Students from St Brigid’s Catholic Primary School Coogee will give voice to their thoughts on topics including technology and the value of a Catholic education at the newly expanded Botany-Randwick Public Speaking Competition.

The competition began with just three Sydney Catholic primary schools and has grown to include 14 primary and four secondary schools for the first time this year.

“The key focus was ensuring that students would be able to be challenged academically, whilst appealing to their interests and beliefs.”  – Diane Cowan

Students from Champagnat Catholic College Pagewood, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart College Kensington, and Brigidine College and Marcellin College in Randwick have mentored students to become more effective public speakers as part of the program. They will also help to adjudicate during the semi-finals on 7 June. 

Participants from Years 5 and 6 will give a two-to-three-minute speech on one of four topics. They will be assessed based on their clarity, fluency and confidence when speaking. Points will be awarded based on their use of appropriate and emotive language, and research to support their point of view.

St Brigid’s Year 5 student Riley Baker-Sedgman will take part in the competition semi final.

“Public speaking is nerve-wracking, but also provides me with the opportunity to develop my confidence and to express my point of view,” Riley said.

“The adrenalin it creates makes me want to do more. I practised and practised, ensuring that I was confident about my material and I knew that even if something drastic happened, like dropping my cards, I could still continue on.”

Principal Diane Cowan said the competition gave students the opportunity to grow their confidence and self-expression.

“As educators, we strive to provide opportunities for students to become confident, life-long learners,” she said. 

“We encourage students to express their points of view, to articulate their concerns and to challenge their audience in a supportive environment. 

“The Botany-Randwick Public Speaking Competition is an engaging, holistic learning experience designed to encourage network links across our primary and secondary schools.”


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