It was a great privilege to travel with four wonderful senior students to St Ignatius College Athelstone, (Adelaide). Thomas Paparo, Roberto Vitali-Lawn, Amelia MacMillan and Bella Spiro- Harrison did John XXIII College proud in not only their debating pursuits but also the way they conducted themselves, engaging with students and staff from all the Colleges. Tom Paparo was named in the Jesuit All Australian Debating team and Roberto Vitali- Lawn was awarded the Loyola spirit award for the way he engaged and embraced the carnival. For further information Tom, has written a detailed report below.
Assistant Deputy Principal - Year 9
Jesuit Debating Conference Adelaide
At the end of Term Two, it was no rest for four students and one teacher as they flew off to Adelaide on 1 July, for the Australian Jesuit Schools’ Debating Carnival hosted by St Ignatius College, Athelstone.
The Australian Jesuit Schools Debating Carnival is an annual debating competition between Jesuit and Companion Jesuit schools with the aim of fostering a high level of debating, team spirit, understanding of Jesuit culture, and the creation of lifelong friendships with like-minded students. The Carnival brings together eight Jesuit and Companion Jesuit schools: St Aloysius Milsons Point (NSW), St Ignatius College Athelstone (SA), St Ignatius Riverview (NSW), Loyola College Watsonia (VIC), Xavier Catholic College Hervey Bay (QLD), Xavier College Kew (VIC), Loyola Senior High School Mount Druitt (NSW) and John XXIII College(WA).
The carnival was held over three days, consisting of three rounds of impromptu debates and then the finals. The topics all had themes relating to societal ideas and problems, with a uniquely Jesuit viewpoint.
The John XXIII College team arrived on the Saturday afternoon before the start of the carnival on Sunday Morning. Sunday, Day 1 of competition, began with a Mass in St Ignatius College’s Chapel of the Holy Name. After lunch and mingling, the day then ended with round one, with the topic “That we should forcibly evacuate people during disasters in naturally prone areas”, with John XXIII affirming the motion. Going up against the home team, St Ignatius College, John XXIII clinched the win by a small margin.
Day 2 had rounds two and three. In the morning, the John XXIII team went up against Loyola Senior High School, Mt Druitt, the reigning champions going into the competition, on the topic “That streaming services should have a minimum content of Australian content”, with John XXIII once again affirming the motion. In what was a quite an even debate, John XXIII came out with another win.
After lunch, it was then into round three against St Aloysius, Milson Point, on the topic “That gender quotas for tertiary courses are a necessity”, with John XXIII against the motion. This was a critical debate: a win would result in a clean sweep, moving John XXIII cleanly into the Grand Final from Pool B, but a loss would result in a three-way tie for moving onto the Grand Final, that would need to be decided on win/loss point margins. After a hard-fought debate, the debate was awarded, on the narrowest of margins, to St Aloysius, winning by only one point. This left the competition hung, with three teams vying for first place in Pool B. After a nervous wait while numbers were being calculated, John XXIII came out on top of Pool B, by only one point over St Aloysius. John XXIII had come first in Pool B, moving us on to the Grand Final the following day against Xavier, Kew.
Day 3 started with watching the finals for 3rd, 5th and 7th. Afterwards it was straight off to coin toss and preparation time. The topic was “That political factions are good for democracy”, with John XXIII affirming the motion. After the hour preparation, it was off to the St Ignatius’ newly constructed Theatre and Performing Arts Complex to debate on the ‘grand stage’. After an hour of debating, it was down to the adjudicators. Xavier Kew, had won. It was a hard-fought, high-standard debate, one in which both sides could be very proud.
The John XXIII College team, consisting of Captain Thomas Paparo, Amelia MacMillan, Bella Spiro-Harrison, Roberto Vitali-Lawn - ably assisted by Coach Ms Wooltorton - who debated together for the first time this year in the State Debating Competition, and spent many hours training for the very unique carnival which showed in their performance. This was John XXIII College’s fifth year attending the Carnival, a competition bringing together eight of the country’s best debating schools, so it was an amazing achievement for the John XXIII team to make it to the Grand Final, and subsequently to come second overall. It was also the first time a Companion school had been in the Grand Final. Although not coming first at the carnival, the team and all teams present were the real winners. They all gained so much knowledge and experience, but most importantly, made friendships that will truly last a life time, with like-minded students, separated across Australia, but united in their shared commonality. The team would not be what they were if not for the help, guidance, coaching and organisation of Ms Wooltorton, Dr Pedersen, William Paparo, Mr Lloyd and the rest of the College community.
We extend our grateful thanks to St Ignatius College, Athelstone, for hosting and organising such an amazing carnival. Not only was the debating side of the carnival of an incredibly high standard, but, the environment of the carnival was so welcoming to all. A special thanks to the Head of Debating at St Ignatius, Mr Haskell, to the Year 11 and 12 student leaders, and Year 7 and 8 students from St Ignatius who were time-keepers and chaired the debates, for welcoming us so warmly into their school.
We look forward to next year's carnival with a new team and new faces, to be hosted at St Ignatius College, in Sydney.