St Catherine’s becomes a host school

We are pleased to announce that St Catherine’s has been confirmed as a host school for the Legacy Junior Public Speaking Award in 2018, and also to have hosted the DAV Junior Public Speaking competition last week. Forging new ties with Legacy and extending our relationship with the Debaters’ Association of Victoria, respectively, allows our students greater appreciation of the genuine interest that exists in Public Speaking. Indeed, many of the adjudicators themselves were once young students in Public Speaking, who now offer invaluable advice to others about refining their matter and manner.

DAV Junior Public Speaking Competition

On June 14, 51 Years 7 and 8 students from a variety of schools took part enthusiastically in the DAV Junior Public Speaking competition. Despite some natural nervousness at tackling two impromptu topics with only five minutes’ preparation, students acquitted themselves well. The prepared topics were: Learning from history; Real life superheroes; and Humanity’s next adventure. Adjudicators commented on the wide range of students’ skill level and imaginative use of content, and encouraged them all to continue refining their techniques. Ms Gillian Hosking was responsible for many hours of coaching the students for this competition, and we thank her for her advice, support and commitment in the lead up to the competition and on the day. The following Senior students with Public Speaking experience eagerly took up the challenge of assisting with the coaching: Mackenzie Leyden (Year 12), Amber Chapman (Year 12 and Semi-Finalist, Rotary: Ainger Speaking Award), Sophie Seng Hpa (Year 12), Lucy Porter (Year 11), Samara Gill (Year 11), Isabel Gray (Year 11), Demi Markakis ( Year 11 and Semi-Finalist, Rostrum: Voice of Youth), and Isabelle Gough (Year 11).

All students received scores out of 100 for their prepared speech and two impromptu speeches. In each region, the three speakers with the highest average score across their three speeches will automatically progress to the semi-finals. In addition, a number of wildcard entrants will be invited to participate in the semi-finals based on the next highest rankings state-wide. The competition in the Toorak region was particularly high, causing the adjudicators to select six rather than three students who will progress to the Semi-Finals

It gives me great pleasure to announce that Allegra Dennison (Year 8) has been selected as one of the six students who will progress to the Semi-Finals. Allegra spoke about the importance of celebrating differences as a means of creating tolerance and harmony amongst people. She balanced the strength of her prepared speech with two very high scoring impromptu speeches, which contained maturity and complexity for a Year 8 student. We wish Allegra the best of luck in the Semi-Finals.

All of our students are to be commended for their performances in the competition. Victoria Patsakos (Year 8), who spoke about Real Life Superheroes, took part in this competition last year as well, while newcomer, Yasmin Jayasekera (Year 7), spoke in a well informed and passionate manner about the history of racial segregation in America and the ongoing battle against racial discrimination more broadly. Fleur Anstee (Year 8) used controversial examples such as Kim Jong-un to explore the theme of Learning from History, while Jessica Yang (Year 8) used personal examples to suggest that everyday acts of kindness can indeed render ordinary people superheroes.

We encourage all students to continue to seek the opportunities of expressing themselves with confidence in the many Public Speaking competitions offered to them.