A south Taranaki school won the junior section at the Central North Island Debating Championships.
Six teams from Hāwera High School entered the championships held in Whanganui last month. The junior A team of Emelia Scott, 14, Brenna Johnson, 13, and Otis Cleaver, 14, won the junior section at the championships.
Otis says the team participated in five debates before making it to the finals.
"We won the finals against Whanganui High School. The moot was whether parents should monitor children's social media activity. We were on the affirming side. We were given the moot and then we had 30 minutes to write down our speeches."
Emelia says the team entered the championships last year.
"It was great to compete again. By winning the junior section we can see how we have improved from last year. I enjoy debating because I learn about a wide range of topics and also other people's viewpoints about those topics."
Brenna says debating develops important communication skills.
"You learn how to get your point across directly. It's also great for team building skills as you have to work together."
Emmanuel Araba, 16, from the senior A team received a highly commended award.
"I first entered the competition three years ago and I received promising junior speaker. I enjoy debating as it improves communication skills and the ability to think on the spot to draw a relative conclusion to the moot."
Julia Scott, 12, from the junior B team received most promising junior speaker.
"This was my first year competing and to win an award is pretty special."
She says her sister Emelia introduced her to debating.
"I competed for a year at Hāwera Intermediate and then again at high school."
Emma Finer, 13, from the junior C team received most resilient speaker.
"I feel proud to have received an award. I really enjoyed the competition and I can't wait to go back next year."
Principal Rachel Williams says she is proud of the students.
"Debating is valued at the school and it's important for the students to get the opportunity to learn, develop, and showcase their talent in the field. As a school we are lucky to have amazing teachers who guide the students through."