IPSHA Speakers’ Challenge

L to R: Millie Huang, Alice Gray, Charlotte McCoy and Gia Smart

The IPSHA (Independent Primary School Heads of Australia) Speakers’ Challenge took place at Scotch College this year, with twenty-two schools participating. As part of the Public Speaking co-curricular, eight Santa Maria students were invited to compete for a place in the final competition against the other schools. 

Charlie McCoy (Year 6), Alice Gray (Year 5), Millie Huang (Year 5) and Gia Smart (Year 6) were selected to represent the College. 

During Pastoral Care Time last week, the girls participated in the preliminary round at Santa Maria. The girls had to prepare and present a 4-minute speech on a topic of their choice. However, their choice needed to fall into one of three categories: 

  1. To inform 
  2. To entertain 
  3. Or to persuade 

The girls were judged by teachers Lyndsey FitzGerald, Derek Smith and Michele Colley and were judged on content, presentation and impact.

The four winning speeches from that round were varied and included: ‘Students should not have homework!’ (Charlie), ‘Pets are a lot of work!’ (Alice), ‘A zoo like no other!’ (Millie) and’ Believe and Succeed!’ (Gia).

Following the preliminary round, the girls attended several workshops to hone their skills and practise for the final event. The girls showed enthusiasm, commitment, always striving for personal excellence. 

At the IPSHA event, the girls held their nerves and did a fantastic job, all awarded bronze medals. Gia Smart received our highest position receiving third from eight students. The girls engaged with other students throughout the event and were inspired by some of the gold medal finalists.

Coordinator Lyndsey Fitzgerald said, “The competition highlighted to me what a fantastic opportunity this is for our girls, to encourage bravery and see other young people sharing their art of public speaking. These young speakers were inspiring – the finalists commanded the room and became passionate storytellers. It’s something I will definitely reflect on and build more of during the Public Speaking co-curricular next year!”

Here’s what the girls had to say

What did you enjoy about the IPSHA Speakers’ Challenge? 
Millie Huang: “I really enjoyed doing the speeches in front of other Years 5 and 6s. It was interesting to communicate, see so many other kids, and see an all-boys school. It was really fun!”

What challenges did you face during this competition?
Alice Gray: “I faced my competition during the IPSHA Speakers’ Challenge, and they were pretty good. I faced the time as I didn’t want to go too fast or too slow. The time was running right behind me.” 

What are you most proud of during this event and why?
Charlie McCoy: “I’m very proud that Gia, Millie, Alice and I got up on the stage and performed for people even though we were very nervous. I am so proud of all of us for giving it a try.”

What can you learn and take away from this experience? 
Gia Smart: “I have learned that I am braver than I thought, and I pushed myself out of my comfort zone to do the IPSHA speaking challenge. I have taken away that although it is nerve-racking, it is still fun and an enjoyable experience. I have shared my motivation with others, and this has made me want to push myself even further with my running.”

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