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Dmytro Kasianenko, Form V, reports on his experience at the Model United Nations event in Wesley College last week.

As our team was registering for the Model United Nations, I, honestly speaking, didn’t expect much from it – just another debating competition. But, as it turned out, Model United Nations was one of the best experiences in my humble debating career. It happened at Wesley College on Friday and Saturday the 8thand 9th, about two weeks ago.

In regards to the structure of the debates, it was quite simple. First of all, each debating team was given a country to represent. In our case it was Canada. Secondly, each team member was assigned to a certain committee and was to represent the views of Canada on given topics. For example, I was in the political committee and one of the themes discussed was “Chinese neo-Colonialism in Angola”. Since all delegates in one committee had researched the topics beforehand, the argument for and against the motion was absorbing. Thirdly, each person in the committee had to use certain language structures, as for representing the country as a whole. For instance, we used the pronoun “we” instead of the pronoun “I”, or “delegate” instead of the pronoun “you”.

After committee work was finished, each team participated in the General assembly. In it, we had to debate all the clauses for the unseen resolution, which were written by all teams beforehand. At this stage of the MUN, we had to work as a team on the same problem. Interestingly, at the General Assembly, there was an ability to collaborate with other teams via passing notes from table to table. The note passing was done secretaries, who were walking around the room hastily.

Another thing worth mentioning was the organisation. All the organisation was led by Form VI pupils in Wesley College. They had put in place a lot of work to make that competition possible. It is somewhat like a tradition whereas many pupils as possible from Wesley participate in making the competition happen. They have set up a website, sent out the invitations to schools, decided upon the themes of the debate and even printed out the MUN newspaper. It was very enjoyable to participate and we felt welcomed since the age difference between all the people who participated in it wasn’t that big.

In general, it may initially seem like the UN style of debating is very rigid and disorganized. Although, it is the only known way to keep a respectful debate with many other countries. Nevertheless, even though this competition wasn’t particularly successful for us, in the next one we will know what to do better.

Finally, the big idea behind the competition is just to: have fun, make friends and debate along the way.

Form V pupil Megan Bulbulia reports on her recent experience of the ‘Phil Speaks’ debating competition.

When I put my name forward to go to the ‘Phil Speaks’ debating competition in Trinity, I was very nervous about what was to come. What would the motions be? Would I even understand the motions? Would I get lost in the maze that is Trinity College Dublin? And perhaps most importantly, would there really be free pizza there!?

Thankfully I only got lost once and there was pizza ordered in bulk both days! As for the motions, more random than Harry Oke-Osanyintolu had warned us. Our first motion was  “This House Believes that the media has a responsibility to show the full horrors of war.” Katherine Kelly and I had 15 minutes to prepare our five-minute speeches. To say that this was stressful would be an understatement, the 15 minutes flew by and before we knew it we were strongly opposing the motion. It was an interesting and engaging the debate in which we placed 3rd. Not bad we thought, against a strong proposition.

The next motion was “This House regrets the American Dream.” This proved difficult to propose, as the debate became centralised on the concept of whether hard work equals reward, a central idea in our society and of course the educational system.
We emerged from this debate in 4th place but with increasing knowledge of debating strategies and approaches which would prove useful.

After a filling lunch of Apache pizza, we were given our third and final motion of the day. “This House Would delete all social media.” Katherine and I were proposing this motion, we used our gained knowledge of how to coherently structure a debate, forming it almost like a mathematical equation, proving points x and y, to our advantage. This round was a closed round, which means we don’t know where we placed, but our tactics were proving effective and became procedure in our two next debates.

The next morning we registered again, with a slight change to the teams. Katherine and I stayed together while Shannon Dent paired with Dmytro Kasianenko in place of Oda Michel who unfortunately wasn’t feeling well. The motion was announced and Katherine and I had 15 minutes to scurry off to the School of Histories and Humanities Arts Building, (this was when we got lost.) We were proposing the motion that “This House Regrets art that glorifies gaining material wealth”. With Dmytro and Shannon on our tea,m we gave the opposition a united Columba’s front! It was an interesting debate, focused around the excessive wealth of popular musicians and online influencers, each team managed to work an Ariana Grande reference into their speech as part of the ‘Goofball Challenge.’

