ELOQUENT students from Laois scored a hat-trick by taking the top three places in a midlands school debating contest.
An excellent team from St Paul’s NS, Mountmellick won the local final of the 2020 primary school debating league, closely followed by a silver-tongued team from Tobar an Léinn NS, Raheen.
Students from Our Lady’s Meadow NS, Durrow scooped joint-third place in the competition, together with Shinrone NS, Co Offaly.
A total of 14 primary schools competed in the knock-out stage of the annual competition, which is organised by global aid agency Concern. The local final was held in Laois Education Centre (LEC) on Tuesday 11 February, where the standard of debating was exceptional.
The St Paul’s NS team will go on to represent the LEC in the national final on 27 April, when they will take on the winner of the Kilkenny local league.
Supporting teachers who ably put the teams through their public speaking paces were Serena Senior (principal) and Linda Onions (St Paul’s NS), Alison Hayes (Tobar an Léinn NS) and Lorraine O’Shea (Our Lady’s Meadow NS). Adjudicators were Olga Brodescu and Geraldine Carroll from Concern and retired teacher Frances Harney.
LEC director Catherine Doolan thanked all participating schools, teachers and students, the adjudicating panel, Concern for its support and Margaret Mary Grant of the LEC, who organised and co-ordinated the local competition.
Highlighting the benefits of the debating league for students, the LEC director said pupils learn how to speak in public and develop their research and linguistic skills. They also gain a deeper understanding of the global issues affecting millions of people.
On behalf of Concern and the judges, Ms Brodescu thanked the LEC for giving an important opportunity to local schools and praised the high quality of debating in the local stages, which focused on the work of the aid agency in developing countries. Concern is currently working to eradicate poverty in 25 countries across three continents.