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Primary school students crowned All-Ireland debating champions
IRELAND’S top prize for young debaters has been scooped by a Cork primary school team after they won the All-Ireland Concern Primary Debates final.
St. Mary’s Senior Girls National School from Dunmanway were one of over 230 school teams from across the country who took part in the competition.
The debating champions, who are all aged 12, defeated the Deravoy National School team from Carrickroe , Monaghan after successfully opposing the motion that ‘primary schools are creating caring global citizens.’
They were presented with their winning trophy by representatives from the humanitarian organisation Concern Worldwide, which runs the contest as part of its drive to encourage further debate about global issues among young people.
This is the second year in a row that the competition was won by a school from Cork after Ardfield National School, Clonakilty became the 2022 Concern Primary Debates champions.
St. Mary’s team captain Danielle Crowley-Healy praised her team members Lauren Mawe-Downey and Georgina Farr and thanked their families, teachers and friends for all their support.
“We are delighted. It’s been a fantastic experience,” said team captain Danielle after the final on Thursday evening.
The team’s mentor and class teacher Mairead Twohig said the whole school and community are very proud of what they have achieved.
“I cannot put into words how proud we all are of these wonderful girls. They did so much hard work and to see it rewarded is fantastic,” she said.
“We are also proud that we are the second school from West Cork to have won this competition.
“These debates give children so much confidence. In this world today we have to be able to speak up and have that presence whether it is at a meeting or on stage and this gives them that opportunity and they learn from each other.”
The Deravoy National School team mentor, Hilda McManus, also praised her team’s efforts saying “they did fantastically well” and that the entire community is proud of them.
The runners-up were captain Leah McKenna (12), Emily Conly (12) and Niamh McKenna (11).
Concern’s Head of Active Citizenship, Michael Doorly, praised all teams which took part in the competition and thanked their teachers and family members for their support.
“We created this competition to get students thinking and talking about global issues and to give them skills and experiences that will benefit them through life,” he said.
"You can see the skills they have developed like critical thinking and public speaking, and the empathy they have for other points of view, which is so important.
“Hopefully, they will become life-long advocates on behalf of the most disadvantaged people in the world.”
The competition is run in partnership with education support centres across the country with funding from the Government’s overseas development agency Irish Aid.
Anyone who would like their school to take part in next year’s competition is asked to ring 01 417 7733 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, please contact Kevin Jenkinson by email: email@example.com.
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