Our fifth and final debate was “This House Believes that occupying vacant buildings in protest of widespread homelessness is a legitimate political act.” For our last debat,e Katherine and I used all of our gained knowledge from the four previous debates into a strategical and tactical argument. We both spoke for the full five minutes and we felt like we had strongly and convincingly proposed our last motion. Unfortunately, we didn’t earn a place in the Quarter Finals but what we definitely earned was a sense of achievement and a wider knowledge of how to structure and deliver a clear-cut speech within a debate. We also met secondary school pupils from all over the country, and we had an opportunity to explore Trinity also! I would definitely recommend The Phil Speaks Debating Competition to anyone and it was a very enjoyable experience.

Shannon Dent reports on the final round of the senior debate, which took place last week.

The idea of completely getting rid of religion over time seems like an impossible task with a lot of issues at hand. It is a very difficult motion to lean to one particular side. There are pros and cons to each, and listening to this debate was a very intriguing experience and well done to all of those to took part in it.

The debate was between our two finalists, Glen and Hollypark. Glen supported the motion while Hollypark debated against it. William Zitzmann was the very first speaker. He talked about the general issues that have been caused by religion. He didn’t just mention events of the past but also mentioned acts of violence because of religion today! He even played with the thought that Jesus was actually anti religion. William gave a introduction to what Glen believed the motion meant. Their main idea concentrated on how religion and faith are two very different things. The first speaker from Hollypark was next and that was Georgia Keegan Wignall. Georgia gave a very articulate speech about how religion was part of human rights, and how we should be able to decide to follow religion or not. She talked about how religion actually brings people together and helps people deal with the very scary concept of death. Georgia, just like William, gave us the main idea for Hollyparks argument.

Ji Woo Park was next as the second speaker for Glen. He gave eloquent and understandable argument that definitely drew everyone in. He further explained the main argument for Glen; religion and faith are two different things and he gave us some differences between the two. Ji Woo even quoted the Bible and showed us how there are many examples of immoral ideas, such as misogyny. He said that people can be faithful and not have to follow all the rules of religion. He also went on to talk about the vast differences of the world back then and the world now. The second speaker for Hollypark was Catherine Butt. She opened up her speech by asking the audience to imagine what life would be like without religion. She even acknowledged the problems religion has caused but how they didn’t necessarily have to be linked back to religion as these people are extremists. Another very valid point that Catherine brought us was the one of charities and how most of them have been built up by religion. She said “Religion teaches the art of giving and this is not just christianity”.

In Glen’s closing argument, given by Harry Oke, they wrapped up and reiterated some of Glen’s strongest points. He brought the debate back to him and showed us a personal view on it all. He talked about faith and religion once again and he even related back to Catherine’s point of charities and he said that charities would continue as they are built by faith, not just religion and the church. He finished off by saying “A person can be good without religion them to be”. Then Alexandra Murray Donaldson wrapped up by talking about how some people need religion to have a good life. It is comforting and a tradition. She also said that people cannot be restricted from religion, they should be able to follow religion if that’s what they want. She finished off by saying “Religion is part of a person’s family and soul. How would it even be possible to get rid of it”.

In conclusion, the debate was summarized by Mr. McCarthy, one of the judges. He announced the winners, Glen, and the best speaker, Ji Woo Park. He gave a bit of his opinion on the verdict as well as some comments to all the speakers. Thank you to our judges (Mr McCarthy, Ms Morley and Mr Brett), the audience members and to all of those who took part. Finally a big thank you to Ms Duggan for co-ordinating the debate throughout the year.

Tadhg Rane O Cianain reports on last weekend’s Junior Debate final.

To be serious about climate change one needs to give up meat. This was the motion of the final of the Junior Debate this year, held in the BSR last Saturday night . On the proposing side, there was Calvin She, Form I, who started his team off with a good speech showing that his work was well researched, giving many statistics and facts. Next from the proposing Emma Hinde, Form III, delivered her speech with a nifty use of pie charts to back up her argument while also putting the opposition on the spot with a couple good point of orders. Form III pupil Caroline Hagar projected her speech across the hall with great ease and confidence giving many good examples backing the already well-delivered speech, she also contributed strong replies on a couple tricky queries from the audience. Last but not least Alex Hinde from Form II rounded up his teams work, which is a hard job, but Alex managed with ease much like his sister. On the opposing team, Donald Thompson, Form III, started his team off with many good points about eating habits affecting climate change and how we can help climate change by buying from local organic farmers instead of big companies. Ben Patterson then delivered his verdict giving good examples on the argument and altogether laying down a good case. Next Christopher Atkins, another Form I pupil, gave his speech with ease bringing many interesting points onto the floor having experience from previous debates. Finally, for the opposing team, Daniel Murray, also Form I, who throughout the debate had viciously questioned the opposition backing them into a corner where they struggled to answer, attacked and dismantled the opposition’s argument with ease and with a great choice of words. In the end the proposing team reigned victorious through confident well delivered speaking and great choice of evidence. The best speaker was awarded to both Daniel Murray and Caroline Hagar, who both performed amazingly. All in all it was a great intense debate with a great topic and I am counting down the days until the next one.

