The Annual Speakeasy Speech Competition

September 03, 2018 at 11:14 AM

With thanks to English teacher, Mrs JoAnn Wordsworth

From fibs children are told in childhood, to Star Wars and being courageous, through to political correctness and the issue of consent, the range of speech topics at the annual Saint Kentigern Speakeasy Speech Competition weas broad and engaging. Students from Years 7-13, including students from the Girls’ School and Boys’ School stepped up to share their speaking talent with a supportive audience in the Goodfellow Centre at the College last week.

The speakers for the evening were selected from a range of keen participants from each of the Saint Kentigern campuses; the premise being that students wanted to share their ideas and thoughts, rather than feeling it was compulsory task.  This, once again, produced high quality speeches on a range of topics.  While Middle College students still write speeches as part of their respective English courses, the Senior Students wrote them specifically for this competition. 

Senior College winner, Natalya Trombitas spoke to us about ‘why do we feel the need to conform to society’s idea of the ‘perfect’ life?’ - sharing that she feels it is due to ‘Atelophobia - a fear of being imperfect.’

 Middle College winner, Danielle Mayer’s spoken word explored the power and importance of the word ‘sorry’ - with its five letters and one word that carries so much weight. 

Our new prize for 2018 celebrates young talent and went to Austin Alcock from the Boys’ School who reminded us of the importance of grit.  His speech finished with a memorable line from Sir Edmund Hillary’s comments to Everest that he ‘would come again and conquer [it] because as a mountain you can’t grow, but as a human, I can.’

Judge for the evening was Old Collegian, Dr James Wenley who described the evening as ‘an amazing celebration of speech.’ An expert in the field of presenting, Dr James was generous in his praise of the speakers.

Since leaving the College, Dr Wenley has completed his Doctoral Thesis at the University of Auckland. He discussed how challenging it is to hold an audience’s attention; a talent that is crucial, he explained, as ‘most people will lose attention in about 8 seconds’ unless actively engaged. The skill of holding an audience’s attention is priceless!

The art of public speaking, whaikorero, is one that we must protect and grow in our young.  Without it, people lose the power to communicate their thoughts and opinions and the world will become a smaller place with less humanity. 

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