Our Students ‘SpeakEasy’

September 04, 2023 at 10:48 AM

Just like a well-loved story retold, SpeakEasy returned, offering a platform for students ranging from Years 7 to 13 to celebrate the art of public speaking and discuss topics of importance to them. Congregating in the Goodfellow Centre, students, alongside their families and friends, came for an evening of intellectual exploration. It was a night when ideas flowed freely, topics ranged widely, and that essence of individuality was embraced.

The event extended beyond the four walls of the room, with a live stream reaching out to the wider Saint Kentigern community. Among those who watched with keen interest was judge and Old Collegian Ben Fraser, whose journey from the College has been marked by his unwavering commitment to using his voice. Presently employed at Parliamentary Service, a Trustee of the Uxbridge Arts and Culture Centre, and Chairperson of the Auckland Youth Voice charity, he serves in many roles throughout the community.

This year, the competition's prizes were awarded to the following exceptional speakers:

Senior years (Years 11–13) winner: Henry Lang – "10,000 Insights"

Henry Lang, through the lens of his countless Uber rides, shared a multitude of insights, proving that everyday experiences can hold profound wisdom.

Middle years (Years 7–10) winner: Milly MacLeod – "I Am Woman"

Milly MacLeod masterfully built her speech to a crescendo, illuminating the intricacies of navigating the world as a female.

Future talent (Years 7 or 8) winner: Rainbow Vui – "Growing up Samoan in Auckland"

Rainbow Vui, speaking from his own personal experiences, engaged with the audience, offering a window into his unique journey. 

While these champions certainly compelled us all, we would like acknowledge the range of talent that took to the SpeakEasy stage. All the finalists’ performances were cleverly crafted, thought-provoking, and finely honed to   capture our audience's imagination and challenge their minds. From Bree's rhythmic spoken word, catalysing change within ourselves and our surroundings, to Leona's captivating journey into identity through the lens of the beloved Muppet Gonzo, the competition uncovered the astounding talent within our student body.  Recognition needs to be paid to our Master of Ceremonies on the night, Year 11 Oliver Shaw, who was our inaugural student MC.  His role on the night ensured that student voices filled the space.

The Middle School finalists included Bree Toatelegese, Charles Miller, Cherie Jiang, Coco Veber-Nicols, Eason Liu, George McGuinness, Leona Yao, Milly MacLeod, Rainbow Vui, Remo Martinez-Azaro, and Sophia Evans. In the Senior School category, we witnessed the talents of Amelia Evangelidakis, Henry Lang, Morgan Alley, Sam McLeod, Xarya Knox, and Jaime Chandler.

We extend our gratitude to the parents and families of our speakers, without whose support events like SpeakEasy would not be possible. Special thanks also to the dedicated members of the English Faculty who contributed to the success of this evening.

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