Shannon Dent reports on the most recent round of the Senior Debating Competiton. Motion: This house believes individual apathy is the greatest threat to our climate

Climate change, a very difficult topic to debate indeed. It is one of the main concerns circulating around the globe, so how could we be able to give solutions and answers? Well, we can’t but we can try, and this is exactly what some of St. Columbas’s pupils have done last Saturday activities.

The debates were really well done and I’m sure everyone enjoyed them. Some of the main questions that were discussed during the debates were: What will happen to people that live off of places that are negatively contributing to the environment? What about employees in big companies that would have to be fired if these companies were shut down? Are we too late? Is there nothing we can do? Debating in the Cadogan was Stackallan vs. Iona, a very good and thought-provoking debate indeed with Stackallan as the winners. Debating for Stackallan: Euan Dunlop, Oscar Yan and Juhyun Kim.  Debating for Iona: Kate Maylor, Raphaela and Laeticia Schoenberg. In the Lower Argyle, Hollypark vs. Gwynn, this was a wonderful debate with a lot of good debaters. Debating for Hollypark, who left victoriously, Aiyuni O’Grady, Elise Williams and Ailbhe Matthews. Debating for Gwynn, Daniel Swift, Kaspar Twietmeyer and Fintan Walsh. Finally debating in the BSR, Tibradden and Beresford vs. Glen, there was a very active debate with very passionate audience members and debaters. Debating for Tibradden and Beresford, Songyon Oh, Abigail O’Brien and Noah Leach. Debating for Glen, the winners of this debate, David White, Frank Babajide and Harry Oke.

These were all very entertaining debates and the decision was very difficult to make as the winners of these debates will go on to participate in the final. As for the rest, there is always next year, but if you’re not willing to wait for that long there are lots of opportunities to debate throughout the year so don’t worry.

Thank you for all of those who debated, the people that judged them. Being able to debate is a very useful skill to have and it is also very fun. So get involved! You won’t regret it.

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.

Ms Duggan facilitating the Junior Debate.

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.

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.

Caoimhe Cleary reports on her recent experience at the European Youth Parliament. 

Earlier this term Harry Oke and I were invited by Ms Duggan to take part in an event called “The European Youth Parliament”. The European Parliament in essence is a simulation of the EU democratic process, and seeks to show its participants how legislation is actually passed in Europe. This is done by separating everybody at the event into the different committees and giving each group a motion. We then had two days to develop and prepare to argue for the implementation of our policy. I would fully recommend this event to everybody for two main reasons.

Firstly, this was a really informative and educational experience. I feel as if I really understand how legislation and bills are both put forth and denied now and, as someone who isn’t a European native, I walked away with a much greater understanding of the European system. It also helped train my ability to work with others to develop and defend a debating motion. I also learned how to argue against an argument in real time.

The second reason I would encourage somebody to attend EYP would be just because of how fun it is! As dull as taking part in the European democratic process may seem, it’s surprisingly enjoyable! The organisers and team leaders are very friendly, and you really do make friends! The friends I made I am still in contact with today. There was also a disco on the second day, which was amazing. I’m still not sure which part of the legislation process that fits in with.

The first round of the Joutes Oratoires, the national French debating competition organised by the Alliance Française, took place on Monday evening and saw the St. Columba’s team of Nyla Jamieson (captain), Georg Müller-Methling, James Park and Sophie Wainwright propose the motion Il faudrait interdire les zoos (Zoos should be forbidden) against a team from Sandford Park School. The debate was heated with some very well-researched and well-constructed speeches delivered by both sides, along with some sharp rebuttals and counter-rebuttals, all through French. However, the impressive level of teamwork and comprehensive consideration of the motion saw St. Columba’s emerge victorious and proceed to the second round in November.

There was similar success in round one of the inter-schools Spanish debating competition, held is Castleknock College last week. The team was made up of Grace Goulding, Lucia Masding, Anna Laurenceau, Suji Franckel and Alexandra Murray Donaldson. The motion for their debate was “This house does not support independence for Cataluña” and they successfully supported the motion against a strong team from Mac Dara’s of Templeogue and they now move onto the next round after half term. A particular well done to Anna Laurenceau who won the award for best speaker.

