Rostrum Voice of Youth

Congratulations to all of our students who competed in the Rostrum – Voice of Youth Public Speaking event.

On Sunday 22 May, six of our students took part in the Rostrum: Voice of Youth Public Speaking Competition. Rostrum is a National Public Speaking competition and, as such, attracts a wide variety of students from a range of educational sectors, whose personal backgrounds are diverse, and whose cultural perspectives inform the quality and content of their speeches. St Catherine’s students were, therefore, privileged to be able to listen to a range of unique personal perspectives from their peers from around the state.

We were represented in the Junior Division by Allegra Dennison (Year 7) who performed with maturity and a great deal of composure in her first public speaking competition. Allegra’s speech, entitled Humble Beginnings, outlined her initially modest fundraising efforts with her sister for CARE Australia which raised sufficient funds for the purchase of a water system in a remote impoverished village in a developing country, thus reinforcing the importance of small goals which can transform the lives of ordinary people.

Finalist Demi Markakis Rostrum

Rostrum Voice of Youth Finalist Demi Markakis

Demi Markakis (Year 10) whose reflective prepared speech delivered in a natural and charismatic manner saw her progress through to the Semi-Finals. In this section of the competition, students were expected to provide an impromptu speech with 15 minutes preparation. The clarity of Demi’s structure and impressive content under the pressure of time made her a clear winner and saw her awarded a place in the State Final on 19 June.

In the Senior Division, St Catherine’s was represented by Lucy Porter (Year 10), Samara Gill (Year 10) and our School Captain, Elizabeth Bolt. As an experienced public speaker, Elizabeth’s speech entitled, The Eleventh Hour, comprised a warning about the current and potential dangers of artificial intelligence. Her well placed sarcasm and humour were appreciated by the audience and adjudicator, and she delivered her speech with characteristic confidence. Lucy Porter, a newcomer to Public Speaking, articulated her views about the figurative glass ceiling limiting opportunities for women in the areas of equal salaries, professional opportunities and sport.

Building upon her skills as a Public Speaker of previous competitions, Samara Gill’s impassioned speech on the invisible barriers impeding the lives of Indigenous people allowed her to reveal her understanding of The Stolen Generation.

The capacity for reflection and compassion of all our entrants made them worthy representatives of the School. The Rostrum adjudicators praised the high quality of all the student speeches, offered helpful advice designed to improve their communication skills, and encouraged all speakers to continue to hone their skills. The adjudicators also reinforced the importance of Public Speaking being about engagement and connection with the audience.

Ms Mary-Anne Keratiotis

Coordinator of Debating and Public Speaking

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