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Highland pupils from Fortrose Academy argue their way to be crowned Scotland's top young debate team at Holyrood showdown


By Alan Shields


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Pictured (left to right) are Liz Campbell (Law Society Executive Director of Education, Training and Qualifications), Georgia Turnbull (Law Society Careers and Outreach Coordinator), Sheila Webster (Law Society Deputy President), Aimee Ross, Orla McMichael and Deputy Presiding Officer Liam McArthur MSP.
Pictured (left to right) are Liz Campbell (Law Society Executive Director of Education, Training and Qualifications), Georgia Turnbull (Law Society Careers and Outreach Coordinator), Sheila Webster (Law Society Deputy President), Aimee Ross, Orla McMichael and Deputy Presiding Officer Liam McArthur MSP.

Pupils from a Highland school have been crowned Scotland’s top young debate team.

Fortrose Academy students took the winning spot at the grand final of this year’s Donald Dewar Memorial Debating Tournament.

Proving no one should argue with them were Aimee Ross and Orla McMichael.

The pair defeated three other schools at the event in debating chamber of the Scottish Parliament.

They won on the topic of the emergence of ‘cancel culture’.

Jenna Padget and Jennifer Chen from the High School of Glasgow came second.

The tournament is Scotland’s largest annual schools debating tournament and is open to pupils in all Scottish secondary schools.

Organised and run by the Law Society of Scotland, the tournament is dedicated to the memory of the former First Minister Donald Dewar MSP, who died in 2000.

Aimee Ross, Fortrose Academy pictured during the Donald Dewar Memorial Debate final which took place in the Debating Chamber of the Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh. Teams from Fortrose Academy, Hutchesons Grammar School, High School of Glasgow and Dunfermline High School took part in the final where they debated to proposition "This House regrets the emergence of ‘cancel culture’". 09 June 2022. Pic - Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament
Aimee Ross, Fortrose Academy pictured during the Donald Dewar Memorial Debate final which took place in the Debating Chamber of the Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh. Teams from Fortrose Academy, Hutchesons Grammar School, High School of Glasgow and Dunfermline High School took part in the final where they debated to proposition "This House regrets the emergence of ‘cancel culture’". 09 June 2022. Pic - Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament

Law Society of Scotland Vice President Sheila Webster said: “I’d like to congratulate all eight pupils from the four schools that made it to the final, but especially to the winning team of Fortrose Academy. You should all be proud of what you’ve learned and achieved.

“The judges had a hard time picking a winning team and runners up, with the skills displayed by all teams worthy of the Scottish Parliament. I was impressed to see the teams developing and then presenting strong arguments while under tight time pressure.

“It was brilliant to be back in such an impressive venue after a difficult few years. I’d like to thank the Scottish Parliament for hosting and also the Deputy Presiding Officer, Liam McArthur, the judges and sponsors for their continued support.”

Fortrose Academy, will receive £1,000 for their school and all finalists got a commemorative quaich.

Both schools will receive educational books to the value of £500, provided by tournament sponsors Hodder Gibson Publishing.

There was also a floor debate for school pupils in the audience who had competed in previous rounds.

Orla McMichael, Fortrose Academy pictured during the Donald Dewar Memorial Debate final which took place in the Debating Chamber of the Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh. Teams from Fortrose Academy, Hutchesons Grammar School, High School of Glasgow and Dunfermline High School took part in the final where they debated to proposition "This House regrets the emergence of ‘cancel culture’". 09 June 2022. Pic - Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament
Orla McMichael, Fortrose Academy pictured during the Donald Dewar Memorial Debate final which took place in the Debating Chamber of the Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh. Teams from Fortrose Academy, Hutchesons Grammar School, High School of Glasgow and Dunfermline High School took part in the final where they debated to proposition "This House regrets the emergence of ‘cancel culture’". 09 June 2022. Pic - Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament

The floor prize winners were Innes Morgan from Thurso High School in Caithness and Ruairidh Williams from the Royal High School, Edinburgh.

They each each received a £50 book voucher.

Deputy Presiding Officer Liam McArthur MSP said: “I’m so pleased to once again welcome some of Scotland’s young people to the Parliament’s Debating Chamber for the culmination of this national competition. I’ve been so impressed by the quality of debate that we’ve heard.

“I send my best wishes to all the pupils who worked so hard to make the final of this competition. It was very closely fought but congratulations to Fortrose Academy for being awarded the overall prize.”


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