Fifteen pupils at St Stephen's High in Port Glasgow missed out on being among the four schools to win Schools Question Time 2008. But the judges were so impressed with the S3-5 pupils' work, they received half of the top prize: a trip to London in July to work with journalists putting together the programme.
St Stephen's won its place by writing a proposal showing how they would stage a Question Time event, with details of the panel they would approach and topics.
The team - whose dream panel included SNP MSP Stuart McMillan; Labour MP David Cairns; Ultimo underwear boss Michelle Mone; Still Game actor Sanjeev Kohli; Glasgow Airport hero John Smeaton; and S5 pupil Ryan Black - was the only Scottish school to go through to the final, when they were required to make their proposal a reality.
Help was given by competition organisers. Pupils participated in a workshop where they were encouraged to think about topical issues and taught how to structure an argument, and they received pound;500 towards the costs of staging the event.
Not everything went according to plan, however. Only Stuart McMillan and Ryan Black were available to sit on the panel. So Chief Inspector Grant Manders of Strathclyde Police, Lib Dem MSP Ross Finnie and Wendy Metcalfe, editor of the Greenock Telegraph, stepped into the breach. They responded to questions such as "Is the NHS still free at the point of delivery or is that just a national fairy tale?" and "Is Scotland under threat of terror?"