Rostrum Voice of Youth is a national speaking competition for students from Years 7 to 12. It provides an excellent opportunity for students to practice the art of public speaking before a supportive audience and receive constructive feedback from accredited coaches. Competitions such as this give students the confidence to enter competitions of a similar nature.  

On Thursday evening 11 May, seventeen students from seven secondary schools across the North West Coast made their way to Marist Regional College’s McAuley Centre to compete in the region’s final. Four of the seventeen were students from the College: Ruby Constable, Penny Tassicker, Nichola Williams and Elka Chamley. Students enter as either a junior or senior: juniors comprise of students from Years 7 to 9, seniors from Years 10 to 12. Ruby represented the College as a junior, the other students as seniors. 

Two speeches are delivered: a prepared and a short notice speech. Students select one speech topic from a choice of six. Junior and senior topics are different. In the prepared section, juniors speak for six minutes, seniors eight. Ruby spoke about the topic ‘Opportunity Knocks,’ Penny, ‘Voice for the Voiceless’, Nichola, ‘Shifting Gears’ and Elka, ‘Voice for the Voiceless.’  

Once the prepared speeches are delivered, the short notice speaking section begins. Students have fifteen-minutes to prepare a three-minute speech. Students select one speech topic from a choice of three.  

All four students conveyed their thoughts and perspectives with conviction. They had obviously spent numerous hours researching and fine tuning their prepared speeches. Their parents, along with Marist staff are justifiably proud of the intelligent and mature way they held the audience captive.  

The head of the adjudication panel in feedback stated the importance of having a clear introductory objective and concluding with a memorable closure.  

On behalf of the College, I thank these students for the time and effort placed into Rostrum Voice of Youth. I look forward to them, along with additional College students entering this public speaking competition next year, which will be a hallmark year, as Rostrum Voice of Youth will celebrate its 50th anniversary. 

Ms Tess McDonagh 

Debating Coach