A matter of debate

GERRINGONG Primary School's year 6 debating team will compete in the state finals of the NSW Premier's Debating Challenge in October.

The team was crowned regional champions last month.

Forty-eight schools entered the Illawarra and South Coast region competition. Ten went on to debate at a camp held at Batemans Bay, where Gerringong's team of Katie Vicary, Cassidy Morris, Rosie Dingle-Moss and Finlay Flanagan came out as unexpected winners.

The Gerringong team was only formed this year.

Given their minimal experience, the students didn't think they had much chance of winning.

Gerringong defeated Braidwood Central School before facing Sussex Inlet Public School in the semi-finals.

Then followed a match-up against the highly fancied Wollongong Opportunity Class team.

In the final, Gerringong successfully argued the negative - that parents should supervise their children when using the internet.

Students from the 10 schools undertook a series of workshops during camp, allowing them to refine their techniques, something the Gerringong team was most grateful for.

"We learnt how to construct our rebuttal instead of just chucking it in there," Cassidy said.

Katie said the team enjoyed meeting new people, although it was strange having to compete against them later.

"It was weird, we made new friends, then had to debate them," she said.

Finlay said the team's relaxed nature helped them, but they also had their debating approach settled before the final.

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