On Wednesday 21 October, St Leonard’s College year 12 debaters Kate Garrow, Dion Karakiklas, Edie McAsey and Josh Staley won the Grand Final of the Debaters Association of Victoria Schools Competition.
The DAV Schools Competition Grand Final is the highest level of the largest debating competition in the English-speaking world. Over 10,000 students from 269 schools begin the competition at the start of the year, and by late October there are only two teams left.
Kate, Dion, Edie and Josh convincingly defeated Wesley College in the A Grade Grand Final, drawing the affirmative side of the topic ‘That the government should not legally recognise any long term romantic relationship’. They successfully argued that any form of marriage or civil union should be abolished and stripped of any legal meaning. Running a hard-line case, they were able to set up the topic as a verdict on the best way to ensure adaptability and equality in the rapidly evolving landscape of modern relationships and family structures. The result was clear 4:1 decision in favour of the St Leonard’s team in a debate of extremely high-quality with truly brilliant arguments produced by all of our debaters.
The debate was a fitting send-off to our year 12 debaters and capped off not only an outstanding year of debating, but some truly exceptional public speaking careers throughout their time at the College. This was Kate and Dion’s second Grand Final win, having been part of the team who won the year 10 Grand Final in 2013. Edie and Kate both represented Australia at the World Individual Debating and Public Speaking Championships, and Kate was awarded the 2015 DAV Competition Swannie Award for being the best debater in the A Grade of the Victorian competition just a week beforehand.
This is a truly outstanding achievement, and rightly recognises Kate, Dion, Edie and Josh as some of the most talented young debaters in the state.