KUSWAG Skool defied all odds when they won the Daily News Team Talk competition this year. The team consisted of Kuswag Skool Grade 10 pupils Mongy Nare, Jessica van Zyl and Skye Taljaard. They beat Richards Bay High School, Hillcrest High School, Orient Islamic School, and Southcity Christian School for the title, debating in English, which is not their mother tongue. Kuswag Skool coach Linda Coertze said the team had surpassed her expectations, and the fact that they could expose young pupils to something as powerful and enriching as this competition was a privilege. She thanked the team’s parents, who were there every time and supported them and refined speeches, especially Jessica van Zyl’s grandmother and the Grade 11 debating team who assisted the Grade 10’s with research.They chose “Raising the Banner for Equality in Sport” as a topic, because it was “unusual”. The team won a floating trophy and a cheque for R20 000, which they would donate to the school of their choice. They decided on Illovo Primary School and accompanied competition sponsors to hand over the cheque on Thursday, August 10. “We are not just a small enclosed community, we get involved in other schools. Next we will compete in the Mock United Nations Debate alongside Toti High. Our pupils practice every Saturday. They are high achievers academically and Mongy Nare also won English Best Speaker in our school award,” Coertze said. “This year’s competition was incredible. The standard was higher than ever. It has been far more difficult for the adjudicators to determine the winner as the standard goes up each year. “In the true spirit of Rotary, the winning team do not keep their prize, but pass it on to a school less privileged than them,” Hilary Augustus, from the Rotary Club’s District 9370 said. Illovo Primary School Principal, Mags Moodley said: “On behalf of the stakeholders, I would like to express my sincere thanks to Kuswag Skool. They have also previously bigheartedly donated R15 000 to our school. “Thank you for once again looking at Illovo Primary in the same generous spirit. “The donation comes as a total surprise as I was not told what this meeting was about.”The principal said the school plant was in a bad state and they would embark on renovating part of the plant with the donation. “In our terms, this money will go a long way. You brought alive the Rotary motto which is ‘Service above self’,” he said.Kuswag Skool Grade 10 team said they are very honoured to come to the school to hand over the donation. They said it was very emotional for them towards the end, realising that they can do something good and that Illovo Primary was their motivation to excel. Kuswag Skool Acting Principal, Chris Lindeque invited Illovo Primary to see how the team practices on Saturdays. The Grade 10 pupils said they would certainly return to the Team Talk competition next year.