Debating in St Angela’s College
Despite having a relatively young debating society, St. Angela’s is well established on the Cork Debating scene. At present there are about 25 committed debaters who attend meetings twice weekly, with numbers greatly rising each year as debating grows in popularity.
Junior debating takes place on Monday afternoons, at which girls from first to third year come together to discuss and debate controversial topics and current affairs. Seasoned and experienced senior debaters act as coaches and mentors to the girls, under the guidance of Ms O’ Keeffe and Ms Chambers. The junior society enters numerous competitive debates and competitions within Cork and Munster, including the ‘Cork City Schools Junior Debating Competition’, ‘Inter-Schools First Year League’, ‘Cork Schools Junior Mace’ as well as a variety of friendly inter-school debates. St. Angela’s has seen great success within the past few years with our junior debaters regularly reaching the final rounds of all competitions, often bringing home winning medals and trophies.
At a junior level, debating in St. Angela’s College hones in on developing persuasive and argumentative skills, as well as improving the girls’ confidence and public speaking skills. Across all levels, it is a great means of making new friends both inside and out of school and is a truly beneficial activity for any young person beginning their secondary schooling.
On the senior front, we have an active and successful society. In Transition Year and fifth year, the girls are given the opportunity to attend European Youth Parliament (EYP) conferences at a regional and national level. These aim to promote awareness of European issues amongst young people, through a range of informal and formal debates, committee work and research. Every year a number of St. Angela’s delegates are selected to represent Ireland at the international conferences, which can be as far afield as Poland, Ukraine and Finland. We also send delegations to Model UN conferences, where over 100 students come together to discuss International relations and worldwide socioeconomic problems.
At present we have about 8 senior teams who enter a range of prestigious public speaking and debating competitions, including the ‘Munster Philosoph Senior Debating Competition’, ‘UCC Munster Mace’, ‘All Ireland Senior Debating Competition’, ‘Sean Lydon Senior Mace’ and the ‘Soroptimist International Women’s Public Speaking Competition’.
In the past two years, St. Angela’s teams and individual speakers have been finalists in all of these competitions, competing against some of Ireland’s most renowned debaters.
Another aspect of senior debating is the organisation of competitions and debates, most notably the Cork School’s Junior Mace which was founded and organised by St. Angela’s students. This provides a platform for almost 120 junior speakers to develop their impromptu speaking skills, much to their benefit.
We expect these great achievements to continue for the upcoming years as we welcome a range of talented and enthusiastic young debaters into the society.
by Charlotte Smith