Debating has been at the core of Westlake’s extra-curricular activities for many years and has grown in numbers year on year. Students can begin their debating journey in year 9, with many choosing to continue in the debating programme until year 13, with some individuals and teams excelling. Debating runs throughout the whole school year, and we participate in competitions and tournaments organised and run by Auckland Schools Debating. Teams are managed and coached by a range of teachers, with some junior teams also being coached by senior debaters. This leadership opportunity for our Premier debaters has been a huge success and is something we intend on continuing to develop.
Due to Covid, many of the debating competitions moved online so to ensure our younger debaters can experience debating in person, this year we have run in-house debating at lunchtimes. We hope that all grades and year levels will be able to return to interschool and in-person debating next year.
Debating is a great extra-curricular activity that encourages team work, develops critical thinking and public speaking skills. In preparing for debates, students develop their general knowledge and interest in a wide range of topics from politics to sport, culture to ethics, and everything else in between.
Many debaters carry on the activity at university level, and we have also seen many previous Premier and Open Advanced debaters go into careers such as law, medicine and engineering. The skills you develop as a debater are very useful in all walks of life.
We have had much success so far this year. Our current First Premier Advanced Team won the 2022 Auckland Schools Regionals Debating Tournament, the 2022 Auckland Schools Seasonal Debating Tournament, the 2021 New Zealand Schools Development Championships, and the 2020 Auckland Premier Junior Debating Championships. Individually, our team captain, Deputy Head Boy Hunter Haynes, has often been named as best speaker, and this led to his selection for the Auckland regional team at the 2022 New Zealand Schools’ National Championships.