We Are the Dodgeball Team

Who will win? William Clarke College in the HICES Debating Grand Finals; everything’s at stake! All those meetings, all those restless afternoons frantically writing speeches, … All those moments leading up to this one.

As the Year 8 Debating Team, it wasn’t an easy road to get to the Grand Finals. Our team took turns rotating speakers and competing in 9 debates in total. Each debate had the same old routine for preparation. It began with a meeting at lunchtime on a Wednesday where our team would brainstorm ideas on arguments, rebuttals, and mostly winning. Some days, our meetings would consist of constant screaming across the room trying to compete with the others.  Our Coach Liv was definitely the peacekeeper in those moments. After our discussions, we would write our speeches and Liv would edit them. It wouldn’t be a surprise if we received emails in the morning at 5:30 in the morning with feedback from Liv.

Yet, the preparation for the Grand Finals took a different turn – this time, our debate would be live – after numerous debates being online! During our debates, we were a loud bunch; constantly chattering about rebuttals and making comments about how the opposition made no sense but we got away with most of it because of the mute button on.

So, we had to take on new strategies and learn how to debate properly in person – at this point, Liv called in the big leagues to get some practice – the original Debating Team, Lachlan C, Callum T, Josie M, and herself, pushing William Clarke the furthest they’d ever gone in debating (well, at that point at least…). Even though versing the Year 12’s in a mock debate took us out of our comfort zone and prepare for the debate, giving us a bit of a shock on what true debating is, the experience definitely prepared us well…

The 1st of September was the day which decided our fate as the Year 8 Debating Team, and the winners of the HICES debating competition. After a long car ride to Central Coast Grammar, with Taylor Swift and Disney songs fuelling our excitement, we arrived for our final debate this year; the decider.

The topic for our debate was “That all Australians, over the age of 12, should be permitted to vote if they pass a test on politics and democracy” – as the negative team, we seemed to have the upper hand (something we didn’t usually have). Yet, this didn’t make the challenge any easier – but, we tackled it as a team. Our four speakers rebutted the opposition’s points and brought up strong arguments to further our case, whilst the rest of the team sat in their chairs, nervously anticipating the outcome of this debate.

In the few terms, we as a team participated in rounds of debates, creating some amazing memories, and the occasional inside jokes. We even laughed before our debate how we were the “dodgeball team” throughout the entire competition! Yet, it all paid off, with the day ending with the announcement of our team being the Grand Finals winners, beating the former champion school-

We had made history. The first William Clarke team to win the Grand Finals! As the chairman of the HICES competition said, our team “…proved that anything is possible.” With victory in our hands, we walked out of Central Coast Grammar School with the happiest smile on our faces. At least the car ride was not awkward on the way home.

Our Year 8 debating team would not have made it this far without the amazing encouragement and organizational skills of Miss Cha, and fantastic support from Mrs. Murray and her awesome adjudicating skills. But most of all, the wonderful charisma, skills, and enthusiasm from Liv our Coach.

It may have been the pizza that was promised by Liv if we won that motivated us to the very end to win the Grand Finals, but who knows.