Deravoy Debating Team, was absolutely thrilled to reach the final of the All Island Concern Debating Competition this academic year. The core team included Leah Mc Kenna, captain, Emily Conly, Niamh Mc Kenna, Anagh Smyth, Donnacha Treanor, Ava Mc Kenna, Alannah Campbell and Aaron O’ Donnell. But they were always supported by their whole class of
fourth, fifth and sixth. It has been a year when the school competed in many debates, starting with the local schools and then celebrating the Monaghan Education Centre regional final against Arva from County Cavan. The team proceeded then to the All- Ireland Qualifier against Sooey N.S. from County Sligo. The quarter final was against Glenswilly N.S. from Letterkenny and took place in the Camden Court Hotel in Dublin. The semi-final, also held in Dublin, was against St. Colmcille’s Senior N.S in Knocklyon. There was huge excitement to have the opportunity to go to the Helix in DCU for the final debate of the year against St. Mary’s, Dunmanway in Cork.
The debating journey had many challenges, researching and finding arguments and refutes to propose or oppose the varied motions which spanned a range of soul searching topics. ‘The voting Age should be lowered to 16 in ROI/NI’. ‘If we really care about climate change, we should all fly less.’ ‘Fines should be implemented for households wasting food.’ ‘All schools should be Gaelscoileanna.’ ‘Protestors should give up on disruptive action.’ ‘Celebrity led campaigns do more harm than good for the Global South’. Ireland’s commitment to climate change is a load of hot air’. ‘Primary schools are creating global citizens”.
In the process, the children developed their research skills, critical thinking skills, presentation skills and the Concern debates also enabled them to have a deeper understanding of the global world we live in.
There were inspiring moments when the children worked very much as a team, continually supporting and motivating each other. They experienced a range of emotions when preparing and on the day of the debates; but the team felt really grateful to have been given the opportunity to represent their school, their parish and community, their county, their region and
indeed small schools. They were also grateful that they don’t have to experience many of the problems that the Global South have to endure, like food security, war and the disastrous consequences of climate change.
The team is also very appreciative of their classmates, their parents and families, the school staff, the Parents Association, the Board of Management, Drumbriston Furniture for sponsoring the treats for the final, Monaghan Education Centre and Concern Worldwide for organising the debates and for their hospitality and their encouragement. The children loved the many
messages of support and congratulations, including those from local representatives and Monaghan County Council. A special Tionól was organised in school to mark their success when all the classes performed and parents of the debaters attended. The children are invited to a prize giving day in the Concern headquarters in Dublin and a visit to the Dáil has been
organised for both teams participating in the final in July. The adventure continues!