Portlaoise schoolsface
off in county final of
junior debate contest
By Stan Henderson
PORTLAOISE College and Scoil
Chríost Rí went head to head
as county finalists in the junior
library debating competition at
county hall recently, with the
former coming out on top.
Second-year students from
both schools gathered in the
chamber of Laois County Council
to debate the value and future of
the printed book. Adjudicators
cllr Mary Sweeney and director
of the Laois Education Centre
Tony Mahon were complimentary
of the high standard and encouraged
the teenagers to pursue
debating as a way of developing
new competencies and confidence.
Proposing the motion, Scoil
Chríost Rí raised issues such as
tactile experience, independence
of technological infrastructure
and the possible health implications
of over-reliance on screens.
On the other side, however,
the students from Portlaoise
College extolled the opportunities
for learning and expression
created by digital alternatives to
the book.
Later, when the subject was
open to the floor, everyone had
a contribution to make. One girl
spoke about the potential of
e-readers for people with various
She also said that the book
had survived other technological
threats such as television and
Librarian Suzanne Carroll
said: “We were delighted that
the students were so thoroughly
engaged with the topics
at both stages of the competition.
The standard was particularly
remarkable, since the
competition was for second-year
They have shown themselves
to be critical readers
and thinkers with well-formed
opinions of the world around
them. They are a credit to themselves
and to their teachers, their
families and their schools.”
Ms Carroll congratulated Portlaoise
College as the winners.
Recipients of the best individual
speaker prizes went to
Tara Donovan from Scoil Chríost
Rí and to Kevin Dillon from Portlaoise

Junior debating contest 1

Junior debating contest 2