Students had emptied their lockers, teachers finished their work and gone home, the school was empty, but the debaters were commencing their competitive ISDA and FED seasons, and there was tangible excitement for this inception. Although I hope that my motivational, ‘gee-up’ talk delivered to the Society last Friday Lunchtime manifested in this eagerness, perhaps it was due to the Society debating against an unfriendly opposition. Prior to this opening round, the Debating Society witnessed many internal debates which functioned as trial rounds to assist with the placement of Debaters into teams.
The Debating Society has witnessed its largest Year 7 Cohort, as a result of the work of the Year 12 Leadership Team in recruiting Year 7s, and conducting the inaugural ‘Lunchtime Debating Showcase’ in Week 3, which featured an introduction to Debating as an activity and the nuances of Trinity Debating, an explanation of different roles and competitions, and most notably, an exhibition debate wherein the Seniors embraced the Year 7 topic of the previous week; ‘That junk food should be banned from school canteens’. Keith Kwok (12WH), Justin Yang (12WH) and Will Martin (12WH) affirmed this topic and presented arguments about the inherent harms of junk food and their perniciousness to school children, whereas the negative team of Daksh Chuchra (12He), Jonah Sowmi (11We) and Joshua Perera (12La), abrogated this proposition by contending that this ban would catalyse a greater desire for junk food outside of the regulated environment of school, and presenting strong rebuttal pertaining to how a ban on the location of junk food transactions will not manifest in healthier children. The audience adjudication, comprising Year 7s and other interested students resoundingly voted in the negative team’s favour. Overall, this event was an immense success. Special thanks to Luka Saxena (12He) from the Media Crew for recording this showcase.
Friday 19 February was the initiation of the ISDA and FED Competitions for Trinity’s Debating Society. These round-robin competitions are amongst the most tightly-contested competitions available to school students in Sydney. Amongst this difficult competition, Trinity finds itself in exceptionally challenging pools for both the ISDA and FED competitions.
The opening round of the ISDA and FED competitions were facilitated through a Zoom meeting with the opposing team and the adjudicator. Fortunately, there were minimal technical difficulties and last Friday featured a smooth transition into the online sphere. This success can be largely attributed to; the members of the Debating Society for their persistence and determination in making the most of these dubious conditions, and Mr Taplin for his Herculean effort in successfully pulling off the onerous task of co-ordinating all the various laptops, microphones, Zoom links and many more facets of online debate.
The FED competition opened their season against the menacing Scots College, and featured many questionable and unfavourable adjudications (as often happens in Debating). Congratulations to the Year 10 and Senior B team for their comprehensive victory. In the ISDA competition, Trinity were matched up with Redlands. Congratulations to the Year 7 and Year 11 ISDA teams for their victories against Redlands.
Below are some reports from various Debates.
Year 7 FED B Report
The Trinity Year 7 FED B debating team consisting of Harshal Chuchra (7He), Hugo Newman (7WJ), Gregory Kariatlis (7La) and Alejandro Molina (7Ke) were hoping to open their season strongly against a formidable opponent, Scots College. We debated on the topic that ‘Dieticians should make the menus for school canteens’. Scots as the affirmative mainly argued that if Dieticians choose the menus for school canteens then this will help children avoid chronic diseases such as obesity in the long term. We as the negative emphasised the fact that healthy food is generally more expensive for schools to buy and this money is better spent and directed towards educational resources. Overall, this was a challenging debate that resulted in the affirmative team succeeding. Nevertheless, I want to congratulate our team for the excellent collaboration and support that we offered each other during the debate. Let’s see if we can turn things around next time.
Gregory Kariatlis (7La)
Year 8 FED B Report
The Year 8 FED B team consisted of Jared Kong (8La), Kiran Siva (8Ke), Ravin Chowdury (8Fo) and Jacob Pham(8WH). Our opposition was Scots College, and the topic for our debate was that ‘The media shouldn’t report on the private lives of celebrities.’ The affirmative team, Scots, presented their model with some good points around celebrities’ privacy. Trinity, as the negative team, presented persuasive arguments including that celebrities could get away with certain things and a strong rebuttal around the status quo. There were many difficulties of this debate and although Scots won this round, there were some learning opportunities for Trinity and it set us up for great success in future debates.
Jared Kong (8La)
Year 10 FED B Report
The Year 10 FED team, consisting of Liam Wingrave (10Ar), Davide Eboli (10WH), Maanav Bhandari (10Mu) and Trenton La (10La) were keen to begin their campaign with a victory over Scots College. After many years of defeat against Scots College, this debate would surely provide the challenge that our team required in order to gain the confidence we needed, which we endeavoured to instil throughout our FED season. The topic of the night was That the 2021 Australian Open should have been cancelled due to COVID-19, and Trinity were handed the negative viewpoint of the topic to argue, hence arguing the reasons for the Australian Open going forth this year. The clashes through the debate that were refuted and argued included the importance of the need for sporting events over human health and safety, and the value of this tournament within an economic and social context within Australia. In what was a gruelling and persuasive altercation from both Trinity and Scots, the adjudicator favoured our characterisation of the Australian Opens value and importance in society, and was led to favour our case over the opposition’s points of potential health risks the sporting event could imply onto Australia. The adjudicator awarded the debate to Trinity and provided us with the correct motivation required in our campaign for the FED Title. Much joy and relief were shared amongst the team at the deliberation of the result.
