Xavier debaters take their skills to Hawaii!


Hawaii Tourism Authority CEO and president George Szigeti with Xavier College student Chloe Brennan and Mia Marquez
Hawaii Tourism Authority CEO and president George Szigeti with Xavier College student Chloe Brennan and Mia Marquez

It was a whirlwind trip for Xavier College students Mia Marquez and Chloe Brennan when they travelled to Hawaii during the holidays to showcase their debating skills to a global audience.

The debaters embarked on the trip with teacher Justine Phillips to take part in the 2018 Hawaiian Tourism Global Summit from October 1 until October 3.

Both girls were well prepared for the trip and were especially keen to test their debating skills against other debaters from around the world on the topic: The use of artificial intelligence (AI) in tourism will improve the visitor experience.

“I think the hardest part for us was starting the debate at 8am (Hawaiian time) which was 4am our time,’’ Miss Phillips said.

“First up, the girls had to go against one of the schools from the Mainland USA. Unfortunately, they lost, but they really learnt a lot about the style of debate they were involved in and their craft, including the art of this style of cross-fire.

Mia and Chloe had the opportunity to attend the official Aloha Reception

Mia and Chloe had the opportunity to attend the official Aloha Reception

“They were able to use this loss to their advantage in the next debate against Hong Kong, which they won. The final two debates were against two different schools from the island of Hawaii, where they debated with exceptional skill. Unfortunately, despite their successes with these, they didn’t progress through to the Grand Final.”

Chloe said the friendships and connections they made during the competition meant it was a successful one for them. “I gained an interesting insight into various different cultures by talking to the teams,” she said. “The Chinese students told us how they go to school six days a week rather than five which baffled me and many other teams.”

“I fell in love with debating, especially the public forum style of debating….and I also learnt a lot about the topic of AI and tourism.’’

Another highlight for the students was arriving in Hawaii on the same day the Sydney Kings basketball team were playing the LA Clippers.

“We found the Kings were staying at our hotel and about to get on the bus to go over for their game,’’ Miss Phillips said. “As you can imagine, that really sparked excitement before we even started, and reminded us just what we were there for.”

Both girls expressed how grateful they are to Miss Phillips, Xavier College community, and Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta for the fantastic opportunity to travel to Hawaii to develop their debating skills on a global scale.

Ms Phillips said the best part of this experience for her was watching Mia and Chloe engage further with the world around them and interacting with industry, experts and other students their age.

“I am immensely proud of their work ethic, their achievements and most of all their aims to use this experience to assist others,’’ Miss Phillips said.

“Their dream is to be able to be invited back to the Hawaiian Global Tourism Summit 2019 on September 23 - 25, and bring home the trophy, the girls hope to compete at the Harvard PF Forum debate competition or in other international competitions in the future.”


Posted By CathEd Parra at 29/10/2018 10:52:54 AM

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