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NSW Schools Debating 2014

Discussion in 'Everything Else' started by aka_the_think, Feb 8, 2014.

  1. aka_the_think Jimmy Flynn (14)

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    This may not be a great place to have conversations about the rhetorical arts, but as far as I am aware there is no other place on the 'net that discusses school debating in Australia. Maybe I can start a trend. And besides, I figure that if cycling can be discussed, debating can too!

    For the uninitiated, debating in NSW is a highly competitive affair, indeed it is probably the most competitive state/territory in the world, let alone Australia. There are a few main competitions that run throughout the year at a school level:
    • ISDA (Independent Schools Debating Association) - ISDA is made up of 32 independent schools (as you probably figured). It is generally considered to be the most prestigious, and also the most difficult competition to win. It runs during terms 1 and 2, with competitions in all years from 5 - 12. At opens levels there are two tiers - Senior A and Senior B. Sydney Grammar is the reigning champion of the ISDA Senior A title, with an undefeated 2014.
    • GPS (Great Public Schools) - Many would be familiar with the GPS, the 124 (odd) year old academic/sporting union between Sydney Grammar, Sydney Boys High School, St. Ignatius' College (Riverview), St. Joseph's College, Newington College, The Armidale School, The Kings School, The Scots College, and Sydney Church of England Grammar School (Shore). The GPS competition is an interesting competition, as it isn't the quantity of the teams that makes it difficult to win, but rather the quality of the teams - every team is strong (generally). Sydney Grammar is the reining champion of the Opens 1st competition, they were undefeated in 2014. This competition is contested in term 3.
    • CAS (Combined Associated Schools) - The CAS, like the GPS, is a union between a number of well-know schools throughout NSW, including Cranbrook School, St. Aloysius' College, Waverley College, Trinity Grammar School, Knox Grammar School, and Barker College. Cranbrook won the competition in 2013, marking the first occasion they have done so outright. CAS debating runs in term 3.
    • CSDA (Catholic Schools Debating Association - The CSDA competition is not a particularly prestigious competition, but it is one of the largest competitions in NSW with over 200 schools competing. Our Lady of Mercy College Parramatta will defend their title in 2014. This competition runs from the later stages of Term 1, through to the start of term 3 if teams make finals.
    • CHS (Combined High School) - The CHS competition is very large, and is highly competitive. The Premier's Debating Challenge is the name given to the competition, which is administered by the Arts Unit, a department of the government that aims to provide arts-based opportunities to school-aged kids in the public education system. In the year 11 & 12 competition, Sydney Boys High School won in 2014. I honestly don't know when this competition runs, but it would be between terms 1 and 3.
    • Archdale - The Archdale competition is administered by AHIGS (Association of Heads of Independent Girls Schools), with 21 schools in it, this competition is among the most competitive in NSW. The competition runs from the later stages of term 1, through to term 2. I am not sure who the reigning champion is in the Seniors.
    • SDN (Schools Debating Network) - This is a small competition that runs in term 3 that includes St. Ignatius' College Riverview, Wenona School, Ravenswood School for Girls, Abbotsleigh School for Girls, Pymble Ladies College, Pittwater House, and Stella Maris.
    • Friday Evening Debating - I honestly don't know much about this comp, other than the fact that it takes place on a Friday Evening.
    • Eastside Debating Competition - Another comp I don't know too much about, other than that Sydney Grammar compete, and that it is mainly competed in by schools around the Eastern suburbs of Sydney.
    Clearly there is an abundance of competitions in Sydney, and I am sure that there are many more that I haven't named.
    In addition, there is a large amount of representative debating that takes place around Sydney, including fixtures between GPS, CAS, Archdale, and CHS merit representative teams.
    Perhaps most importantly, there is a NSW-wide representative team, the aptly named NSW Schools Debating team, which has won the most Australian Schools Championships (out of all the states and territories) by a fair margin. Beyond that, there is an Australian Schools team, which competes at a World Schools Debating Championship, which, thankfully, Australia has won the most of, again by a fair margin.
    On a side-note Sydney University are ranked number 1 in the world (out of all universities) and consistently perform well at World University Debating Championships, further reinforcing this idea that NSW is a strong debating state.

