Two Kilkenny College students have secured a place in the prestigious Matheson Junior Debating National Mace Final.
Alvin Stanley and Fiona O’ Connell have done a fantastic job this year and have reached a number of regional finals and are ranked seventh and 15th best speakers in Leinster, which is an amazing achievement.
Over 400 students have taken part in preliminary rounds all over the country since September, debating topics ranging from ‘This House Would Ban the Junior Cert’ to ‘This House Would Never Negotiate With Terrorists’. Students only have 20 minutes to prep a topic with their teammate and then speak on it for four minutes, while offering and answering points of information.
Following three qualifying rounds in the Leinster Schools’ Debating Competition hosted by UCD over the past three months, Kilkenny College learnt last week that 7 out of 8 of their entrants will go forward to the knock-out stages. Busy weeks ahead for junior debaters; Alvin Stanley (capt), Fiona O’Connell, Sorcha Leary, Daire Pryal, Sophie Cairns, Jack Kirwin and Glenn Dudley.
Results were released following the final qualifier hosted by Colaiste Na hInse, Meath and was presided over by chairperson, Labour TD, Gerald Nash. Although Fiona was pipped into ninth position on this occasion, Alvin delivered another fine speech in the day’s final on the motion that, ‘This House would Emigrate’. These two students’ progress is such that their coach, Debbie Neill, feels they will pose a strong challenge in the finals.
On February 23, they will do battle over four rounds and the top eight speakers will progress to the Grand Final in St Enda’s, the Padraig Pearse Museum on March 9.