The Schools Challenge Debate is a major part of the Commonwealth Day celebrations in New South Wales each year. In 2010 the theme was “Science, Technology and Society.”.
Two teams, the New South Wales Public Schools Team and the Archdale Team, debated this motion: “That Science and Technology have enhanced Society.
The NSW Team – Max Phillis from Sydney Boys High School , Beba Cibralic from Macquarie Fields High School and Christopher Walsh from Normanhurst Boys High School, with Lloyd Cameron as Debate Team Leader – argued the affirmative case.
The Archdale Team – Stephanie White from Abbotsleigh, Rosie Connolly from SCEGS Darlinghurst and Carolyn Harris from Kambala , with Claire Duffy as Debate Team Leader – argued the negative case.
The debate was held in the beautiful Legislative Assembly chamber in the New South Wales Parliament. This no doubt encouraged the debaters whose performance was formidable, and that made the decision of the adjudicators particularly difficult.
The adjudicators were The Hon. Max Willis RFD ED CSI, former President of the NSW Legislative Council , Paul Scully-Power AM DSM, and Professor David Flint AM. Professor Flint also chaired the debate.
During the Gala Lunch which followed the debate, in the presence of the Governor, Professor Bashir, members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps, and of Parliament, the Hon. Max Willis announced that the Archdale Team had won. The adjudicators stressed that both teams had done very well, and coming to their decisions was difficult.
Each member of the winning team received $200 and each member of the runner up $100, donated by Mr. Willis.
In “Stephanie can talk people into believing technology isn’t good” the North Shore Times (23/30) featured a report on debater Stephanie White. “Don’t argue with Stephanie White,” it said.
” You won’t win – not a chance.”
“The year 11 Abbotsleigh student has demonstrated her formidable way with words convincing debate judges, including legal luminary Professor David Flint, that science and technology had not enhanced society.”
“Stephanie, 15, was second to speak in the Archdale debating team that won the Commonwealth Day debate at State Parliament early this month.”
“She and Carolyn Harris (Kambala) and Rosie Connolly (SCEGGS Darlinghurst) were chosen from hundreds of NSW debaters to take on a Combined Schools team.”
“To convince the judges the girls used examples from warfare, health and the environment.” “’It was definitely a difficult position to take, but we were able to convince the judges unanimously,’ ” Stephanie said.
“’The standard of the debate was very high and all the arguments were sophisticated.’”
Since 1977, Commonwealth Day has been celebrated throughout the Commonwealth on the second Monday in March. The Queen attends an inter-denominational service held in Westminster Abbey, followed by a reception hosted by the Commonwealth Secretary-General.
The Royal site recalls that modern communications technology allows The Queen to speak to every part of the Commonwealth through her annual Christmas and Commonwealth Day messages.
Both messages are delivered by The Queen as Head of the Commonwealth to the peoples of the Commonwealth as a whole. They are special in that they reflect Her Majesty's personal views and are not drafted on ministerial advice.
In the video below of her 2010 address, Her Majesty speaks about the role of science and technology in the Commonwealth.
…Celebrations in Sydney…
Each year the Commonwealth Day Council of New South Wales, a voluntary body, celebrates Commonwealth Day at Parliament House in Sydney. This includes a Gala Lunch.
During the lunch in 2010, which was attended by the debating teams, MP’s and consular and diplomatic representatives, Her Excellency the Governor of New South Wales, Professor Marie Bashir, read the Commonwealth Day Message from Her Majesty The Queen.
Earlier she had reviewed the Scots College pipe band and lines of students bearing the fifty four flags of the members of the Commonwealth.