82 teams, one highly debated cup

Proud winners, Ormiston College students (l-r) Akira Maharaj, Ryan Iglesia and Solana Carpenter. Times photo Wayne Martin

They were determined to win the cup this year even if it meant persuasively arguing their way to the top after debating with more than 80 teams.

Ormiston Senior College Year 12 students, Ryan Iglesia, Solana Carpenter and Akira Maharaj can’t believe they are the winners of the Auckland Schools Debating senior Auckland grade as they cleverly won the battle of words, cutting the competition from 82 to 16 teams which was finally slashed down to just two.

“We try to think of everything the other team would say and then work on how to counter it,” says Solana.

“We’ve grown a lot as a team and now I find it’s so much easier for us to understand the points of clash.”

Having debated as a team for around five years, they say they are very comfortable with each other, enough to criticise one another when they think they have not done well enough.

Seventeen-year-old Ryan says that last year they were so close to winning but lost the final round. “We were just one debate away. This year we were very determined to win the cup. We prepared ourselves by enrolling for the debating acceleration programme at Auckland University and also participated at a debating tournament in Lynfield.”

As luck would have it, the motion for the final round was: ‘This house regrets schools teaching the idea that effort and participation is more important than winning’.

“It was tough as we had to agree to the motion,” says Ryan.

Another time they put all their oratory and analytical skills to test was when they had to negate the motion: ‘Implementing compulsory vaccine regulation’.

“It’s something we don’t personally agree with but had to argue otherwise, which wasn’t easy at all,” says Akira.

What matters though is at the end of the challenging debating rounds, the trio not only won the championship but each of them won the top three Speakers Award as well.