Speaking For Their House

Let’s face it, for many of us, speaking in front of a large group of people is our worst nightmare. But if you can overcome the fear, there is a lot to gain from public speaking.

Speaking in public boosts confidence, improves communication and leadership skills, listening, reading and writing skills, and improves your social skills, to name a few.

Lucky for us, our students are not so fearful, which was evident at our annual Interhouse Public Speaking competition. 

Over 250 students participated during two Pastoral Care sessions. The girls could deliver their speeches from a choice of topics depending on their year group:

Years 5 & 6

  • Laughter is the best medicine
  • What human quality do we need more of and why?
  • My biggest concern for the future is…

Years 7 & 8

  • Goals are good for you
  • Technology has helped connect people, not isolate them
  • Should scientists bring extinct species back to life?

Years 9 & 10

  • Do video games promote violence?
  • Real learning does not occur in the classroom
  • Should the minimum wage be raised?

Years 11 & 12

  • Ignorance is the root cause of violence
  • The arts are essential to life
  • To err is human. To forgive divine

Years 5 – 8 Public Speaking

There are two different categories students could participate in. 

Traditional Public Speaking, where students chose a topic and then wrote and delivered their persuasive speech (roughly 2:30 to 3 minutes long).

The Spoken Word category was first added last year and allows students to read or recite a piece of poetry or prose (60 to 90 seconds in length). Students were free to choose what they presented in this category. The girls generally present poetry and, occasionally, readings of song lyrics.

Fifteen adjudicators judged the speakers over the two sessions. They comprised of Deans of Year, Heads of Departments and teaching staff. 

Years 9 – 12 Public Speaking

Derek Smith, who coordinated the competition, said, “The quality across the board was very impressive. The variety in the spoken-word performances was incredible. We had Shakespeare, Dr Seuss and powerful poems about social justice. It has been great to hear the different texts that students have presented.”

Carolyn Sharp, one of the adjudicators, said, “I had the privilege of adjudicating the Year 6 Public Speaking on Wednesday. I was pleasantly surprised at the high standard of the speeches. The speeches were thoroughly entertaining, and all the girls spoke with confidence and flair.  Congratulations to all the students who were brave enough to participate.”

And what did the students think of this experience?

Madison Pino (Year 10) said, “The support from everyone on the day was really nice. Regardless of their House, everyone came together on the day of the competition to support the speakers. I have been doing public speaking since Year 7 because it’s something I’m passionate about. I also really enjoy the supportive environment in which I’m able to grow and work on my skills without judgement.”

Myra Lee (Year 11) said, “I really enjoyed the opportunity to represent my House. I think that public speaking is a great way to build confidence, and it helps me to work on important life skills that will be beneficial for me in the future.”

Rainy Guimbeau (Year 10) added, “The topic I chose for my speech was ‘Real learning doesn’t occur in the classroom.’ I really enjoyed delivering my speech. It felt like a reward for all the effort I had put into writing it. I also found the competition was a great opportunity to learn some new things about a topic that is very relevant to my life.”  

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