Hol­ly­wood end­ing

Rocky-like win for Green­wood Col­lege stu­dents.

Joondalup Weekender - - Front Page - Laura Pond

IN a story straight out of Hol­ly­wood, Green­wood Col­lege stu­dents won the WA De­bat­ing League’s novice grand final.

The team of five Year 8 stu­dents stormed un­de­feated into Tuesday night’s final against Perth Mod­ern School.

Jacque Wal­ters, As­maa Hameed, Cyrine Almod­ovar, Kon­rad Dumple­ton and Ann Cao had not de­bated be­fore this year and their story is more im­pres­sive as three of the five mem­bers come from non-English speak­ing homes.

Iraqi-born As­maa won best speaker at the de­bate de­spite learn­ing English less than three years ago.

“I’m re­ally ex­cited and ex­hausted,” she said.

She started de­bat­ing to work on her pub­lic speak­ing and English skills and felt proud to win the award.

The team formed late last year af­ter Year 11 stu­dent and coach Mar­cel Masque Sal­gado ap­proached teach­ers Ela Amor-Robert­son and Ali­son McDon­ald to start a school de­bat­ing club.

They be­gan learn­ing about de­bat­ing via the league hand­book, YouTube videos and Ms Amor-Robert­son’s first-hand ex­pe­ri­ence, meet­ing weekly through­out the year and de­vot­ing af­ter school hours and week­ends to pre­par­ing.

“I feel just amazed and in­cred­i­bly proud,” Ms AmorRobert­son said.

“It’s not about win­ning, these stu­dents have a gen­uine pas­sion for learn­ing, for par­tic­i­pat­ing in ex­tra-cur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties and we’re proud to be able to of­fer that to them.

“I don’t know what the key to suc­cess has been. I guess pas­sion is the an­swer.”

The team was among more than 160 com­pet­ing from schools in­clud­ing Pres­by­te­rian Ladies Col­lege, Christ Church Grammar School, St Hilda’s Anglican School for Girls and Scotch Col­lege.

Ms Amor-Robert­son said it had been “at times in­tim­i­dat­ing” but the stu­dents had adopted a motto of “ner­vous but em­pow­ered”.

She said they were pinch­ing them­selves af­ter the win.

“We were re­ally thrilled with the per­for­mance on the night,” she said. “They had been do­ing a lot of re­hearsals but none re­ally came close to be­ing as great as they were on the night.”

As­maa Hameed, Jacque Wal­ters, Cyrine Almod­ovar, Kon­rad Dumple­ton and Ann Cao with coach Mar­cel Masque Sal­gado.

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