“We are very proud to have you as our winners for Kildare and especially All Ireland winners,” proclaimed Kildare Education Centre Director Dolores Hamill as she addressed the gathering at Two Mile House in honour of the newly crowned national champions last Wednesday April 30.
“I was amazed at the capacity and the capabilities the pupils had. They did themselves proud and learned so many new skills along the way.”
The six students from fifth and sixth class - Erica Byrne, Adam Conneely, Hanah Conroy, Niamh Coyle, Luke Coy and Megan McLoughlin - were presented with medals and plaques for winning the Kildare final, the inter regional final and the All Ireland final. Guided by teachers, Margaret McMahon and Chris Grehan, the team put in a huge amountof work to negotiate five rounds on their way to the final where they defeated Ballybay from Co. Monaghan.
The competition was facilitated by the Education Centres of Ireland with 228 schools taking part from across the country. Twelve Kildare schools entered with the aid of the Kildare Education Centre.
The competition is supported by Primary Debating Ireland and Concern. The objective is to enrich the children’s cognitive and language abilities as well as encouraging confidence and critical thinking. Mr Grehan told the pupils, teachers and guests that the whole process was an amazing challenge.
Some of the motions up for debate were: “Climate change is not a problem”, “Ipads should replace school books”, Social networking sites do more good than bad”, and “Ireland is a good country to live in for older people”.
The team lost to Ballybay of Monaghan at the quarter final stage but got a wildcard through to the finals at UCD on April 7 where they won their semi final to face Ballybay once more. This time, they reversed their fortunes by proposing the motion “Zoos should be banned.”
Principal Caitlin O’Connor thanked the Kildare Education Centre, Mr Grehan and Ms McMahon and the parents for their support. She paid tribute to the pupils for their dedication.