    For what it's worth, I think Riverview will have a very strong 1sts Debating side this year, so watch out for them in the ISDA Senior A, and GPS 1sts competitions. Sydney Grammar will obviously field a strong side, as they always do, and schools like Barker, St. Aloysius', Scots, Roseville Girls, SCEGGS Darlinghurst, PLC, Monte, Loreto Kirribilli, MLC, and many others, are bound to be incredibly strong.

    If you have any thoughts, contribute, I don't want to be the only person monitoring these forums.
  2. Hugh Jarse Rocky Elsom (76)

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    The great oracle that is wikipedia says this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athletic_Association_of_the_Great_Public_Schools_of_New_South_Wales
    Make AAGPS 1st rep teams in a summer and winter sport AND debating gets you a gold blazer.
  3. aka_the_think Jimmy Flynn (14)

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    I hadn't heard of that - at Riverview there is a similar rumour that if a student captains 3 separate Riverview teams to GPS premierships (e.g. Rugby, Athletics, Rowing), then they receive a White blazer. I don't think this scenario has ever occurred, and it isn't written in any official documents, so it is widely viewed as false.

    Out of curiosity, has anyone ever achieved this?

    I know of a Riverview student a few years ago who was in firsts debating, rugby and the senior athletics team - I am pretty sure he won the premierships/championship for all 3.
  4. Inside Groin Frank Row (1)

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    This is legit. There is one such blazer framed on display in the Weigall pavilion.

    My bet for the ISDA would be for Grammar to take it back to back. They didn't lose a single debate last year, and although they lost most of their team to graduation, their captain has already debated two years in the Australian team.

    They should also breeze through the GPS. SCEGGS are a fairly strong chance to take out Eastside in first semester as they enter their first grade teams in that competition. CAS and Archdale are likely to be quite open affairs, but expect the public school competitions to be dominated by Sydney Boys and Sydney Girls as they are the only schools that invest in a real sense.
    aka_the_think likes this.
  5. Inside Groin Frank Row (1)

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    Archdale is a Semester 2 competition that runs more or less concurrently with GPS and CAS. Eastside is scheduled to begin on March 14th but Grammar v SCEGGS was actually held tonight because of a scheduling clash. SCEGGS enter their top grade team in Eastside as they are inexplicably not part of the ISDA. Tonight they beat Grammar 3rds which means it will probably be between them and Sydney Girls to win the division.

    The Grammar 2nds did not make the final rounds of ISDA last year, and many of those boys will have graduated to the 1sts this year. However that age group does have a fair amount of GPS and ISDA wins to their name over the years. Of course it would be foolish to discount Riverview, they are always thereabouts in the GPS competition, but apparently they do not select full strength ISDA teams any more?

    Scots have benefited from some very good coaches over the last few years and that will only start showing more and more as the junior boys progress up the divisions.
  6. Inside Groin Frank Row (1)

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    SCEGGS put their top team into both Eastside and Archdale in the first and second halves of the year respectively. Bit of a shame they aren't in ISDA as they are leagues ahead of some of the bottom teams in that competition. One of the SCEGGS team was a NSW reserve last year, as was one girl from SGHS.

    No results yet. Should be interesting to see how the first round plays out.
  7. aka_the_think Jimmy Flynn (14)

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    Yea I was aware of Theodora Von Armin being in NSW reserve, she's from SGHS right? Who was the SCEGGS reserve?

