Rostrum: Voice of Youth

On Sunday 21 May, nine of our students competed in the Rostrum: Voice of Youth Public Speaking Competition. This competition aims to empower young people by enabling them to find their voice and express their views on a range of topic choices from An Unlikely Hero, Hidden Agendas to A Life Without Limits. In the Junior Division, Angela Yu (Year 7) and Sophie Hogan (Year 9), Fleur Anstee (Year 8) and Allegra Dennison (Year 9 (Runner up in the 2016 Legacy Junior Public Speaking Award) spent several weeks preparing their speeches and receiving coaching advice from Mrs Kim Waters while polishing their personal presentation styles to the point where their delivery was confident, varied and engaging. These early forays into public speaking competitions allow students to witness and appreciate a range of public speaking styles by fellow competitors, and adjust their own manner accordingly.

Seasoned public speakers, Demi Markakis (Year 11) (2016 Finalist in this competition), Samara Gill (Year 11) and Lucy Porter (Year 11) spoke impressively and with maturity using poignant personal anecdotes and modulating their tone and voice to full effect. As students gain more experience in public speaking, they are able to be more creative, personal and idiosyncratic in their treatment of their subject matter – taking the small, ordinary, daily concerns of life and developing a much broader message that resonates with the audience. Their coach for this competition, Miss Rebecca Reggars, commented that this was a strength of their speeches this year.

It is never too late to develop public speaking skills, and this year we welcomed Eve Rayner (Year 10) to this competition. In a mature manner, employing an original opening, Eve spoke about the way that advertising infiltrates most areas of our lives subtly. In a stroke of luck, Kavina Kalaichelvam (Year 10) was a late entrant in this competition, won the regional Final, and will now compete in the State Finals at St. Kevin’s College on 25 June. In her witty and wryly observant speech on the topic of ‘Life Without Limits’ she argued that individuality is a false ideal in our society as it is only accepted within very prescriptive limits. Her use of a combination of humour and pathos suitably impressed adjudicators, and we wish her the very best of luck for the State Finals.

We also thank Mrs Kim Waters and Miss Rebecca Reggars for their many hours of meetings, advice, and coaching of the students for this competition.

Ms Mary-Anne Keratiotis, Head of Debating