So there’s this student - who shall remain unnamed - who
has always been terrific. This year she finally, finally, finally
joined Ruyton debating. Truth be told, she was brilliant.
Part of me, of course, is annoyed because she could have
and should have been involved in the debating action
sooner. The other part, the side with the angel on my
shoulder, is just stoked that she did eventually find the time
to join the other 82 enthusiastic, engaged and wonderful
students who signed up this year. This year, while some
Senior girls joined for the first time and some returned,
we had 34 Year 8s sign up and I’d say each one found the
experience harrowing, enjoyable and extremely rewarding,
all at the same time.
Our numbers were certainly robust and while I sometimes
feared that not all students would get to have a taste
of competitive public speaking, there were plenty of
opportunities for all, as camps and other co-curricular
commitments required us to fill squads in order to cover for
fellow teammates.
Complementing the opportunities to represent Ruyton,
all students in the Senior School can participate in House
Debating. This competition could not take place without
the generous support of those staff members who assisted
with adjudication throughout the year. Always a colourful
and entertaining culmination to Term 3, the final was won
by Daniell, who narrowly defeated Lascelles. Many thanks
to our 2009 Debating Captain, Yoshitha Bandara who not
only adjudicated the event, but turned up in her uniform
just for old time’s sake.
Debating is a wonderful team activity that requires mental
agility, poise and quite a bit of tenacity.While I am always
so impressed by the way our debaters conduct themselves
at Scotch College and certainly love sharing their jubilation
as they fly towards me, letting all of Hawthorn know they
won’, it’s the way they work together during our prep
nights that fundamentally fills me with pride.
Beyond the actual challenges of preparing, passionately
executing and defending an argument with verve, it is
always fantastic to see how well our teammembers
support one another. Indeed, I have no doubt that this
camaraderie is something that strengthens the entire
Ruyton student community. It is also clear to me that
the debating builds resilience, particularly when the
adjudicator dares to declare our opposition the winner!
This year our Debating Captain was Eishitha Bandara
and she did a terrific job supporting each member of the
team. Eishitha’s regular updates on the Ruyton Debating
Facebook page, her positive rapport with each debater,
her willingness to bake cupcakes for them and, above all,
the fact that she is an excellent debater, all contributed
to the quality of her leadership. Eishitha was also very
ably assisted by Claire Smart (Year 8), Katie Yang (Year 9),
Deanne Xu (Year 10) and Phoebe Franich (Year 11) who were
our Year Level Leaders in 2012. Their support was invaluable.
In 2013, Phoebe Franich will be the Debating Captain.
Phoebe has been a dedicated squad member since joining
the team when she was in Year 8 and we all very much look
forward to working with her.
All of our teams performed well this year and each squad
member should make it a point to reflect on her strengths
and weaknesses so that she returns an even better debater
in 2013. During our season 16 different students received
Best Speaker Awards, which certainly reflects the high
standard of our students in the very competitive Hawthorn
region. Clearly, there is potential for future greatness!
Particular congratulations go to Margarita Ainsworth of
Year 9 who received a Certificate of Debating Excellence
this year for obtaining three DAV Best Speaker awards
during the season.
This year, at our Debater’s picnic, I spoke to the girls about
the importance of self-belief and trusting that they can be
as great and as potent on the debating floor as they would
like to be.While our debaters are talented, conscientious
and dedicated , the challenge is to extend themselves just
that bit further, to know just that little bit more, to try
something just that little bit different.
Frankly, I can’t wait.
Mr Walter Zavattiero,
Debating Co-ordinator
Annual Report 2012