MORE than 4000 young people from throughout the south-west have so far had the opportunity to enhance their talents in the arts at this year’s Warrnambool Eisteddfod.
This year’s eisteddfod started on May 20 with its speech and drama section and will conclude on August 8-9 with its piped organ recitals competition.
Other eisteddfod sections in which entrants have exhibited their talents have included dance, music, senior vocal and aria, poetry reading, debating and calisthenics. Venues have ranged from Mozart Hall to the Lighthouse Theatre, King’s College, the Warrnambool Masonic Lodge and St Joseph’s church.
One of the organisers for the debating section, Maureen Fawcett, said the eisteddfod was continuing to enjoy strong interest. One of its main aims was to give entrants the opportunity to learn and improve their talents, Ms Fawcett said.
The debating section finished on Friday with impromptu debates in which the teams were given the topic they had to debate only 30 minutes beforehand.
Teams from schools throughout the south-west had during the week, thrashed out the pros and cons of controversial topics that ranged from “Australians had a right to be bigoted” to “The Playstation has destroyed the playground”.
Most teams had prepared for their debates for weeks but the impromptu section, which was contested by teams from Brauer and Warrnambool colleges, added further pressure.
Among the entrants was year 11 Brauer College student Summer Medley who said debating had helped her understand there were at least two sides to every viewpoint. Summer has been involved in debating since year seven and said it had not only given her confidence in public speaking, but had also allowed her to learn a lot from others about how to be creative in advocating an argument.
Ms Fawcett said many schools incorporated their eisteddfod entries into their class activities.
Good support from philanthropic trusts, south-west service clubs and an army of volunteers enabled the event to continue to enrich the south-west community, she said.