Hastings Public School have continued their run of strong finishes at the annual Premier's Debating Challenge in Sydney.
The school finished second from 923 schools across the state this year, they were previously crowned champions for years five and six last year and made the semi-finals in 2016.
Hastings Public School are the only team to return to the state final two years in a row, but unfortunately were unsuccessful in defending it against Bowral Public School.
Assistant principal Karl Morris said he is proud of the team's performance despite the loss to the Bowral Bombarders team.
"This team has been in a two year rolling process. These guys were earmarked last year as a training team against our year six team from that year," he said.
"We went through the process again this year. This team was selected for their speaking, listening, writing, communication and general knowledge which is at a high level.
"A strong literacy foundation is also needed as well.
"We've had some success for the last five years and we're building the process over the years to get around 100 students voluntarily trying out.
"We have a very strong public speaking culture at our school, students start from year one presenting speeches and things to their class. By the time they get to year six they are very confident."
The Debateinaters team of Poppy McIntyre, Sofia Mansfield, Kaeleb and Zake Morris made their way to the grand final by defeating local and regional rounds.
They also talked their way to victory against Bowral, North Sydney and Orange in the preliminary rounds.
The team took a hard-fought win against GlenBrook Public School in the semi-finals on November 27.
"In the preparation stage we write down who we think the major stakeholders are for the debate," said Ms McIntyre.
"We try to base our supporting arguments around these people.
"In the debate my job as third speaker is to listen to what the points of the other team are and think about how we can use our arguments to rebut them."
The Port Macquarie team argued against the grand final topic 'That we should require students in years three to six to do 30 minutes of homework every weeknight'.
Sometimes you have to switch your perspective. You argue that your main point is way better than the other team in the debate even though you don't agree with it personally.Team member Kaeleb Morris.
During the competition catastrophic bushfire conditions caused organisers to abandon an annual three-day debating camp at Stanwell Tops.
"Each of the teams coped with the disappointment (of the camp) and bounced back with some incredible debating," said NSW Debating and Public Speaking assistant Tony Davey.
"It's a credit to themselves and every student and teacher at their schools."
The competition has run since 1995.
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