Liam Wingrave (10Ar)
Senior FED B Report
The FED Senior Bs, consisting of Aiden Lee (11WH), Varun Iyer (11WJ) and Justin Yang (12WH), debated against Scots. The topic was “That the COVID-19 vaccine should be compulsory” and my team was negative. This season we also only have 45 minutes in the prep-room—which isn’t much—but time is what you make of it, so we got straight into it. Sadly though, when we first got into the prep-room we found it hard to think of arguments, but we just had to get our heads in the game and think as a team. We soon started to make quick progress towards the topic. We first approached the topic by looking at the general public’s reaction, talking about the backlash of this law. We talked about how the current system works well and that we don’t need to make the vaccine compulsory for it to be effective; we’re not trying to diversify from the status quo. The actual debate was very challenging. It was harder than trigonometry; we were light on our feet when it came to rebuttals and at the end of it all it was a close debate but with us coming out with a win and game over for the other team.
Aiden Lee (11WH)
Year 7 ISDA Report
On 19 February, the Year 7 Debating Team duelled with SCEGGS Redlands in Round 1 of the 2021 ISDA Debating Competition. It was a first in many respects. The newly-formed team consisting of Noah Figliuzzi (7Fo), Jared Arnold (7Ar), Bailin Ashcroft (7Fo) and Ethan Eswaran (7We) had to cope with the technical challenges of their first online debate on Zoom. We negated the topic “That coding should be taught instead of a language.” S.C.E.C.G.S. Redland’s argument was focussed on the notion that coding was amply more beneficial for your life and presented a model where coding would replace languages taught in schools by 2023. In our counter model, we stated that coding could be taught in addition to languages. Redlands used persuasive arguments such as coding being more essential, as non-computerised objects or apparatus become obsolete, and young kids who knew more about how to use computers having more appropriate skill sets for the future. We argued that the knowledge of multiple languages was better for the future, in terms of jobs and efficiency of foreign communication. We also said that research has shown that language keeps your brain’s neural pathways active, reducing the risk of diseases such as Dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. We also highlighted the lack of detail in the affirmative model. All speakers of the Trinity team presented compelling arguments, illustrating flaws in the opposition’s case, and accentuating the ambiguous nature of the affirmative argument. We still have a lot to learn but we charged into the new frontier of Zoom debates, proposed arguments, pushed ourselves to our limits, and worked effectively with each other, leading to victory for the Trinity Year 7 ISDA team in our very first debate.
Jared Arnold (7Ar)
Year 8 ISDA Report
On Friday night, the Year 8 ISDA Team debated the topic that we should teach students coding instead of a language. We debated as the negative team. We created a counter-model and proposed that we should keep languages and have coding as a co-curricular activity instead. Our arguments were that languages teach you important skills which can be used throughout your life, students who did coding as a cocurricular would enjoy it, rather than being forced into it, and students should have the freedom of choice to decide if they want to do a language. Redlands’ main arguments were that it’s important that all students are prepared for future technology use, and languages are becoming less important in society. Unfortunately, Redlands ended up winning the debate in the end. Our feedback was to flesh out our arguments and rebuttals more and better explain our ideas through examples.
Christian Ciarroni (8WJ)
Senior A ISDA Report
The Senior A team, comprised of Will Martin (12WH), Keith Kwok (12WH), Joshua Perera (12La) and Daksh Chuchra (12He), negated the topic ’That education and healthcare personnel (eg doctors and teachers) should be rotated between the public and private systems. Redlands, in affirming this proposition argued about the importance of bridging the gap between these systems and the inequality immersed within the duality of the private-public system. Trinity presented cogent arguments about the rights of workers, and the inefficiency caused by the affirmative’s model. Persuasive rebuttal was delivered pertaining to the mismatch of skillsets, the logistical inadequacies and that there is currently mobility between the private and public systems in the status quo, thereby being a better solution than the affirmative’s arbitrary mandate of forced rotation between these systems. However, it was our counter-model, of a reallocation of government funding from the private sector to the public sector that lost us this Debate as it was a concession that the problem outlined by the affirmative does exist. The team has extracted valuable lessons from this debate, and despite the disappointing result, will continue to apply their best effort towards obtaining a victory against Newington.
My sincere thanks to Alessandro Re (7La) and Nicholas Lake (7WH) for their invaluable technical support and assistance in setting up and testing computers, microphones and audio-visual equipment required to successfully compete in our online debates for the ISDA and FED debating competitions on Zoom.
Chris Taplin | Master in Charge of Debating and Public Speaking
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