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!

The ‘Phil Speaks’ Debating Competition 20th /21st January

Harry Oke-Osanyintolu reports:

The Phil Speaks competition 2017 was nothing close to what we imagined; it was much better. We arrived at Trinity College, Dublin at around 9:00 am before the first round. We had to register our names and our school’s name and then came the hard part, we had to talk to other people or else we would stand out as being socially awkward individuals. This was easier for some of the members of the team because they knew some people but for me, it was harder than the debates. They announced the first topic which saved me from embarrassing myself in front of strangers which was ”  this house would abolish monarchism”. This was an unfamiliar topic to me but not for my better half, Jack Stokes who knew exactly what he was saying. There was a twist in this round because we had to go against our other team made up of Sophie Matthews and Marie-Pauline Bleyl. Both of them were capable opponents and lived up to expectation. I felt we debated this topic well by mentioning how monarchism led to patriotism and also mentioning aspects of monarchism that led to our present civilization. We mentioned the Oyo kingdom as a form of monarchism that brought music, art, architecture and other aspects of development into Nigeria and other countries in Africa.

Our opponents mentioned King Nero as a form of bad monarchism but we were able to use the fact that King Nero closed the Amphitheater for 10 years to ensure the safety of the people of Pompeii. We came second and our other team came third. This was a great first round outcome especially for our third team made up of Emily Devereux and Abraham Lozano who came out on top even though they thought they were supporting the motion while they were opposing it for the first minutes of the debate which I found outstanding.

The next round took it up a level, we were against people who were at our standard and the topic of “this house believes that  feminist icons such as Beyonce and Taylor Swift and others like them have contributed positively to the feminist movement”. The moment we saw this topic our jaws dropped and we knew we had to bring out our inner feminist to ensure our victory in supporting the motion. This was very difficult but  we used our fire and ice approach which was Jack would be calm and I would heat the place up by show of enthusiasm. We came second again but our other  teams both came fourth which was a surprise because they thought they performed  better.

As an event we were invited to, we felt it would be of a low standard but the truth is that it was far from it, We were served pizza which we all loved and also enjoyed spending time with different people who shared our love of debating. This concludes our first day.

We felt confident after our first day and our other teams were ready to rumble and our topic was that “this house believes that we should not trade with countries that have bad humanitarian records”  This was a closed debate therefore, we don’t get our results but we felt confident that our fire and ice approach worked its magic. The next round was an,other closed debate but the first  two debates on this day would dictate whether we earn a spot in the semi finals. after this round they served us nice warm crepes which were delicious and after this was the qualifying round. The topic was “this house would remove social media as a news source for younger people” We were in support of this motion but we felt we didn’t reach our fool potential but we kept our faith. We had our diner which was a burger and fries which was also great. After this was the moment we all had been waiting for, they announced the teams but when they said our college it sounded like they were saying something completely different but we did it but sadly only we made it, not our other teams. We knew that the level would be raised even higher. Our topic was that ” this house would ban politicians who don’t believe in climate change from seeking office”. We were against this and we tried our best to win it  but our best was not enough when we found out we didn’t make  the finals.

Ciara Murray reviews last Saturday’s debating final.

Saturday nights riveting Senior House Debating final ended in victory for Gwynn’s Douglas Boyd-Crotty, Henry Carroll and Ivan Moffit. Hollypark is delighted to have made it to the final and, despite being understandably disappointed with our loss, recognise that Gwynn was deserving of their win. Unlike last year’s house singing competition, we are not claiming to have been “robbed”.

Douglas’ engaging, humorous and powerful speech earned him best speaker. His teammates Henry and Ivan gave similar deliveries, ruthless in their evaluation of Obama’s presidency and bold in their statements, such as that he was the ‘worst ever American president’. While this may be true, it’s no secret that Dr Banister has a soft spot for Russia, making it likely that Gwynn’s references to the improvement in American/Russian relations may have won them a few extra points?

The Hollypark team were equally as strong in their performance, questioning the reliability of Gwynn’s sources and quick to retort to points of order. As mentioned by the Hollypark team of Ciara Gumsheimer, Courtney McKee and Ciara Dempsey, unlike Obama, Trump has the advantage of becoming president during a period of economic growth. Being an American and a loyal supporter of Barack Obama, Courtney was particularly passionate in her opposition to the motion that ‘Donald Trump will introduce better policies than Barack Obama did’.

