Debating Regional Champs

By Suzanne Robins | Posted: Wednesday March 11, 2015

Our LPHS 1 team (Jacobi Kohu-Morris Y13, Grant McNaughton Y12 and Meran Campbell-Hood Y13) won the annual Russell McVeagh Debating Competition for the Otago-Southland region. The event was held on Friday 7th and Saturday 8th of March. 5 of the top 12 awards went to Logan Park speakers.

There were more than 20 teams representing schools from throughout the region, and the competition involved 5 general rounds and then the semi-finals and final. Moots included issues such as whether gay rights organisations should "out" celebrities, whether political parties should select their leaders through a ballot of all members, and whether the legislation that allows employers to fire people without reason in the first 90 days of their employment should stand. 

Jacobi Kohu-Morris, Grant McNaughton and Meran Campbell-Hood won the competition, debating in the finals against Columba College and negating the motion that western media outlets should republish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed when reporting on attacks and threats directed at their artists.

LPHS 2 (Oscar Maguire, Ben Clayton and Charlotte Dickie - all Y11) were placed third, with the two LPHS teams facing each other in the semi-finals.

Five of the six speakers won individual recognition (and the 6th speaker was new to inter-school debating). Jacobi was named as a member of the Otago-Southland team that trained together and then competed in the national competition later in the year; Meran was named as a reserve for the team; Grant won Most Promising Speaker, an award for the best speaker who is not in Y13; Oscar won an individual Commendation and was included in the Development Squad, who are seen as likely future members of the regional team and will train together throughout the year, and Ben was also included in this squad. 

This was a stunning set of results for the individual students and for Logan Park High School. Five of the twelve awards went to speakers from Logan Park.The teams are grateful to ex-students Connor Seddon, who has been giving his time every Wednesday to run a discussion and advice group for debaters, and Andrew Brinsley-Pirie, who adjudicated a practice debate and gave helpful advice just prior to the competition.