One point away from a win in NAIDOC debate

DUBBO College South Campus was just one point away from winning a debate about the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Dubbo earlier this week.

Narrowly losing to Cowra High School, South Campus did well in the debating component of the Western NSW NAIDOC Public Speaking and Debating Challenge.

Wallerawang Public School from Bathurst was the victor of the public speaking part of the day.

The South Campus students involved in the day were year 9 student Jessica Skinner and year 10 students Nathan Bryon, Leticia Quince and Rachael Baker.

Four students from 14 schools, which included Dubbo College Delroy Campus and Dubbo South Public School, took part.

Two were Indigenous and two non-Indigenous, the intention of organiser Dean Murray in planning the Bangamalanha Centre event.

"I'm happy with the way the challenge was set up, particularly with the topic that was hotly-debated," he said.

The NAIDOC topic was 'Spirit of the Tent Embassy: 40 Years On', which in conjunction with the embassy's 40th anniversary, saw students speak about themes based on the event that started it all in 1972.

Secondary debaters argued whether or not the Tent Embassy should be demolished.

The presence of original ambassador Michael Anderson, who was a special guest of the debate, inspired the students to give it their all.

Mr Murray said Mr Anderson touched on more than what students had studied ahead of the challenge.

"Michael talked about the embassy from a more personal angle and enlightened the students,"?he said.

For many of the schools, the challenge was a first for students as they had never participated in a debate or public speaking. Mr Murray said he hoped to introduce more school education groups in later years, to once again tackle a serious NAIDOC theme.

"Indigenous students weren't solely targeted for this event, which is why we wanted to include non-Indigenous students as well. The Tent Embassy theme worked out well and played an integral part of the day," he said.

anthony.cini@ruralpress.com

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