Tuesday 20 March 2018

Bettystown students prove they are best at making their point!

Despite its humble beginnings in the Neptune Hotel, The Coláiste na hInse Debating Society has risen over the past seven years to become one of the most established societies in the country. Founded by David Hopkins in 2009, the society has earned a reputation that has taken other "Big" debating schools, decades to procure.

The society began with a dream of introducing students to the art of argumentation, oratory and subtly intelligent puns. Second Year Student Helena Geoghegan brought the Coláiste to victory in its very first year of debating by winning the prestigious Junior Schools Debating Competition, run by the Literary and Historical Society in UCD and the biggest competition of its kind in Europe.

Seven years later and the legacy is continuing to grow. Now a student run society, more experienced senior students mentor junior speakers through near daily meetings . Every year elections are held for a new Auditor, Deputy Auditor and Development Officer who are charged with organising internal competitions and overseeing the coaching of the younger speakers. This year the committee, overseen by Auditor Ciara Robinson Fry, organised the first leg of the Junior Debating National Mace.

Every Wednesday, room B29 becomes overrun with Junior and Senior Students alike, who meet to discuss upcoming debates, topical issues and Donald Trump. Thursday lunchtimes bear witness to Senior 'Think Tank', a time of frantic political debate and relentless competition preparation.

Despite being outside the Debating Capital of South Dublin, the system appears to be working, with the Coláiste's debaters are racking up the awards. Among them Junior Winner 2013 Oisin Moloney, Best 1st Year Speaker in Ireland 2013 Eoghan Boland, All Ireland Runner- Up 2014 Katya Zacepina, Junior Schools Champions, Daniel Molloy and Saoirse O'Donnell, Leinster Junior Winner 2015, Aoife Walker, Junior Schools Runners-Up 2015, Aoife Walker and Eoghan Boland, and Senior Schools Winner 2016 Calem Martin.

Currently the Coláiste is ranked as one of the top debating schools in the country. This year alone fifth year student Aoife Walker secured the prize for National Oratory Champion at the Matheson National Debating Championships. Third year students Aoife Cronin and Eve White are representing the Coláiste in the Final of the Junior Schools Debating Competition. Eolain Downey, Eoghan Boland and Calem Martin represented the Coláiste in the Leinster Final of the All-Ireland Senior Schools Debating Competition and first year Laragh Phillips was just this weekend announced as the Best First Year Debater in the Country.

Never a group to drop the momentum though, the Coláiste's debaters are gearing up for another hectic month of competitions. With a Fifth Year team currently preparing for the Semi-final of the Coke Zero Gr8 Debate and an Internal Pro-Am Competition,

Aoife Walker. Fifth year and deputy auditor of the debating society

Drogheda Independent