Columba College debating continues to thrive at an unprecedented level which is only becoming only more obvious following the recent Otago-Southland 2018 Debating regionals.
With a total of 4 teams from Columba competing and speaking on a number of complex topics - from the role of personal income tax within New Zealand to the merits of Britain instigating a retaliatory cyber warfare attack against Russia - with thoughtful, nuanced arguments everyone who attended the tournament deserves acknowledgement for their hard work. However midway through the second day when the break to Semi’s was announced we were thrilled to find that not only had Columba 1 finished the preliminary rounds to be 2nd but Columba 2 was ranked 4th and so both teams would progress to the semi’s. While Columba 2 (Abby Bowmar, Khaleeda Jaafar, Georgia Francis) were beaten by the top ranking Otago Girls 1, Columba 1 won their semi against Bayfield and so progressed to the final to face OGHS. In the end Columba 1 won the entire tournament, negating the motion This House Would Ban Zoos.
The team, made up of Year 13’s Lydia Christensen, Lydia Joseph and Bridget Scott, are the first since 2003 to win regionals 2 years in a row. This in itself is an impressive achievement but the true testament to Columba’s debating strength was revealed when the Development Squad, Gold ‘Year 13’ Squad and Regional Team were announced. Not only do we have speakers in every squad (Georgia Francis, Khaleeda Jaafar and Lydia Christensen) but 2 out of 3 places on the coveted Regional Team which travels to Nationals in May went to Lydia Joseph and Bridget Scott.
The large number of girls who will now be getting regular coaching from Otago University Debating Society means that their growing expertise will continue to trickle down to support the debating club as a whole.
Tremendous thanks must go to Ms Togneri, who not only gave up her weekend to encourage the girls, but without her support, the ongoing culture of coaching and across year group mentoring which makes Columba debating special, would not be possible.
Bridget Scott (Debating Captain)