We teachers at St. Conleth’s should get extra battle pay, but not quite for the same reason that they pay a bonus to the brave souls who venture into the toughest schools in the toughest slums of Chicago or Baltimore; rather, we should get some ‘encouragement’ money for facing the mighty rhetorical weaponry of some of these Conlethian student debaters. They may save their most impressive ‘Points of Information’ and bits of rebuttal for the prestigious competitions, but it is in classroom discussions where they sharpen those points and tip-toe along the line between enthusiastic participation and barracking! Ah well, it is all for the best and I guess we can put up with the thesis-length response to ‘Did you do your homework?’ if it helps our debaters to continue to dominate all the significant competitions.
You read here earlier how Frank Knowles and Joe Downey have qualified for the prestigious Cambridge International Debate Final. Now they have gone through as a team into the Leinster Finals of the Junior School Mace Competition, which will be held at St. Conleth’s March 3rd. They will be joined, as an individual qualifier, by James Hastings-Raftery, who once famously responded to a request to move his chair in After-School Study with a diatribe about ‘the modes of production and bourgeois control of proletarian freedom of movement’. On the Senior level, Harry Mansfield and Tomás Clancy have gone through to the Semifinals of the Leinster Schools, with Conor Power, Oisin Dowling and Simon Pettitt qualifying as Individuals. Other schools would break out the band and slaughter the fatted calf for such accomplishments, but at St. Conleth’s we simply expect such a level of excellence. A big part of that confidence is the way in which Debating Moderator Mr. Carvill brings back decorated alumni debaters as coaches: currently Conor White and Daniel Gilligan are whipping them (just rhetorically, we assume) into parliamentary shape while pursuing their own debating careers at the third level. Daniel has just qualified for the Finals of the Irish Times Debate, the pre-eminent third level debating completion in the country. Past competitors include many Conlethian alumni, most notably Liam Trophy who talked away with the trophy in 2013.