Champion debaters perfect the art of persuasion

‘Internet access should be a basic human right’.

That was the topic successfully argued by our Middle Division debating team at the HICES debating grand final last week.

Over 40 schools, 1400 students and 500 debates made up this year’s competition with strong performances from the CCGS squad seeing them crowned the overall Champion Debating School for 2018.

Seven teams from the school entered the competition, with two – the Middle Division and Open Division – successfully making it all the way to the grand final. The Middle Division won their debate and the Open Division were named runners-up in a tight battle arguing in the negative that ‘there should be a ‘none of the above’ option on voting forms’.

Debating and Public Speaking Convenor, Karen Seeneevassen said the results are a credit to the dedication, enthusiasm and skill the whole squad demonstrated throughout the competition.

“This is now the third time in the past four years that Central Coast Grammar has been named the HICES Champion Debating School.

“Over this time our debating program has continued to grow, with more and more students coming on board to learn the lifelong skills of persuasiveness, thinking on your feet and staying calm under pressure,” Ms Seeneevassen said.


We caught up with Year 8 student and member of the Middle Division team, Hannah Leggett who was named ‘Speaker of the Grand Final’, about the team’s success and why she loves debating at CCGS.

When did you start debating?

I started debating when I first came to the school in Year 5. I have always loved public speaking and considered it one of my strengths so, for me, it was a no-brainer.

I also saw it as a way to put myself out there and make friends, especially being new to the school.

What position do you normally speak in?

Third speaker whose job is to conclude the debate and summarise your team’s points, while also rebutting the opposing team’s case.

I enjoy that you focus on getting right to the point and really proving that your argument is better than the oppositions! I also enjoy rebutting and speaking impromptu every now and then, which fits in with the third speaker’s role perfectly.

What was your favourite topic of the competition?

My favourite topic was arguing in the affirmative that ‘school canteens should only sell vegetarian products’. Although the topic was challenging, I really enjoyed that debate; it really made us think outside the box and work together as a team to succeed.

Now, tell us about your least favourite topic?

My least favourite topic was probably the one given to us at the grand final – ‘Internet access should be a basic human right’. It was difficult to define and was almost so straightforward that we began to overthink it!

What is your favourite part of debating at CCGS?

My favourite part would have to be…everything! I find it difficult to choose a favourite aspect of debating, from the bus rides, to the preparation, to the pride you feel afterwards knowing you’ve given it your all, regardless of the outcome.

If I had to pick just one thing however, I would probably say the team itself - not just the four involved in the final debate - but the whole CCGS debating squad. Debating is a team activity, and I love how I’ve gotten to know everyone involved and form such tight friendships.

Although debating isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, you don’t have to be out the front speaking in every debate to reap the benefits. Simply joining in and coming along still means that you get to know everyone on the team, eat delicious food and be a part of the unforgettable activity.