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Waikato defeats Wellington at National Champs

Waikato defeats Wellington at the National Schools Debating Championships

Waikato has emerged as the victors of the 2008 Russell McVeagh New Zealand Schools’ Debating Championships in the Grand Final held this morning and hosted by Hon Peter Dunne. This is the first time that Waikato has won the competition since 2001.

The Waikato team consisting of Jessica Jackman (Sacred Heart College Hamilton), Tom Chen (Hillcrest High School) and Luke Craven (Bethlehem College) successfully affirmed the topic “This House would compel journalists to reveal their sources in criminal investigations penalty” against the Wellington Gold team consisting of Holly Jenkins (Sacred Heart College Lower Hutt), Julia Wells (Wellington East Girls’ College) and Johanna McDavitt (St Mary’s College). The motion was provided by the New Zealand Police and after the debate Commissioner Howard Broad presented Tom Chen with a medallion for being the Best Speaker in the Grand Final.

President of the New Zealand Schools’ Debating Council, Jeremy Johnson said, “The final was a superb end to what has been an excellent 2008 Championships. Both teams did exceptionally well and it was a close debate with Waikato convincing three of the five judges that they were worthy victors.”

The Grand Final teams emerged from a field of 12 regional teams after five preliminary rounds and a semi-final. These were held in rooms provided by Victoria University of Wellington at their Pipitea campus. Over 100 schools and hundreds of students have already taken part in the Championships this year at Russell McVeagh regional tournaments up and down the country, from which the regional teams were selected to compete in Wellington. The Championships, established in 1988, now in their twenty first year, are recognised as the premier debating competition for schools in New Zealand.

After the Grand Final the members of the 2008 Russell McVeagh New Zealand Schools Debating team were announced. The five member team is made up of Tom Chen, Jennifer Savage (Central North Island), Maria English (Wellington Black), Holly Jenkins and Ben Kornfield (Auckland Blue). Maria English was named both Captain of the New Zealand team for 2008 and the Best Speaker at the 2008 Championships. Kurt Purdon was named as first reserve for this team. The team will compete at two World Championships in Washington DC in September and in Athens in February next year.


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