Korowa's State Debater

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Grace Richardson selected for State debating team

Year 10 student Grace Richardson has been selected for the Victorian debating team and will compete in the Nationals competition in Brisbane. Grace is one of the youngest girls on the mixed sex team and has progressed from the 13-member squad to the Victorian Schools Team after trialling first for the squad, and then the team.

Grace has been debating since Year 7 when she participated in the Debating Association of Victoria's 3-week learn-to-debate Junior Secondary Program. Since then, her love of a good rebuttal has grown and she has spent a great deal of time developing her skills in the past year. Grace missed out on the Victorian squad last year, but it only made the enthusiastic and bubbly Year 10 more determined to make the team this year.

Grace is a tour de force behind the lectern, exuding a confidence that belies her youth. She credits debating as a hobby that has given her great confidence and one she has learned a lot from. As a third speaker, she crafts her team's closing argument from the side of the lectern and it only comes together in response to the arguments of her competitors. She's constantly thinking on her feet and finds debating fun, stimulating and challenging. 

Debating has its roots in the philosophical debates of Ancient Greece, but the modern form draws on the debating societies of the Age of Enlightenment in the 18th century. Three speakers per team take turns to present arguments either for or against a set topic. As a Junior debater, Grace had not yet had to deal with 'secret topics' but has been introduced to them through her training with the Victorian squad. Grace notes that general knowledge is really important for debating and it has also helped her knowledge of what is happening around the world. 

While she may not have an opinion about many of the topics she faces, her research and team's arguments are usually quite convincing. She also occasionally likes to play the devil's advocate!

Debating covers many different social issues and some have been memorable debates for Grace. In her debate on why 'We should have equal coverage of women's and men's sport' she felt moved to tears thinking of a movie about a sports team that deserved a league of their own. Gender equality is a passion for Grace but she has also enjoyed debating whether voting should be compulsory in Australia.

She encourages all girls at Korowa to try out for the state team. Grace says that she learned so much from the older students during the trial phase last year and has improved markedly in the year since. 

This year, Grace is looking forward to the new coaching sessions that are being introduced. Girls will have the opportunity to work with world-level debating coaches in tailored workshops.

And with the gift of a well-crafted argument in her arsenal, Grace is looking to a future in law, liberal arts or entertainment. 

We wish her good luck for the nationals! 


Debating at Korowa is led by our Head of Debating, Nicola Devlin. For further information about debating, please get in touch with Ms Devlin about this exciting extra-curricular program.