SCHS Debating and Public Speaking
The SCHS Debating and Public Speaking Competition is now in its 7th year, with the school entering its first debating teams back in 2011, with the foundation Year 9 cohort, coached by the ‘debating god’ Mr Nick Cummins. In a short time, the school has established a proud history of achievement in the DAV interschool debating competition, with individual students winning the prestigious Swannie award (for best speaker in the region) and a consistently high amount of victories in each round of the competition. Each year, we enter more teams, as the interest grows and each year we enjoy more individual and team success.
This year, one of our Year 11 teams once again progressed through to the Octo-finals (placing them in the top 16 teams in the state in their year level). Congratulations to Anagha Giri, Rubina Singh and Karmil Nguyen (all from Kororoit House) for being this year’s SCHS “debating dream team”!
There were a number of outstanding individual achievements that deserve a mention. This year, for the first time, a SCHS student won the Swannie award (top scoring student) in each grade. It was a very proud moment to see the slide featuring our school dominating the Williamstown region and to hear members of the audience commenting on this feat. Congratulations to the following students: Joshua Cordina (12K2), Anagha Giri (11K1), Kavinya Bendarage (10K2) and Fatima Arshad (9K1). A special congratulations to Kavinya, who also won the Statewide Swannie award.
In addition to the success of members of the SCHS debating squad, a number of students performed well in public speaking competitions. Congratulations to Fatimah Hashim (12R1) for being a finalist in the Ainger Award in her first ever public speaking competition and to Joshua Cordina for being runner up in the regional final of the Plain English Speaking Award. Congratulations to Emily Nguyen (9K1) for progressing through to the State Final of Rostrum Voice of Youth and to Alysandra King (9R2) and William Long (9R1) for making it to the semi-finals in the DAV Junior public speaking competition.
I would also like to take this opportunity to extend congratulations and much gratitude to Joshua Cordina, for his outstanding achievements and tireless commitment to the debating and public speaking program at Suzanne Cory High School. During his four years at this school, Joshua has been an enthusiastic member of many debating teams, participating in the Monash Asian Studies and EVATT (Model United Nations) competitions, as well as the select-entry network competition. This year, Joshua was a finalist in the Lions Club Youth of the Year competition that took place in Tasmania. In all of these events, Joshua has been a terrific ambassador for the school and has returned from each experience with knowledge and skills that he has then shared with his peers. This year, Joshua has given generously of his time to lead the organisation of the SCHS House and Interschool Debating competitions. He has also been a highly respected mentor and coach for his peers. His enthusiasm, political awareness, critical thinking skills and experience in public speaking arenas will be greatly missed. On behalf of the school community and particularly the SCHS Debating Squad, I wish Joshua every success in his academic endeavours and career pathways. Hopefully we might see him display his excellent listening skills again one day in the capacity as a DAV adjudicator!
I would like to thank my colleagues Jason Portelli and Nalan Velisha (and my former colleague Timotei Schubert) for their support of the program and for accompanying me to the debates on Wednesday evenings. I also extend my appreciation to those parents who have supported the program by driving their children and watching the debates. Finally, thanks to those among our graduating cohort, for your contribution to this program over the past four years. I’m sure that the knowledge, skills and confidence gained in this program will continue to benefit you throughout your life. Once again, well done to all students who participated in debates and public speaking competitions throughout 2017. You are a fabulous group of young people and I look forward to working with you all again in 2018.
Ms Cindy Sullivan
Debating & Public Speaking Coordinator
Year Nine was the start of my debating endeavour at SCHS. I was apprehensive and didn't know what to expect but over the past two years I have definitely improved as a debater and learned a range of new skills that prove to be useful in everyday life. Last year, in D grade, each debate was different, challenging us to not only think critically but also creatively. It put us in situations where we were required to look at the bigger picture or even consider an alternate perspective on a subject matter that I thought I already knew or was passionate about. This year, C grade debates brought on a whole new set of challenges with the advised topics. This not only tested our quick thinking and research skills but also our ability to work efficiently as a team, under the limited time provided for preparation. This year I ventured out of my comfort zone and debated as a third speaker for the first time. The task was just as hard as I anticipated but I'm glad I pushed myself to try, because I discovered something that I never thought I would enjoy. I'd like to thank Ms Sullivan and Mr Schubert for their constant support and patience-your assistance, advice and encouragement is invaluable. I would also like to thank my teammates Mehar Parbhakar and Anne-Maria Sibi and the rest the debating squad for your willingness to help a friend out and for making this debating season one to remember.
Kavinya Bendarage (10K2)
The SCHS Debating and Public Speaking program has provided me with innumerable opportunities and experiences. Since starting in year 9 I have used the program as an opportunity to meet many of the good friends that I still spend time with today. The program also provided me with a means to be able to practice and refine my skills in listening, oral presentation and critical thinking. Not only do these skills make completing tasks in many of my subjects easier, they are also many of the skills that I can already see will have beneficial and tangible applications in future employment, and in general civic life. I believe it is incredibly important in the modern world to be able to know how to support one’s own ideas and how to critically analyse those put forward by others. The debating program provides students with an opportunity to regularly put those skills into practice. Debating has been one of the most enjoyable and memorable aspects of my time at SHCS. I would encourage anyone with an interest in developing or improving their public speaking skills, or those who just have a desire to get to know great new friends, to become involved in debating and public speaking at SCHS.
Joshua Cordina (12K2)
SCHS Debating Captain