Junior Public Speaking Competition

On Thursday 25 July, Athiesh Katheesan and Wilson Dixon travelled to The Legacy Centre in Melbourne to compete in the Regional Final of the Junior Public Speaking Competition.

The competition was divided into two parts:

1. A prepared speech of five minutes duration, followed by
2. An impromptu response of two minutes on a topic announced five minutes prior to delivery.

The boys sacrificed many lunch-times in their successful quest to not only learn word-perfect their prepared speeches, but to apply strategies that assisted them with thinking on their feet.

In the prepared speeches Athiesh spoke fluently in a voice he bounced off the back wall, on ‘The scourge of racism’. Wilson was softer of voice to begin with, but quickly gained in confidence in his delivery of, ‘It’s time to put a bridle on change’. It is likely the aging judges who were seated at the rear of the room missed the initial phase of Wilson speech, although he did find his voice, and then maintained it at a suitable pitch for the rest of the competition.
Both boys filled the allotted two minutes in their impromptu time with relevant material. The topic was ‘rubbish collection’ and it required an unconventional approach. I’m pleased to say Athiesh and Wilson did a metaphoric treatment that impressed the judges.

The pleasing finale was Athiesh was adjudged winner, and Wilson was runner-up. Both boys were immensely proud and happy afterwards.
It would be difficult to over-estimate the debt of thanks owed to evergreen stalwart helper Mario Noyahr from Year 11. Mario put the boys through an intense grilling on how to prepare, ironically, for a spontaneous speech. His time over lunchtimes included his own example-responses to topics offered. Mario remains one of the most generous young people I know. Not once did he refuse to offer his time to help these boys.

Athiesh will now progress to the preliminary final in Melbourne on Thursday 12 September. In the event of unforeseen absence, Dixon would take his spot.

Ian McKail
English Department