After listening to students from four of Orange’s high schools battle it out in the annual Mayor’s Cup Debating Competition today, Deputy Mayor Chris Gryllis said he looked forward to the future, knowing these students would be its leaders.

“Our future is in good hands,” Cr Gryllis said.

In round one, James Sheahan Catholic High School beat Kinross Wolaroi School, debating the topic ‘Bigger merged regional councils are better’ .

Last year’s winners, Orange High School were beaten by Canobolas Rural Technology High School with the topic ‘Councils should introduce financial incentives for recycling waste’.
The final round of the annual competition was between James Sheahan and Canobolas High where the teams debated whether Councils should fix local roads before spending on sports, arts and culture.

Canobolas High narrowly defeated the James Sheahan team, which was down a team member.
The first speaker for the winning side, Kane Mitchell, said he knew it would be down to the wire given the arguments were strong on both sides.

“We did a lot of preparation… and we’re very keen to come back next year,” he said.
Canobolas High argued for “keeping the colour in the colour city” and said the city’s sports grounds and community buildings such as the Orange Regional Gallery, the Orange City Library and the soon-to-be-opened Orange Regional Museum were more important assets.
They also argued that fixing the roads would mean ripping them up entirely and rebuilding them, which they said, was not practical for a productive city.

James Sheahan students nearly won with their argument that everyone uses roads so therefore they should be a priority.

First and third speaker, Bridget Miller, said it was the first time she had debated with her team mates. “These guys aren’t in my usual team but it was good because everyone brought different skills to the table,” she said.

Mayor John Davis said the students captured the difficulties of budget decisions well.
“It’s always been something we have to take into account, do you spend money on something that only some people will use,” Cr Davis said. “They all spoke very, very well.”
Adjudicator Margaret Brown, who has extensive experience adjudicating debates, said the final was one of the best she had seen.