There was a clear divide in the audience, with evident loyalty from the girls and boys houses. Points of order were heated and when questions were taken from the floor junior pupils were keen to participate; there were even a few questions strategically planted in the audience! As Hollypark’s team was composed solely of sixth years, we would encourage younger students to take part in debating next year as it is a really enjoyable and beneficial experience. Mr Brett was critical of those who read directly from their scripts, pointing out that it is essential for debaters to engage with the audience; bear this in mind future debaters!

Jiwoo Park writes: The pupil versus staff Christmas debate took place in the BSR on Monday 12thDecember. The staff, represented by Ms. Smith, Mr. Jones and Reverend Owen proposed the motion ‘This house believes in Santa’. Opposing the motion was Harry Oke, Freddie de Montfort and me. The debate was introduced and chaired by Ms. Duggan and Maria Weinrautner was the time keeper. Happily, quite a few spectators came along to join in the festive spirit of the debate.

There were some excellent arguments presented about the human need to suspend disbelief in the bleak mid-winter and make merry with the idea of a benevolent benefactor. The chaplain was given a run for his money by Harry Oke, who quoted liberally from the Bible. In short, there many great speeches, but the emotive arguments –coupled with a dollop of bribery and the appearance from the man in the red suit himself – won out in the end. Minced pies and sweets were shared by all and the debate was settled: St Columba’s does believe in Santa! It was an enjoyable event, and I hope it becomes a permanent fixture on the debating calendar.

The second round of the Senior House Debating Competition took place on Saturday night, 12th November.  The motion for debate was ‘this house believes that the refugee crisis is eroding Europe’s humanitarian values’. There were some very strong performances on the evening; speeches which were well researched and confidently delivered, but in the end there had to be some winners and runners up.

Glen’s Julius Reblin, Ryan Gumsheimer and Jack Stokes lost out to Hollypark’s Ciara Murray, Sophie Matthews and Catherine Butt. Stackalllan’s Henry zu Rantzau, Casper von Schulenburg and Sebastian Fitzgibbon were defeated by Beresford & Tibradden ‘s Daniel Koethe, Helena von Brauchitsch  and Eleonore Mueller. Gwynn’s Ross Magill, Toby Green and Joel Taylor were able to oust Iona’s Anna Laurenceau, Nicole Dickerson and Helen Crampton. This means that Hollypark and Gwynn, each with two wins under their belts, go forward to the final.

Awards for best speakers went to Ross Magill, Ciara Murray and Daniel Koethe. Well done to all those who participated. We look forward to the final in January.

A special word of thanks from Ms Duggan to Dr Bannister and Mr Brett for joining her to judge the debates.

Not to be outdone by their elders, the Juniors also got together on Saturday evening to debate the motion ‘this House would restrict advertising aimed at children’.

Matt Keavney, Ailbhe Matthews and Raphaela Ihuoma proposed and

Eile Ni Chainain, Emma Hinde, Ellen Homan opposed.  The best speaker spot was shared by Eile Ni Chanain and Ailbhe Matthews but there was much potential on display on Saturday.

Three pupils from St Columba’s, Catherine Butt, Jiwoo Park and Harry Oke-Osanyintolu participated in the Leinster trials for the Irish World Schools Debating Team in University College Dublin last weekend. While they didn’t get through to the next stage of the competition, they performed extremely well and enjoyed some excellent coaching in argumentation, analysis, critical thinking, research, oratory, and rhetoric.  Well done Catherine, Jiwoo and Harry!

The first round of the House Debating competition took place last Saturday.
Senior House Debating Competition
Motion: This House believes in the death penalty
Glen’s Ji Woo Park, Harry Oke-Osanyintolu and Alexander Russell narrowly defeated Iona’s Mona Lamotte O’Carroll, Claire Schuijt and Elena Sirazetdinova.
Hollypark’s Courtney McKee, Anna Janssen and Aisha Burke came out on top over Stackallan’s Rupert Murphy, Henry Armstrong and Callum Pery Knox-Gore.
Gwynn’s Richard Gao, Henry Carroll and Ivan Moffitt  were successul against the combined forces of Tibradden’s & Beresford’s Adaeze Mbanefo, Rafael Mendes and Niklas Wehner.
Junior Debating 
In Junior Debating Charlotte Moffitt (Form II), Eile Ni Chainain (Form II), Emma Hinde (Form I ), Avi Johnston (Form I) Maybelle Rainey (From II) Maria Dergal Issa (Form II), Alannah Hassett (Form II) performed exceptionally well in front of a full house of their peers in Forms I, II and III.  Congratulations to all of those involved, there were some very passionate speakers and some very crisply delivered arguments.