    In terms of results, so far I have:
    Riverview clean sweep of St Andrews from Senior A - Year 7.
    Shore defeated MLC in Senior A and B.
    Grammar clean sweep of Kings from Senior A - Year 7.
    Ravenswood defeated Stella Marris in Senior A and B.
    Loreto Kirribilli defeated St Augustines in Senior A and B.
  8. Inside Shoulder Nathan Sharpe (72)

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    Really?
    I've been going in there for 44 years and haven't seen it - they must take it down when they see me coming and put Phil Harry's in its place
  9. Inside Shoulder Nathan Sharpe (72)

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    DubboDemon there is no such thing at weigall on display.
    How many accounts are you running on this site?
  10. DubboDemon Bob McCowan (2)

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    Inside Shoulder, I don't quite know why you would suggest this, I assure you this is my singular account.
    In regards to the blazer, I never suggested that one was in existence at Weigall, I was only confirming Hugh Jarse had said in regards to their being such an institution. The comments about the display at Weigall came from Inside Groin, and due to my not attending those grounds for several years, I am unable to make comment on such a display existing. My post which has subsequently been deleted only contained my hopes that any such rumour could be substantiated (about whether one was actually on display). I apologise if you misconstrued my post, and hope that this is a reasoned response that does not deserve deletion.

    I would also ask that my previous post be restored, as it contained discussions that I hoped would be answered.
  11. Scythe Larry Dwyer (12)

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    The great white blazer ey, grammar look set this year. Any knowledge on the CAS schools in ISDA with barker and Aloysius tending to be the strongest historically


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  12. Hugh Jarse Rocky Elsom (76)

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    @dubboDemon, I would suggest that you repost your previous post, and when you do so I would encourage you to limit that repost to the discussion points you seek answers to.

    Prior to that I would commend you to familiarise your self with the forum rules, particularly the ones related to playing the man.

    As tempting as it is to make fun of other posters, the mods (and most readers) take a dim view of that. Twitter, facebook, snapchat, and other similar communication platforms are probably more suitable for those sorts of activities.
    aka_the_think likes this.
  13. DubboDemon Bob McCowan (2)

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    I am well aware of St Aloysius are one of the strongest teams historically, though recently SGS has also had a resurgence of form. Riverview, another historically strong school, has been weaker recently, but promising younger cohorts coming through hint at a brighter future. Aloys however have struggled at times in the very recent past, including the loss of the prestigious Fr Charles Macdonald Debate in 2013 (a Riverview vs. Aloys debate), and also succumbing in the National JEsuit Debating Carnival, losing to teams outside of NSW. Riverview then went on to win that competition, yet still struggled in the ISDA competition that year. In GPS the Riverview 1sts did well to come a close second to a Grammar team that was always the front runners, finishing the season at 6-1.

    Does anyone know how Grammar could go this year, as they certainly lost most of their 1st team to University this year. Also the same for Aloys and View would be great.
  14. Scythe Larry Dwyer (12)

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    From what I saw briefly the last two years have been particularly weak for some of the CAS schools with last year Cranbrook winning the title more so due to the fact they they were the best average performer in a dead horse race

    If view was to verse any CAS school this year I would say they have a good chance of winning - with Aloys and Cranbrook possibly being even worse that last year. Barker should have a resurgence and would say Knox are the only team who will give them a run for their money


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  15. DubboDemon Bob McCowan (2)

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    Its interesting to here that Aloys is so far down in its usual competitions, as it often still dominates in ISDA debating. Maybe the standard of GPS vs. CAS is something that might be discussed. I ever only had experience in ISDA and GPS debating, and recognised that ISDA was clearly a tougher competition, but perhaps GPS and CAS are no longer similar in terms of competitiveness or skill level?
  16. yourmatesam Dick Tooth (41)

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    It's fitting that a Grammar boy has been awarded the gold blazer. Without discounting the difficulty of making the 1sts for Soccer/Rugby and Rowing/Cricket/Senior Aths and Debating, the likelihood of this happening at Grammar is surely higher than other schools given the high academic achievements of students from Grammar.

