This past year must surely rate as the finest in the history of debating at SACS. Numerous provincial and national colours were awarded, competitions were won and a very healthy interest in debating has been established.
This year we were privileged to have a provincial-level coach, Alex de Jager, come on board to help the society. What a boon he proved to be. Alex took very good debaters and turned them into great debaters. That is no idle boast. All three members of the Senior Team (David Harris, Neil du Toit and Chad Beyer) were awarded national colours in the past twelve months! David Harris travelled to Lithuania earlier last year to represent South Africa, whilst Neil du Toit travelled to Czechoslovakia, also representing our country.
Neil’s trip was particularly noteworthy in that, participating in a large international tournament, the SA team not only won, but Neil was voted Best Speaker at the tournament. This achievement cannot be overstated – Neil was voted to be one of the best debaters in the world!
As a team the Seniors took no prisoners this year. They marched on relentlessly in the major Rotary Debating League, eventually making the finals against Rustenburg Girls’ High. There were mixed feelings when Neil du Toit had to make himself unavailable for the final as he was off to Europe to debate. Nevertheless, the young Hyeon Jeong (Grade 10) more than held his own in a fascinating final where SACS convincingly won the Rotary Trophy. The Rotary chairman, an esteemed High Court judge, said any of the SACS men could hold their own in his courtroom – high praise indeed. Well done David, Chad and Hyeon!
Both the SACS and Rustenburg teams were then invited to do battle again in a Heritage Day debate, once again emphasising the esteem in which the team is held. Finally, Mr Wilson and David Harris were invited to a Rotary breakfast where the Rotarians paid tribute to SACS debating, and David was able to share some thoughts about what Rotary debating means to the schools involved.
Before we look at the Juniors, the two age-groups joined forces to participate in an inter-school Forum Discussion competition and, yet again, SACS walked away victorious!
The Juniors grew enormously in stature and experience as the year progressed, with the input of coaches Alex and Tom being most evident. By the end of the year Julian and Marcus Gawronsky, along with Luke Schwartzkopf, had obtained Western Province colours. Julian, a Grade 9 pupil, was actually chosen for a Senior provincial team! Earlier in the year Julian, Marcus and Greg Muller had travelled to Johannesburg to represent the school at the African Championships. As Grade 9s, they took on much older debaters (many in Matric) and performed very well, winning two of their debates.
Debating is alive and well at SACS and is open to any who wish to participate.