Students Shine at Speakers Challenge

L to R Maeve Mellett, Isabel Jith, Isabella Daniel, Sophie Widjaja

The IPSHA Speakers’ Challenge is a competition that saw 23 schools participate this year. The competition was hosted at Scotch College. 

Following the Santa Maria College Interhouse Public Speaking competition, eight students were invited to compete for a place in the ISPHA Speaker Challenge 2023. At this preliminary round, two Year 5s and two Year 6s were selected to represent Santa Maria.

The task was to prepare and present a four-minute speech on a topic of their choice with the aim to either inform, entertain or persuade. The judging criteria focused on content, presentation and impact.  The four winning speeches were varied and included: 

  • Isabel Jith (Year 5) – Paws Vs Pouts: A Furry Frenemy Feud
  • Maeve Mellett (Year 5) – Annoying but lovable siblings
  • Sophie Widjaja (Year 6) – Dreaming Upon a Dream 
  • Isabella Daniel (Year 6)  – Magnificent Matilda’s – what they mean to me.

Following the preliminary in-school round, these girls attended several workshops to act on their initial feedback and continued practising their speeches for the final event. During this time, they showed enthusiasm and commitment and strived for personal excellence. 

At the IPSHA event, the girls held their nerves and did an amazing job, all being awarded bronze medals, having been placed 4th, 5th and 7th. Throughout the event, the girls engaged with other students and were inspired by some of the gold medal finalists. 

Coordinator and Year 5 teacher Lyndsey Fitzgerald said, “This year I felt we really stepped it up. The topics the girls chose were engaging, and it made me extremely proud to see them transform into storytellers and deliver their speeches with such confidence and pride. Watching the level of competition encourages us to continue striving for excellence and come back fighting next year.”

Here’s what the girls had to say about the experience:

“I enjoyed the Speaker Challenge a lot, and it has inspired me to become a more confident speaker – it was a wonderful opportunity.” Sophie Widjaja, Year 6

“When I was writing my speech, coming up with ideas was challenging to make it the best it could be. I continued to work on it and kept going until I was ready to present on the night. I feel proud of my progress.” Maeve Mellett, Year 5

“I was really proud of the opportunity to represent Santa Maria at this event, especially being my first year at the College. I was also proud of how I had the courage to get up there and do my best.” Isabel Jith, Year 5

“Through the process of preparing and delivering my speech, I learned to articulate my thoughts clearly, structure my ideas effectively and engage with the audience with confidence. Participating in the Speakers Challenge helped me to develop and enhance my communication skills. This has also helped me to find more confidence in my daily interactions.” Isabella Daniel, Year 6

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