On 19 April the Southern Independent Schools (SIS) got together and held a Public Speaking Championship. There were a lot of excited and anxious students gathered together to show off their public speaking prowess. It was an excellent opportunity to see all of the persuasive language skills in our curriculum applied in a practical forum. Our students did a great job of representing Berwick Gramamr. They were on their best behaviour, showing great respect for their opposition and demonstrating some outstanding speaking skills. Some students in the competition suffered from stage fright, however, our students acted with consideration and empathy when this happened, making me proud of the culture of respect which typifies our school.
Fortunately, our boys presented with confidence, free from visible nerves. James Agahi outlined the factors that threaten our status as ‘the lucky country’, while reminding the audience and adjudicators just how lucky we ultimately are. Matthew Kent delved deeply into the final frontier of fear, humorously positing that the I-Phone is the greatest threat to public safety in our society. Kurt Caddy delivered a well-presented and pragmatic explanation of why the animal he relates to most is a cockatoo. Max Walton-Briggs presented sound and rational arguments to justify the idea that Mars is the final frontier for humanity’s long history of exploration.
It was particularly interesting to see such a wide range of responses to the prompts provided. No two speeches were the same. There were heart felt emotional appeals, deep personal reflections, well-researched informative pieces, strong political rhetoric and some laugh out loud anecdotes.
Secret topics were provided to all the students and they were given only 5 minutes to prepare an impromptu speech. This challenged students to think on their feet, and to be persuasive without relying on research from textbooks and the internet. Our boys coped well with the pressure and delivered some outstanding results.
Overall, the day was a very positive experience. We walked away with third place in the competition overall. A very impressive effort from our boys.
Mr Sean Pieper