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Dingwall Academy pupils triumph as first-ever winners of Highland Schools Summer Debating Competition

By Iona M.J. MacDonald

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Students Dougal Masterson and Erica Steel of Dingwall Academy, with Sarah Lilley of Brodies LLP.
Students Dougal Masterson and Erica Steel of Dingwall Academy, with Sarah Lilley of Brodies LLP.

Dingwall Academy pupils have triumphed as the first-ever winners of a new debating competition, which saw eight schools from across the Highlands compete in the inaugural event.

The Highland Schools Summer Debating Competition took place for the first time on June 19 in the Dingwall Council Chambers, and saw secondary school pupils come to together to compete, from schools including: Charleston Academy, Invergordon Academy, Grantown Grammar School, Thurso High School, Ardnamurchan and Strontian Cluster, Inverness Royal Academy and Nairn Academy. Topics up for debate included tourism, ‘tiger parenting’ and voting rights.

In the final round of the day-long competition, Dingwall Academy pupils triumphed over the other finalists from Ardnamurchan, Grantown and Thurso.

The event was organised by Alasdair Clarkson, the religious, moral and philosophical studies teacher at Inverness Royal Academy, and Kathleen McKie, the RME and philosophy teacher at Invergordon Academy.

Kathleen McKie said: "I would like to congratulate all students for their hard work and commitment to delivering a high standard of debate and discussion. The intent behind organising the competition was to promote competitive debate, logical thinking, public speaking and to give students across the region more opportunities to develop these skills. We're keen to build on this year's success and make it an annual event.

"I am really grateful to Highland Council for use of its fantastic venue; Young Speakers Scotland for its encouragement, continuous advice and expert organisation on the day and of course, Brodies LLP for such strong support and endorsement of both the event and the young people’s continued development of debating and oracy skills.”

Brodies' family law partner and judging panel member, Sarah Lilley said: "Brodies is delighted to sponsor the inaugural Highland Schools Summer Debating Competition. The standard of debate has been excellent and is testament to the young talent that we have here in the Highlands. Debating encourages the development of valuable skills that are applicable to a wide variety of careers, including law, and it's important to enable young people to build these skillsets now, to open the door to future opportunities."

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