Laurieton Public School’s debating team will take on the state’s best in November, after sweeping all before it in the preliminary rounds of the Premier’s Debating Challenge.
Despite boasting just over 200 students, the debating team has scored some impressive results over much bigger school populations.
In the North Coast draw, the school accounted for Stuarts Point, Frank Partridge VC, Forster and Bellingen before claiming its two biggest wins at the regional finals – Toormina and Hastings.
Coach Melanie Strong said the team of Jayden Lucas, Aashraya Phuyal, Oakley Lucas and Lukas Alley were enjoying the challenge.
“The team is continuing to improve in the rebuttal phase during debates and can also think on their feet,” Mrs Strong said.
“As the team adviser, Lukas is very good at coming up with the ideas that are outside the square while Aashraya is really building in confidence with his public speaking and his rebuttals are excellent. Jayden and Oakley are able to keep the team focused throughout the planning process and are quick to find flaws in the other team’s arguments.”
The four debaters say their ability to establish examples to support their argument while building a rebuttal case against their opposition are keys to their success.
Jayden said: “I think we are pretty strong on getting ideas together. ”
Lukas said their opponents tended to get frustrated by the team’s ability to rebut their arguments.
All four team members agreed the experience had helped them build confidence, particularly in public speaking, while helping them to think on their feet and to listen to the overall argument of the opposition.
Oakley said the team was also able to work together well and said that all four took the challenge very seriously and didn't ‘slacken off’ during the debate.
Aashraya said being part of the debating team had also made him a more confident person and helped him – and the team members – work better under pressure.
The four team members also said it had helped them to talk with different people in different situations.
And the team’s success is filtering through to their peers in the playground with a number of students already expressing an interest in next year’s debating team.
While the school is proud the debating team will compete in the state level competition, there will be some fundraising required to help each student to attend.
The Premier’s Debating Challenge is from November 12 to 15 at Stanwell Tops.