Debate the Future of America 2012

Penrith Selective High School triumphs in Obama debate

Penrith Selective high School's 2012 Debate the Future of America Team

Left to right: From Penrith Selective High School: Ross Penninkilampi, Natalie Buckett, and Grace White.

Penrith Selective High School has emerged triumphant after tackling the big issues in American politics in the United States Studies Centre’s ‘Debate the Future of America’ competition as part of the University’s Open Day in August.

In a reversal of the result of last year’s final, a full house watched the sharp and consistent trio from Penrith narrowly defeat their fellow finalists from North Sydney Girls High School on the topic: “Barack Obama deserves a second term in office”. For their efforts, the students won three iPads for their school.

“It is great to see such a strong rivalry building between these two teams, and even though the competition is only in its second year, both teams had to overcome some very tough competition to make it to the final,” said Centre lecturer and head adjudicator David Smith.

The final followed a tough qualifying competition, tackling issues like the need for the US to enact stricter campaign finance laws and whether America should introduce compulsory voting.

US Studies Centre elections analyst Luke Freedman, who judged the final debate, said “it’s great to see that Sydney high schools are not only focused on HSC marks but are also producing great speakers and future leaders with a real understanding of Australian and US politics.”

The final debate saw students from both teams question whether Obama had disappointed America, delivered on his election promises, and been too politically pragmatic, with Penrith emerging victorious on the strength of their rebuttal and the performance of third speaker Natalie Buckett.

Congratulations to all the schools who took part in the competition and check back for details of the 2013 contest, which promises to be another informative and competitive affair.  

The finalists in the US Studies Centre Debate the Future of America 2012 competition

Left to right: From North Sydney Girls High: Jananee Myooran, Jemma Cavanagh, and Rebecca Tay.
From Penrith Selective High School: Grace White, Natalie Buckett, and Ross Penninkilampi.

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