• Educate
  • Enrich
  • Empower
Academic Competitions

Debating and Public Speaking

MacKillop College has a distinguished tradition of Debating and Public Speaking. Fostered originally through the English/History Department, students have the opportunity to avail themselves of a range of opportunities both within and outside the College community to engage in this activity.

Within all English classes students participate in the Robert Hannon-Burt public speaking competition. Named after a former principal of the College, this competition recognises outstanding public speaking in every year group, as students from each class deliver a speech, with the winner progressing to compete in a final for their individual year group. This prestigious award is recognised every year at our Presentation Day where students are acknowledged in front of the wider College community for their efforts.

One of the most anticipated events on the College calendar occurs in Term Three when House Debating takes place. The final element of the House Competition at the College, this event runs over three weeks, with students competing on behalf of their House in the junior, intermediate and senior competition. The topics are about current issues, with the debating informal and highly entertaining. Those who don’t debate participate actively as the crowd, even have their participation count towards the final result. It’s a credit to the teachers of English (who develop these skills in the classroom) that so many students each year are so eager to debate in the competition!


Outside of the College, MacKillop has a strong reputation as public speakers and debaters of repute. Our students are given the opportunity to participate annually in the CWA Public Speaking Competition, with our senior students also engaging in the Lions Club Youth of the Year Competition. Annually, our debating teams eagerly await their opportunity to debate in the CSDA Debating Competition. This competition spans from diocese to state level, with our debating teams regularly progressing to participate in the State finals held in Sydney. During our reasonably short history as a College, our teams have been consistently awarded the title of Country and State Champions, and it is something that students every year aspire to attain, and a record of which we are fiercely proud.

The public speaking and debating experience that our students receive at the College prepares them well for service in the local community, whether it be part of Bathurst Regional Council Youth Council whilst they are still at high school, or as announcers on local radio and much more. We are incredibly honoured of this tradition at our College that builds confident and articulate young women.

Tournament of Minds

Tournament of Minds (ToM) offers MacKillop College students the opportunity to solve realistic, open-ended challenges that foster creative, divergent thinking. Students who participate develop their collaborative initiatives, search towards excellence and foster their ability to perform as part of a team.

Tournament of Minds provides the opportunity for students to compete against other secondary schools at regional, state and national levels. The challenges are based on four disciplines, The Arts, Language Literature, Social Sciences and STEM.

The Tournament of Minds challenge is entirely for the students. Students who participate in Tournament of Minds thrive in this environment, make new friends and learn many new skills.

Congratulations go to this year’s MacKillop College Tournament of Minds team, who took out the 2020 Super Challenge Merit Certificate for NSW West. The team were extremely pleased with not only receiving this award but enjoyed the faultless feedback of “Congratulations on adapting flawlessly to the 2020 Super Challenge. Your idea met the challenge requirements perfectly…”

Merits are awarded to approximately 10% of all teams. Well done girls.