    From my understanding of the GPS Sports, generally speaking, the player who makes 1st XI and 1st XV is generally a fringe player. To be a debating gun as well as a handy sportsman would be too much.
  17. aka_the_think Jimmy Flynn (14)

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    The blazer requires you to have made the 1sts side in Debating, a winter sport, and a summer sport. Getting into these teams is contingent on your performance as an individual within the entire GPS competition, not based on the supposed weakness of your school relative to the rest of the competition. The difficulty of achieving this honour, therefore, needs no further explanation.

    There has been a lot of discussion about the CAS competition. As far as I am aware this is quite a strong competition - Barker and Aloys are routinely among the best schools in NSW, as proven by Aloys wins in 2011, 2010, and 2008, and Barker's in 2012. The CAS competition regularly produces excellent debaters - Harry Jones, from Knox, was in last year's NSW side, while Bo Seo, from Barker, represented Australia in both 2011 and 2012, and Daniel Farinha, from Aloys, represented NSW recently, and was among the world's best speakers this year at WUDC. Further, Adam Spencer, whose alma mater is Aloys, is considered one of the greatest debaters in Australian history.
    In terms of the CAS' strength relative to GPS - generally speaking the GPS is stronger. The GPS side last year was particularly strong, due to the might of the Grammar 1sts, so they made short work of their CAS opposition. CAS schools have won 6 ISDA Senior A championships, while GPS schools have won 11. It wouldn't be wrong to say that GPS is stronger than CAS, but it is unfair to discredit the strength of the CAS - they are both great competitions.

    DubboDemon was to an extent right to point out Aloys' recent string of disappointing results, but it should be viewed as disappointing only relative to their previous dominance, i.e. two consecutive ISDA titles in 2010 and 11. It is true that they lost to Riverview in last year's Fr. Charles McDonald debate, though, to be fair, this is a historical norm, and it is also true that they didn't win the Jesuit Carnival last year, but again, this is more inline with the historical situation whereby Riverview have dominated these competitions. For the record, Riverview did not deserve to win last year's Fr. Charles McDonald debate, Aloys were rubbed.
    It does not appear as if Aloys have a particularly strong Senior A side this year - their results have not been amazing, but I suppose we'll find out this Friday evening whether they meet their "yardstick" of success - defeating Riverview.

    Does anyone have any info. on recent ISDA results?
  18. Inside Groin Frank Row (1)

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    I retract my claim that the Gold Blazer is on display. Having spent literally countless hours in that Weigall Pavilion, I could have sworn on my life that it existed but, to my surprise, it is not there. I will maintain that I have seen an example framed at some school, probably Grammar, but I can't remember where for the life of me. Feel free to regard my comments as more unsubstantiated rumours on this topic.

    As much as I'd love to believe that there was a dual NSW rep in Debating and Union, I should point out that Harry Jones is neither a Knox boy nor a debater.

    I would say the GPS and CAS competitions are roughly equal in competitiveness except at the very top. The representative results speak to this, but only so far as to say that the three best GPS speakers were stronger than the three best CAS speakers. I wouldn't expect a huge difference between the middle GPS school and its CAS equivalent.
  19. aka_the_think Jimmy Flynn (14)

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    My bad, it's Harry Rogers - one can find switching between Rugby mode and Debating mode difficult on these forums.
  20. DubboDemon Bob McCowan (2)

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    No harm was done by the Blazer mystery. Although not a regular of the Weigall fields, I am sure that many displays must have been shown over the years, so the rotation of that blazer out of viewing is not out of the question.

    More pressing, @aka_the_think, why do you think that Aloys were robbed? I was not at last years debate, a shame I must say as I love the spectacle, so I only seek what your opinion is. And also, you seem to have a negative view of Riverview's open age chances this year, despite mentioning in earlier posts that they "will have a very strong 1sts Debating side this year", only to later lampoon the team selection. Was this view reflected in the early rounds for both Senior ISDA A and B?

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