Naracoorte High School

Rostrum Voice of Youth

On Wednesday, 10th May, we had four students from our school travel to Mount Gambier to participate in the South East Heats of the 2023 Rostrum Voice of Youth Public Speaking Competition. 

The competition was held at Grant High School. Other schools that competed this year were St Martin’s Lutheran College, Grant High School and Mount Gambier High School. The schools in the South East appreciate the ongoing support and sponsorship of the Mount Gambier and District Community Bank (Bendigo Bank) for the South East Heat, as without this support the students from the South East would need to travel to Adelaide for the Heats. 

The competition sees the students present a prepared speech (from a choice of five topics) of six minutes for juniors and eight minutes for seniors and a short notice speech, where students are given 15 minutes to prepare a three minute     speech (from a choice of three topics).

There were two junior heats. In Heat 1, Year 8 student Tom Nolan competed against six other students. Tom chose the topic “A gift that keeps on giving” for his prepared speech and then selected “Ups and downs” for his short notice speech. Tom made effective use of eye contact, gestures and facial expressions in his speeches. In Heat 2, Year 9 student Maggie McLean competed against eight other students. Maggie chose the topic “Behind the Lens” for her prepared speech and then selected “Peer pressure” for her short notice speech. Maggie engaged her audience with relevant content and expression in her speeches.

In the one senior heat, Year 11 student Freya Wirper and Year 12 student Zach Pope competed against each other as well as six other students. Freya chose the topic “Voice for voiceless” for her prepared speech and “Life beyond school” for her short notice speech. Freya was able to display, through both her speeches, an ability to use both serious tones and humour to make an impact on her audience. Zach chose the topic “Shifting gears” for his prepared speech and “A costly mistake” for his short notice speech.
Zach spoke with passion and delivered thoughtful messages in his speeches.

We were so excited on the night when Tom, Maggie and Freya all won their respective heats, advancing them to the semi-finals of the competition. The next day, we also received the news that Zach was through to the semi-finals on the competition’s ‘wildcard’ system, which ensures that there is equal representation of speakers from different zones/regions. From the South East Heat, five students from 24 students progressed through to the semi-finals, with four of them being from Naracoorte High School. What a massive achievement for our school!

I would like to thank Gemma Borg who assisted me with supporting/transporting the students. Another thank you goes to the parents/family members who came to support the students on the night. 

The semi-final will be held in Adelaide at Immanuel College on Saturday, 27th May. We wish the students the best of luck at this next stage in the competition!

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