Great Scot Archive
Issues from 1998
Issues from 1998


A Scotch boy at WIDPSC ’16



Debating, interpretative reading, impromptu speaking, argumentative and after dinner speaking – this is what the World Individual Debating and Public Speaking Competition, or WIDPSC is all about — and a Scotch Year 11 boy took on the world and performed admirably at this year’s WIDPSC.

To succeed in this broad and challenging competition, held this year in Pittsburgh, USA, in April, students require a wide range of skills, all developed to a high level. Among participants you will find the drama student, the debater, the public speaker, the verbally precocious entertainer, and a colourful mix of them all. The content, method, and capacity to handle the full gamut of required speaking styles on a world stage level, all reveal the academic rigour and challenge of the activity.

Scotch’s journey began at the national event – the Australian Individual Debating and Public Speaking Competition (AIDPSC) — in July 2015. Three excellent speakers from Year 11— Alisdair Gurling, Miche Nehme and Connor O’Brien — enjoyed the three-day competition, completing three rounds in four of the categories, in the company of a large group of students from all over Australia.

At the close all three boys had finished in the top 20 nationally, which was a tremendous achievement. They also thoroughly enjoyed the new challenges provided, working across all the categories — some of them, such as interpretative reading, being quite new to the boys.

The Australian team for WIDPSC consists of participants gaining the first 10 placings at AIDPSC. Alisdair Gurling finished 10th, and so qualified to travel to Pittsburgh for the international final.

Approximately 150 students from around the globe came together for six days of competition across their selected areas. Staff and students of Shady Side Academy in Pittsburgh were wonderful hosts, and gathered students from all over the world. The standard of speakers was amazing; US or Canadian students had to be placed first in three levels of the competition to earn their place.

Alisdair was an outstanding ambassador for Scotch and Australia, with his excellent skills acknowledged by judges and competitors alike. Such extension activities allow Scotch students to learn in an international context, to gauge and develop their skills within an exceptionally talented cohort and to make friends with other young people of the world.

The week-long experience included sightseeing in Pittsburgh, visits to the rock ‘n roll museum in Colorado, a fleeting visit to San Francisco with the Australian team, much training and competition with loads of fun, and growing camaraderie among the student community.


Updated: 3 October 2016