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The Greenway Cup is a perpetual trophy awarded to the best team in an annual debate between Ivanhoe Grammar School and Ivanhoe Girls'. We sat down with the 2021 Ivanhoe Girls' team: Sabrina, Caitlin, Mia, Mayce and Yi Xiu, to discuss debating, inter-school rivalry and the importance (just a little bit) of aggression.   

What’s so great about debating?

"Debating is really fun because you debate with your friends. Debating brings out a bit of a competitive side… and its one of the few other events apart from sport where you do get to go up against other schools."

"If you are a naturally opinionated or confident person it's a really good outlet!

"It's a huge confidence building activity. I remember when we started in Year 8 we were all so timid about getting up and speaking in front of people but by the time we’re in Year 12… it’s a lot easier."

Greenway Cup team 2021: Yi Xiu, Mia, Sabrina (Debating Captain), Caitlin and Mayce
So where does your confidence come from? Is it just practice?

"Definitely over time you just build up little bits. The first few times when you debate it's really nerve-wracking."

"You really have to rely on your teammates. You notice it in other teams: sometimes winning or losing a debate is whether or not someone just sits down, as if to say, "I’ve done my bit. I don't have to help out my teammates anymore". But you've got to work together. The debate's not finished until all three of us have finished together." 

"I’ve actually seen debates where individually a speaker is very strong but their arguments didn’t flow very well from speaker to speaker. If you have a really great trust and understanding within your teammates you are able to work really well together to like build a whole argument and then divy it up between your team members to deliver a really good debate."

What does winning the Greenway Cup mean to you?

"We get bragging rights!" 

"Watching the older girls win their Greenway Cup: it's been something that we wanted to be in since Year 8. It’s our shot."

"It’s also against the one school (Ivanhoe Grammar) we have a massive rivalry with! Its a friendly rivalry, so on the off chance that we lose, we are not going to be sore losers, but…"

What does it mean to you to represent Ivanhoe Girls' in the Greenway Cup?

"I think its really exciting because it’s been going on for so long and we are just one of teams that get to compete and be a part of it. Its definitely a more than us kind of feeling. 

"There is a bunch of good debaters in our Year level so we have to do well for all of them."

Whats the most important thing to bring to a debate?  

"A lot of confidence and trust in everyone. A bit of aggression, just a bit." 

"Even if you're not super confident about your point or what you've prepared, if you show confidence, it’ll actually result in a much better debate. It’s also a big morale booster for the whole team because if you seem confident than the team can seem confident in themselves too." 

"It also makes you seem a bit more intimidating for the other team. You can't let the the other team see you sweat! No weaknesses until after its over." 

How hard is it to argue about something you don't believe in?

"It’s actually not that hard. If you think about something you believe in and then think about why people don't believe in it. It's a bit exciting when you feel like you are being the devil's advocate." 

Debating isn't a contest of who's more passionate. It's about who logically can see their way through. 

"If you think about the other side in a more logical manner you can understand the other side. And it might actually change what you believe in as well. Topics we argue for the other side definitely bring out the grey area of the topic. It’s like not like black and white."

Do you have a game plan for Greenway Cup?

We know what we have to do. It’s pretty natural at this point, we’ll just get in the room and every one knows just what to do. Everyone has their position that they just naturally fall into. 


Shortly after this interview, the students went on to face Ivanhoe Grammar School in the Greenway Cup. The topic was: "If it were possible we should turn the Moon into a tourist destination." Ivanhoe Girls' went on to win the debate! 

Well done, team!