We were delighted to have His Excellency The Honourable Hieu Van Le AC, Governor of South Australia present awards to the winning and runner up teams, as well as the Debater of the Year Winners for 2018. The awards recognised the state’s best debaters from what has been the largest competition with over 1200 participants. Congratulations to all! Our sincere thanks to Sacred Heart College for their generous hospitality of this event.
Good afternoon Your Excellency, Ladies and Gentleman, and fellow debaters,
I am both greatly humbled, and honoured to have the opportunity to respond to His Excellency’s address.
I would firstly like to extend the deepest thanks, on behalf of all debaters, for His Excellency’s continued patronage of the Debating SA competition. The competition facilitated by Debating SA, with your support, is truly a transformational experience for students. It feels like it was only yesterday that I was third speaker in my very first debate at the beginning of last year. I panicked, and spoke for two minutes total, of which one minute and thirty seconds were my conclusion. From there, all the way to now, my own development has been phenomenal, my confidence and public speaking skills have improved drastically, and I know this certainly extends to the likes of all debaters within the competition.
Within debate, students develop quick thinking skills, the ability to construct sound arguments, and confident public speaking and engagement. Debaters are exposed to a variety of social issues, and gain the ability to critically evaluate and analyse the world around them. The stereotypical view of debating is Parliamentary Question Time where politicians yell at each other across chambers. However, anyone who has experienced one of our debates understands that this idea couldn’t be further from the realities of debating, for they see young South Australian citizens reasoning, articulating, listening, responding, and ultimately respecting one another. There are few opportunities where intellectual development and social education align so well to inform young citizens and it goes without saying that your support of this competition is invaluable.
Throughout the season, all divisions have been granted the opportunity to explore complex societal issues on local, national, and international levels. From the many avenues of Brexit, to lowering the voting age, to whether it would be foolish to recreate dinosaurs, and whether Hogwarts is an ideal school. All topics have allowed us to examine differing perspectives of topical matters, and provided both challenging and entertaining debates over the course of the season.
It is imperative to extend the sincerest thanks to teachers and coaches, who spend countless hours mentoring students and ensuring their teams are prepared for their debates; parents, for supporting our debaters and driving us to and from all our debates. I would finally like to extend a thank you to all adjudicators and the team at Debating SA. The valuable and thorough feedback you provide to debaters, and the time and effort you put into making sure everything runs smoothly are what makes this competition possible.
To quote Margaret Heffernan: “For good ideas and true innovation, you need human interaction, conflict, argument, debate.” Congratulations to all award recipients, division winners, and debaters of the year.
I now invite His Excellency to present medallions to students and Mr Tony Houey, Chairman of the Board of Debating SA to read the citations.