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St Joseph's student success at Diocesan Public Speaking competition

Congratulations to Year 5 student, Chloe [pictured left] – winning this year's Diocesan Public Speaking competition! Chloe spoke about environmental factors and animal welfare in Australia with her speech on the topic: 'What happens when it all runs out?'

Public speaking is something that many people are afraid of undertaking. According to research, it tops our biggest fears, and is one of the world’s most common phobias – but it wasn't a concern for the students who attended this year’s Catholic Development Fund Diocesan Public Speaking grand final - an annual competition which challenges students to develop communication skills, confidence, motivation and knowledge sharing.

Held at St Thomas Aquinas Bowral, the top twelve students – six from Year 5 and six from Year 6 – took to the stage one by one. Required to deliver a pre-planned speech in front of a large roomful of people, it’s a challenge which would make many adults shudder. However, the competition was taken in the stride of all attendees from primary schools across the diocese.

In the lead-up to the event, the student competitors were given topics to choose from, including: 'Every child matters'; 'What makes an Australian'; 'Human rights and wrongs' and 'There’s no ‘I’ in team'.

From this starting point, the student’s imagination flourished and every speech was unique in its content and delivery, containing personal anecdotes and famous quotes such as Dr Seuss’ "Unless someone like you cares an awful lot, nothing is going to get done".

At the start of the event, the crowd – which included family, friends and educators – were welcomed by St Thomas Aquinas Bowral Acting Principal, Kayleen Petzer. It was also attended by members of the Catholic Education Office, including CEDoW Director of Schools, Mr Peter Turner.

“This competition is important, as it allows students to showcase their skills and express their thoughts in a public speaking forum. The speeches were of a very high standard and the audience was both informed and entertained by the students over a range of topics” — Jo Robinson, convenor of the Diocesan Public Speaking competition

The judging panel was made up of adjudicators with experience in public speaking – Mrs Susan Newton, from Southern Highlands Toastmasters, and St Benedict’s Oran Park Middle Leader, Mr Andrew Lundy. According to Mrs Robinson, their job was a “difficult one” due to the quality and standard of the student speakers.

For every speaker who stepped into the spotlight, it was a momentous occasion.

“The things I’ve been fortunate enough to experience [through the competition] are something I’ll never forget. I don't think I’ll ever feel more proud and happy as when I look at my trophy. I’m so thankful for this experience” — Chloe, Year 5 student and competition winner

“This is such a huge achievement and reflects Chloe’s hard work, commitment and willingness to grow as a learner,” said Principal, Mrs Jen Charadia. “Thank you Chloe for representing our school so well. We are very proud of you – a diocesan champion!”

Congratulations Chloe! 

St Joseph's wishes to acknowledge the Catholic Development Fund for their ongoing financial support of the Diocesan Public Speaking regional competitions and grand final, which allows this opportunity for our students to continue every year. Read more about this year's Diocesan Public Speaking competition here