Debating is very strong at St. John’s College with Senior and Junior debating teams.

Senior Teacher in Charge: Mrs Lyndie Balfour

Junior Teacher in Charge: Mr Kieran Spring

2019 Senior Debating Teams.

Our 2019 Senior A Debating Team included Tim Donkin, Liam Brown and Jayden Gordon and were coached by Mrs Balfour. This team won their O’Shea Shield debate, gaining a valuable Excellence grade. Asked how they felt about their year, Liam Brown said, ‘This year has undoubtedly one of the best years of debating that I have had, purely because of how much fun it was. I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to debate amongst the students from SJC.’ Tim Donkin wrote, ‘I found this year’s debating challenging, but I thoroughly enjoyed it, as it allowed me to hone my skills.’ According to Jayden Gordon, ‘This year has been a major step up into a more competitive debating environment. At times I have found it challenging but have enjoyed the competition and learnt new skills.’


The Senior B Team, also coached by Mrs Balfour, included Jack Cooper who wrote, ‘I really enjoyed debating this year as it pushed me to research current affairs and their effects on us.’ Caden Harvey said, ‘I have really enjoyed this year as the debates have been challenging. However, we had a lot of fun and enjoyed them. The Senior B team shared a special bond and had a lot of laughs.’ Head Prefect Brad Selwood said, ‘Debating this year has been a very good and exciting new experience for me. The challenging aspects of it have increased my speaking ability and taught me to use my initiative more effectively. The skills that I have received from it will aid me immensely in my future endeavours.’

 The Year 11 A Team’s fine results impressed their coach Mrs Balfour. Joel McIlvenny, a new debater, trialled well to be selected for the top team. Louis Gaffaney leads this team extremely well and said, ‘I have especially enjoyed the limited preparation and impromptu debates, testing my cognitive speed and working under pressure.’ James Barr, often top speaker in debates, commented, ‘I thoroughly enjoyed debating this year and loved having two debates per term, instead of one.’

The Year 11 B Team has six members who have rotated during the year. Alex Finlayson wrote, ‘I feel that our teams have all had to step up a notch this year, with the help of our coach Mrs Balfour.’ Joseph Mooney wrote, ‘I’ve loved the step-up debating has offered this year with limited preparation debates. It really helped me think quickly on my feet in front of a crowd. Thoroughly enjoyed it and it was well coached too.’ Sam Thompson wrote, ‘I thoroughly enjoyed the Impromptu Debating Cup held over the weekend recently.’ Kyle Groner said, ‘Debating has helped with both my confidence and ability to speak in front of crowds.’ According to Jonty Unwin, ‘I thoroughly enjoyed the new experience, as well as the exciting opportunity to develop my public speaking and impromptu speaking ability.’ Ayden Wilson said, ‘I thoroughly enjoyed debating this year, especially the introducing into impromptu debates, and plan to keep going to Year 13.’