Success of Dingwall debating duo
A team from Dingwall Academy are celebrating after winning the final of the BT National Gaelic Schools Debate.
The hotly fought contest between Dingwall and a team from the Nicolson Institute in Lewis was held in the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday and broadcast live on BBC Radio nan Gàidheal as well as streamed live on the internet.
The topic the teams debated was - “In terms of media know-how, Gaels have little to learn from anyone”. Debating for this motion were Mairi MacLennan and Callum Nicolson of the Nicolson and against the motion were Ella Scarr and Megan Dale of Dingwall Academy.
In a debate which was lively, interesting, well researched and presented by both sides, it was not going to be an easy job for the judges to determine who would be going home with the prestigious cup. However, after some lengthy time away the judges came back to reveal that this year’s winners were Dingwall Academy.
Also up for grabs was the Best Speaker award and this year’s the recipient was Megan Dale. Megan was presented with the award by Iona MacRitchie who herself won the Deasbad. Iona is now a Senior Producer with BBC Gàidhlig.
After returning to school with her awards Megan said: “It felt great to be going home as winners of Deasbad BT Alba. It was such a great thing to be part of and it’s hard to believe that we’ve won. We’ve enjoyed the experience so much and we’ve learnt and developed skills which will be very useful to us in later years.”
Councillor Hamish Fraser, Chair of The Highland Council’s Gaelic Implementation Group said: “We are delighted that pupils from Dingwall Academy won such a prestigious national event. Being skilled in debating is a huge life skill and is an asset which can be transferred to many career choices.”
He added: “All the young people who took part in Deasbad BT Alba are an inspiration and Gaelic education is instrumental in acquiring the very high standard of debating skills. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the teachers for their hard work and encouragement in ensuring that the young people are attaining both the linguistic and debating skills which is elevating them to perform at a national level.”
Brendan Dick, Director of BT Scotland added: “Raising the standard of national debate and encouraging people to participate in formed discussion has never been so important. It’s really quite inspiring to see how some of those bright young people who’ve honed their skills in the Debate have gone on to become successful, confident leaders in our society. Several have entered professions where an ability to present a strong case is a major asset. It just shows that it’s not only good to talk, it boosts confidence and helps prepare our young people for the future.”