Debating Society

The Debating Society is student led and meets every other Tuesday lunch time in the Lecture Theatre for lively debate whether of politics or of conspiracy theories.


Public Speaking at PC 

All students study English Language at GCSE Level.  Speaking and Listening is a key component of this subject.  Students participate in a range of activities within their timetabled English classes and have the opportunity to develop their skills further through participation in several public speaking competitions held mostly in the month of November with Finals taking place February/ March.   For example: 

  • The Edgar Graham Memorial Public Speaking Competition – a five minute speech on a topic of your choice, delivered in the prestigious location of the Senate chamber at Stormont.
  • Soroptimist International NI Public Speaking Competition – only open to girls in Year 12 and 13. Individuals speak on a topic selected from a range of topical titles supplied in advance by the Soroptimist society whose aim is to empower girls by providing them with opportunities to develop their talents.
  • Business and Professional Women Public Speaking Competition – a team of three with a Chairperson, Speaker and Expresser of Thanks. The Speaker swaps with another team.  This means that the Chairperson has to introduce someone they have only met fifteen minutes beforehand and the Expresser of Thanks has to thank the same person.  The Speaker has to answer two questions unknown in advance. Wit and humour are essential as well as resourcefulness and the ability to think on your feet.


Soroptimist Public Speaking Competition 2018 

Six talented public speakers from Year 13 participated in the annual regional heat of the Soroptimist Public Speaking Competition held in Portadown, November 21st.

Lily McClatchey was awarded second place, as she had been last year, perpetuating Portadown College’s excellent record in this event (1st in 2011 and 2012, 2nd and 3rd 2013, 1st 2014, 2nd 2015, 2nd2016 and 2nd and 3rd 2017). She spoke passionately on whether society determines normality.

The other competitors, Jessica Calvert, Anna and Lois Campbell, Sarah Herron and Lucy Vallelly also participated with confidence and charisma on a range of topical issues.


2016-17 Events


PC public speakers have triumphed in the Business and Professional Women’s Public Speaking National Final in England.

Having emerged victorious from the BPW NI Final in February, Portadown College’s Public Speakers proceeded to the National Final in England on Saturday 25 March and were equally impressive.

Katherine Whitten defended the right to freedom of conscience, tackling the topically controversial ruling on Asher’s bakery, supported by Tim Neill as Chairman and Alex Maxwell as Expresser of Thanks. They were awarded Best Team with Tim singled out as Best Chairman and Alex as Best Expresser of Thanks.

This is an exceptional achievement and a fitting conclusion to another excellent year of competing, with students placed first or second in all competitions entered.

Soroptomist Certificates for PC Public Speakers

This is a competition for girls in Years 12 and 13.  Becky Gilmore was awarded second place.  Other participants were Sophie Hill, Joanna Kerr, Alex Maxwell and Katherine Whitten.

Inter-House Debating Competition

Seale talk their way to victory at PC House Debating Competition 2018

PC’s debaters enjoyed their final face-off at their annual House Debate on Wednesday 2nd May, chaired authoritatively by Matthew Walsh and adjudicated with good humour by Principal Mr Harper.

The competition kicked off with a motion addressing the gender pay gap, seeing Shillington’s Kiara McClelland and Amy Boyce’s Proposition win the argument over a very passionate Joanna Kerr who spoke for the opposition.

Josh Quinn and Matthew Wilson proposed the West’s intervention in the East facing stiff competition from Year 11 Seale speakers Alanna Cahoon and Callum Douglas.

The competition ended characteristically with a light-hearted motion as Viggo Stanzack and Beth Preston proposed that the earth was in fact flat! This initiated a lively discussion complete with visual aids against the very competent opposing team of Nye Crozier and Emily Monroe.

Adjudications from Mr Harper commended Kiara McClelland as the “most compelling” speaker winning Best Speaker, with Nye Crozier, Viggo Stanzack and Seale duo Alanna Cahoon and Callum Douglas winning Best Debater, Best Proposition and Best Opposition respectively.

While Shillington’s team of Kiara McClelland and Amy Boyce earned the Best Team award, it was the Seale debaters who argued their way to overall victory at the House Debate.

Thanks go to Mr Harper for adjudicating the debates, to Mr Wright for organising the event and to Jonathan Reid as timekeeper.

Inter-house Debating Competition 2017

A capacity audience were treated to three lively debates last Wednesday:

  1. This house believes that MLAs should work together or get out!
  2. This house believes that marriage is not the business of the state
  3. This house believes that millennial music rocks baby!

Best Proposition: Kiara McClelland  and Amy Boyce

Best Opposition: Matthew Walsh and Connor Brown

Best Speaker: Kiara McClelland

Best Response to Questions: Joanna Kerr

Best House:
Third place: Seale – Sophie Hill, Lucy Millsopp, Hollie Teggart, Thomas Frampton

Second: Macallum – Sophie Heasley, Helen Mullen, Joanna Kerr, Viggo Stanczac

First place: Shillington – Kiara McClelland, Amy Boyce, Matthew Walsh, Connor Brown