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Talk about public speaking with panache! The ability of our Junior School finalists to engage and entertain an audience that included Dr Scott, senior leaders, teachers, parents and peers, was impressive. Judges, Mr Newall and Miss Karsten, certainly found it tough to choose the winners!
When the audience entered the Independent Theatre on Tuesday, the beautiful sound of Dylan (Year 6) playing the harp was a clear indication that they were in for something special. And our students didn’t disappoint!
Sophie (Year 4) was first up for the Stage 2 (Years 3 and 4) finalists, with her chosen topic ‘Oh so that’s how you do it’. Her speech about Penny the Penguin, whose persistence meant that her colony was the first in Antarctica to fly, was funny and contained a powerful message of trust, faith and hope. Isabella (Year 4) was next up, with an entertaining speech on the topic, ‘Children have too much screen time’. While her mum grew up with only three TV channels and no Netflix, kids now have knowledge at their fingertips. It’s enabled Isabella to watch useful things on YouTube like fluffy cat videos or videos on how to make the perfect slime. Meanwhile adults are busy Instagramming photos of their smashed avo on toast! Isabella concluded by telling the audience that she is still working on the perfect selfie!
Sophie (Year 3) spoke engagingly about ‘I’m opening up a new restaurant and my speciality is’. She took the audience to a very special restaurant where there was a library, craft area and art gallery, and where the food was served up with a huge dose of love. Isla (Year 4) was the last of the Stage 2 finalists to take to the stage, with her speech, ‘Children have too much screen time’. She exhorted the audience to look up from their screens and walk the dog, catch a fish or bake a cake!
Bethany (Year 5) opened up for the Stage 3 (Years 5 and 6) finalists. She also spoke on the topic, ‘Children have too much screen time’, with some interesting statistics about adult screen time versus children’s, and the hypocrisy of adults lecturing kids whilst glued to iPhones or laptops! The audience loved her tips for gaining screen time at inopportune moments i.e. when her mum is taking an important business call and needs peace and quiet! Mae (Year 6) followed up on her chosen topic, ‘Oh so that’s how you do it’, focusing on the art of public speaking. She informed the audience that at a funeral, most people would prefer to be in the coffin than delivering the eulogy. Her top tip - imagine the audience in their underwear to calm your nerves - had everyone roaring with laughter.
Alice (Year 5) impersonated the iPhone X for her chosen topic, ‘Oh so that’s how you do it’, with an entertaining and informative speech about the allure of the “perfect 21st century tool to suit the millennial lifestyle.” Bronte (Year 5) followed up with ‘What’s in my secret treehouse’. A little bit of magic storytelling dust can raise your talk to another level. Bronte’s speech was a clever entreaty to her audience to use their imaginations and travel to a secret place to escape the world for an adventure.
Ava (Year 6) then spoke on her chosen topic, ‘If I was in charge of Junior Schools in Australia’ with a tongue-in-cheek address to school principals to replace teachers with robots and kids with artificial intelligence. After all, without all that human hankering for creativity, sport and downtime, schools could focus on meaningful things like punctuation! Sophie (Year 6) was the last Stage 3 finalist, with her topic, ‘Oh so that’s how you do it’. She took the audience through her painstaking process of selecting a topic. This included some of the useful facts that she had gleaned from Google, such as how the Honey Badger was the new Bachelor! It was witty, with lots of clever cultural references.
While the judges retired to the foyer to compare notes and choose their winners, Emily (Year 6) performed on the saxophone, followed by India (Year 5), who sang. The audience enjoyed both performances immensely.
Of course, there can only be one winner for each stage. Mr Newall had the task of announcing the Stage 2 winner. He explained that as the Head of Maths for Senior School, he might seem like an unlikely judge, but that Maths is in fact, all about communication. He praised each of the Stage 2 finalists, before awarding Isla (Year 4) with a Highly Commended and announcing Sophie (Year 4) as the winner. Congratulations Sophie!
Miss Karsten, who coordinates Debating for Senior School, announced the Stage 3 results. Bethany (Year 5) and Mae (Year 6) both received a Highly Commended, and Bronte (Year 5) was announced as the Stage 3 winner. Congratulations Bronte!
Congratulations to all the students, including all the semi-finalists who proudly received a certificate from Dr Scott. Thank you also to Mr Pomfrett and Mrs Burkett, whose passion, energy and commitment ensured that the calibre of speeches this year was outstanding and that the Assembly itself was a great success!