Kristin wins back-to-back National Spanish Debate titles

June 27, 2024


The Kristin Spanish debating team made up of Miriam Alshaar (Year 12), David Luo (Year 13), Emma Gunn (Year 13) and Stefan Thompson (Year 13) have been crowned National Spanish Debate champions after defeating Rangitoto College in an enthralling final held in the Kristin Auditorium.

The Spanish Debate competition is extremely challenging, with the students taking part, whose first language is not Spanish, having only a dictionary and five minutes to prepare for each debate.

This is the second year in a row that Kristin has won the competition and will have the privilege of hosting the event again in 2025. Kristin Team 1 had three debates to win to get to the final, defeating Auckland Grammar School 2 in the first round, Kerikeri High School in the second round, and Auckland Grammar School 1 in the semi-final to make it to the big finale on the Auditorium stage. 

The case for the final was Artificial Intelligence, with Kristin Team 1 arguing against the use of it within the educational system. The judges said they were deserved winners who worked cohesively as a team and took their Spanish debating skills to a level above the other competitors.

The team have put in a lot of effort over the past months to practise and polish their Spanish debating skills, and it is fantastic to see their hard work rewarded with this win. The team were ecstatic to get the victory, especially on their home patch, as Emma Gunn discussed below:

“I think it was really fulfilling to win because we've worked hard to develop our skills in a new language and then also be able to debate and listen to what other people are saying. It felt really good to see our hard work come to fruition,” reflected Emma.

Stefan Thompson said they had a tough road to the final but put their victory down to one key aspect:

“We went up against some seriously high-calibre teams who really pushed us throughout the debates, but we worked exceptionally well as a team, and this team cohesion helped us to win,” says Stefan.

Languages Head of Faculty and Spanish Debate team leader at Kristin, Gabriella Maldonado, describes the teams' achievement:

“We’re very proud of the debaters who presented excellent arguments and worked hard on their strategies – they blew us away. We, as teachers, get to see them in the classroom, but on stage, they were on another level. They should be very proud of what they have accomplished and the passion they have for the language and the culture,” says Mrs Maldonado.

Thirty-two teams from ten schools around New Zealand descended upon Kristin for the day, as well as adjudicators, judges, teachers and representatives from the Spanish Teachers’ Association New Zealand Aotearoa (STANZA), who are the organisers of the event, and it was a pleasure to host them for this competition.

Kristin would like to congratulate all teams who took part this year and are looking forward to hosting again in 2025, where the chance for the three-peat will be on offer.