimum, no more than four minutes long.
- Never read your speech, engage with your audience with eye contact.
- The speech should present a cohesive case containing three main points of information (POIs).
- Each POI needs the same amount of time.
- Analyse and research each POI before the debate. This will involve asking why the points are relevant and then answering this question. This will help address counter arguments.
- Use persuasive language.
- Give lots of examples but no personal antidotes.
- Use structure when flagging points (a) say what you are going to say (2) say it (3) say what you’ve said.
- Use structure when flagging points – say what you are going to say, say it and then say what you’ve said.
- Remain objective and calm
This workshop was interesting and we learned a lot. For anyone getting involved for the first time, debating helps improve confidence in public speaking as well as being a good way to keep us up to date with current events and form opinions about them. Our first debate followed two weeks later in UCD where we were able to show what we learnt from the workshop and were able to use these tips in our debates. The topic for our next debate is ‘Why there should be a sugar tax’. It has been a good experience so far and I look forward to using these skills in the future.