Two pupils from Douglas Academy, Milngavie were last night named as winners of this year's Donald Dewar Memorial Debating Tournament for schools.
Arun Smith and Matthew McIlree won the top prize against three other teams, opposing the motion "This house would deny smokers free access to healthcare" in the Scottish Parliament’s debating chamber, under Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh MSP.
The winners receive the tournament trophy along with £1,000 for their school, donated by the Law Society of Scotland, which organises the competition. Runners-up Ivan Kapelyukh and Steven Roy, from the High School of Dundee, received £250 donated by the Glasgow Bar Association.
Both teams shared educational books worth £500 from Hodder Gibson Publishers, and all the finalists, who also included Mahee Mustafa and Honor Johnstone from Kelvinside Academy, Glasgow and Lawrence Brown and Ewan Redpath from Madras College, St Andrews, were given book tokens and individual quaichs.
Graham Matthews, President of the Law Society of Scotland, commented: “I am delighted to congratulate Arun and Matthew on their remarkable performances and much deserved success. All of the 128 schools who have taken part in this year’s competition should be incredibly proud of themselves and in particular the six other finalists should also be congratulated – getting to this final stage is a brilliant achievement.
“This is the first time I have attended the live debate and I was struck both by the atmosphere and the quality of the discussion. It was a privilege for us to host the final in the debating chamber of the Scottish Parliament once again and I would like to thank the Presiding Officer, Ken MacIntosh, for doing such an excellent job of chairing the debate. Thanks too, to our judges who rose to the challenge of identifying the winning team.”