Senior public speaking within an external forum

Public speaking is a daunting prospect. A recent survey in America nominated it as the biggest public fear in the country, surpassing quite easily the inevitability of human mortality.

I have admiration for this generation of kids who are so easily able to go before their peers and deliver a speech of note, free of cue cards. It was my privilege and pleasure recently to witness two of our Year 11 boys in action, and their achievements were in my view quite heroic.

In the Regional final of The Plain English Public Speaking held at St Bede’s College on Thursday 20 June, both Mario Noyahr and Grant Napitupulu achieved recognition from the judges for preparing, learning and delivering blemish-free prepared speeches without cue cards. The judges made special mention of their efforts in their preliminary comments made prior to the announcement of winner and runner-up.

Mario spoke about the way he puts himself together in the quiet backwaters of his mind in his speech entitled, ‘The Stuff I Pull Out of Silence’. Grant directed his focus on the harm we do to planet earth. He was inspired by Mike Collins of Apollo 11 fame who witnessed a stunning orb of blue and white on his way to the moon in 1969. Grant’s speech was entitled ‘A glance back at planet earth’.

Our boys each made a brave attempt at his impromptu speech and both utilised the full allotment of time which was three minutes. A few of their older adversaries perhaps used the benefits of their experience in this section to make a superior impression, and in the final analysis a year twelve boy from St Bede’s inched out Grant from first place in the overall assessment of both component parts of the contest. Grant is therefore the first and only emergency should a mishap occur before the competition moves to the semi-final stage.

Regardless of overall standings both boys performed admirably. Grant Napitupulu and Mario Noyahr were a credit to Salesian College. Their opponents without exception were Year 12 students.

Ian McKail
Senior English Department