For many adults, the thought of giving a speech in public is one of their greatest fears. Now imagine that you are given the topic “Change is Everywhere” and told that you have four minutes to prepare a three-minute “impromptu” speech. This was the challenge faced by Year 11 students Ishita Singh and Louis Harrison at the regional finals of the ‘Plain English’ Speaking Competition held at St Monica’s in Epping on Wednesday, 26 May.

The first round saw nine students representing five different schools present their six-minute, prepared speech. Louis’ speech entitled ‘The Eulogy’ examined the ongoing consequences of Climate Change. Ishita, in delivering ‘Standing Up’ looked at the ongoing issue of Consent Education. Both speeches arose out of assessment work delivered in English classes and further honed for the competition itself.

However, it was in the challenging impromptu speech where both students demonstrated their talents – not only managing to present a contention, several arguments and a variety of techniques, but also managing to reach the three-minute target for length – something that not all students could achieve.

In a wonderful day that saw the efforts of all speakers being supported by other competitors when in the audience, both students demonstrated their flair and prowess in delivering nuanced and compelling speeches. We are duly proud that Ishita was able to achieve runner-up in the event overall.

Clive Parkin - Head of Learning English (Secondary)