Voices of Faith: Empowering Youth Through Speech
Year 11 students Isabella Morrison and Ella Sharman recently represented Santa Maria College in the Speak for Faith competition, a Catholic Schools Speaking Competition hosted by Catholic Education Western Australia and sponsored by the Catenian Association. This event provides an opportunity for senior secondary students to deliver speeches centred on Catholic ethics and values, drawing from their Religion & Life coursework. Each participant is given five minutes to present their prepared topic, followed by an impromptu two-minute speech on an undisclosed subject.
Isabella and Ella gave powerful speeches that seamlessly wove personal experiences into discussions of Catholic principles, resulting in authentic and compelling presentations. Reflecting on the competition, they shared their insights.
The girls’ decision to participate was driven by the potential for personal growth and the encouragement of their Religious Education teacher Mrs Sadler. Recognising the benefits for their ATAR Religion studies and public speaking skills, Ella and Isabella both seized the opportunity to engage in Speak for Faith.
Passionate about addressing contemporary societal issues, Isabella seized this chance to intertwine her convictions with her faith in tackling pertinent problems. In her prepared speech, Isabella focused on leveraging Catholic teachings to combat climate change. Overcoming challenges was a crucial aspect of the competition, particularly the impromptu segment. To navigate this, Isabella worked with Mrs Sadler beforehand, brainstorming overarching topics, which aided her swift formulation of responses during the event.
Isabella’s enjoyed the chance to connect with fellow students from different schools and broaden her perspective on faith-related concerns. She believes the significance of youth vocalising their faith fosters exploration, critical thinking, and unity while forging connections and a sense of belonging.
Ella’s speech explored strengthening the Church’s ties with individuals unfamiliar with Catholicism, highlighting unity as a foundation for enhanced learning opportunities. Overcoming the challenge of the impromptu speech involved strategic planning and teamwork with Isabella and Mrs Sadler, enabling them to confidently address unforeseen questions.
Ella enjoyed the chance to interact with peers from diverse schools and engage with staff from Catholic Education WA. The experience enriched her public speaking abilities and deepened her connection between faith and education.
Both Isabella and Ella emphasised the importance of youth expressing their faith. By sharing their beliefs openly, young individuals can inspire others, foster connections, and contribute to meaningful conversations. Their voices contribute to a broader understanding of spirituality, encourage empathy, and create a strong sense of identity and belonging within the community. As students of Santa Maria, a Catholic Mercy school, they affirmed the significance of speaking up for faith and its positive impact on personal growth and communal strength.