On Saturday 14 May, Mary MacKillop College had four very courageous and passionate young women participate in the qualifying heats of the 2016 Rostrum Voice of Youth Public Speaking Competition at Immanuel College. With public speaking being an integral part of everyday living, be it in the political realm, the education system or the workplace, our MacKillop students presented themselves with poise, confidence and tremendous pride.
In the Junior section Year 8 students, Olivia and Emily, spoke on the topic, ‘The Time Has Come’, for six minutes while in the Senior division, Year 10 student, Rajvi, delivered an eight minute presentation on, ‘Breaking the Mold’, and Year 12 student, Stephanie, on the topic, ‘The Bigger Picture.’ After presenting their prepared presentations, the girls then had 15 minutes to deliver a three minute speech on an unseen topic.
With more than 80 students across South Australia vying for a place in the semi-finals, the adjudicators had a very challenging task selecting two or three competitors from each heat to proceed to the next level. Although Mary MacKillop College did not advance to the 28 May heat, each and every one of our competitors demonstrated initiative, enthusiasm and diligence in entering the competition. Meeting each Tuesday at lunchtime during Terms 1 and 2, the girls shared and discussed ideas, critiqued and rehearsed presentations with respect, humour and enthusiasm.
I extend my gratitude to Mrs McGuigan and Mrs Tatarelli for accompanying me on the day so that all our students had a friendly face in the audience. I also wish to acknowledge Mrs Tatarelli, Mrs Lepore, Miss Boccaccio, Mrs Abarno, and their respective English classes for allowing the girls to practise with an audience. A special thank you also to the family and friends who supported the students at Immanuel College; your support and love did not go unappreciated.
A special note must be made of Year 12 student, Stephanie, who has participated in the Rostrum Voice of Youth competition since she commenced in Year 8. Stephanie’s passion for the challenge has been sustained for five years and her ability and confidence to speak before a crowd has gone from strength to strength. Stephanie is the epitome of a MacKillop student because each year in the competition she has “known more, done more and been more.” I wish Stephanie well in her future endeavours and I know that she will be putting her well-honed and articulate public speaking skills to good use post secondary schooling.
When 2017 arrives I encourage more of our Mary MacKillop College community to participate in the Rostrum Voice of Youth Public Speaking Competition. It is fun, it is challenging but above all, it is about gaining confidence and being the best version of one self.
Mini Del Corso
English Learning Area Leader
PICTURED: Emily, Olivia and Rajvi (Absent - Stephanie)
Below are the introductory paragraphs from Emily, Olivia, Rajvi and Stephanie’s presentations to demonstrate the variety of presentation topics available and the variation in how they were interpreted. I hope these ‘teasers’ inspire and impress you.
“Ladies, gentlemen and chairperson, Sheryl Sandberg, the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, commenced her presentation titled, ‘Why we have too few women leaders’, with these words, "...for any of us in this room today, let's start out by admitting we're lucky. We don't live in the world our mothers lived in, our grandmothers lived in, where career choices for women were so limited. But all that aside, we still have a problem, and it's a real problem. And the problem is this: Women are not making it to the top of any profession anywhere in the world." Ladies and gentlemen, Sandberg is correct in her assessment as I too believe that the time has come to take charge. Women in the 21st century deserve to be recognised as equal to our male counterparts in our homes, our schools and in our workplaces, but this can only occur if we are conscious of gender stereotyping and discrimination.”
Motivational speaker, Billy Cox, tells his audience that, “Technology should improve your life not take over your life,” but unfortunately technology is making us its slaves and we are unconsciously becoming its victims. Ladies, gentleman and chairperson, if I asked how many of you in this room use technology every day, I know that the majority of you would put your hands up. This is not a criticism of you as individuals but is the result of living in a modern, connected world. But have you ever stopped to consider how quickly technology is moving and what it is doing to our interactions? With the growth of technology spiking at an alarming rate in the last decade, scientists are worried that eventually what we create may have a mind of its own and this will lead to great tragedy. Ladies and gentlemen I truly believe the time has come to take a step back and evaluate technology in our lives.
Have you ever imagined what life would be like if people never dared to try something new, never dreamed beyond the known or the here and now, or never stepped beyond their comfort zone? Ladies, gentlemen and chairperson, the reality is that the majority of people choose to sit back and not try anything new because they are fearful, believe themselves unimaginative or are apathetic. There is, however, a minority of the population which chooses to step outside its comfort zone and decides to make a change. These are the few who break the mold and change the course of history. People like Pakistani social activist, Malala Yousafzai, and the Suffragettes are two examples of people who dared to step up and risked their lives to make a difference for their respective societies, and we should applaud them.
Each day, new stories are written and each day we are given the opportunity to open our minds to new concepts and new adventures which await us. Ladies, gentlemen and chairperson, when we read we become part of the bigger picture, of what it means to be human. Throughout history there are many literary works which have helped shape individuals, communities and even nations. From Plato, to Karl Marx, to Confucius authors of worth have had their works stand the test of time because ultimately they have transformed how individuals think, govern and control, not only themselves but their communities. In our modern world many such authors can be found and each and every one saw beyond their time. Samuel Richardson in his literary text, ‘Pamela,’ challenged the views of his 18th century patriarchal society while confronting the stereotype of how women were treated within his own society. Harper Lee brought to prominence the plight for equality between the races in her novel, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ while JK Rowling saw the bigger picture when she wrote about love, challenge and resilience in her ‘Harry Potter’ novels. Ladies, gentlemen and chairperson, when we read, we give each book the opportunity to teach us something about the bigger picture. Literature informs us and takes us on an educational journey where we will question norms, where we will challenge and confront injustices and where we will hope for more from each other. Each time we read, we see beyond the words on the page and see where we can advance as humanity.