St Mary’s debating state champions

On Friday 18 November the St Mary’s High School, Gateshead, Year 7 Debating Team, Leah O’Hagan, Jodi Govender and Jack Ollerton, won the NSW Combined Catholic Colleges Debating Championship in Sydney.

This follows the school’s success in winning the National Science and Engineering Challenge earlier this year in Hobart.

Their first debate was a regional semi-final against Mt St Patrick’s College, Murwillumbah. This was a prepared debate with the topic “Contact sports should be banned” with St Mary’s as the negative team.

They then progressed through to the regional final against Hennessy Catholic College, Young. This was an impromptu debate with the topic "Homework is a waste of time", again St Mary’s was the negative team.

Finally, the state final was against Cathedral College, Sydney.  Again an impromptu debate with the topic "Animal testing should be banned", this time St Mary’s was the affirmative team.

This is a hotly contested competition and to achieve success at this level is certainly something of which the school should be proud.

On behalf of the diocese I congratulate Leah, Jodi and Jack on this memorable achievement and wish them well in their future debating competitions.

Special thanks go to their teacher/coach Ms Renee Pola-Kuras for all the support, encouragement and specialised coaching she has provided to the team.

Our diocese has featured prominently in this debating competition with recent wins by St Clare’s High School, Taree and St Pius X High School, Adamstown.

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Ray Collins Image
Ray Collins

Ray Collins is the Director of Schools within the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle. He is an authority on education issues.