Rocky-like win for Greenwood College students.
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.