Senior public speakers qualify for national team

During the recent September school holidays, eight St Leonard’s students travelled to Canberra to compete in the Australian Individual Debating and Public Speaking Championships (AIDPSC). This competition attracts some of the best public speakers and debaters from around Australia for an intense three-day tournament that requires students to compete across a range of different public speaking-related events.

Congratulations to year 11 students Samuel Chilcott and Niamh Nolan who placed sixth and seventh respectively in the Championship’s overall rankings, thereby earning themselves a place on the Australian team at the 2017 World Individual Debating and Public Speaking Championships. In a fantastic achievement, Niamh Nolan made finals in three of the four events: interpretive reading, impromptu speaking and debating, and placed second in impromptu speaking, with an eloquent and insightful speech on how ignorance is not bliss when it comes to dealing with bullying. Samuel Chilcott also made the after dinner speaking finals with a highly humorous mock-speech to a group of drama students, which placed third.

Year 9 students Emerson Hurley and Brooke Halak formed the remaining members of our senior team. Competing against students two years above themselves, they both managed to make the persuasive speaking finals, where Emerson spoke on the threat of false populism, epitomised in the current American presidential election. Brooke explored the dangers to the transparency of Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers posed by section 42 of the Border Force Act. In an outstanding result they finished second and third respectively.

Four year 10 students – Britney Bonnor, Chloe Chin, Callum Ferguson, and Isabella Scollo – also represented the College in the accompanying ‘Speakfest’ development competition. Chloe Chin deserves special congratulations for winning the persuasive speaking category of this competition with a great speech, mixing both humour and heartfelt emotion, which warned of the pitfalls of donating to homeless people on the street.

Congratulations are due to all of our representatives for their exceptional performances over the course of the competition, and we wish Sam and Niamh the best of luck as they begin preparing for next year’s World Championships.


DAV Schools Competition Quarter Finalists

Congratulations to year 9 debaters Emma Holbrook, Caitlyn Menzies-Smith and Helene Zhang, who have made it to the quarter finals of the Debaters Association of Victoria Schools Competition. Following an impressive win in a high-quality octo-final debate, the students have earned a place amongst the final eight teams in the largest debating competition in the world. These students have performed brilliantly to remain undefeated after more than ten months’ worth of debates in such a highly competitive competition. We wish them the very best of luck as they progress into the final rounds.


Matthew McDonald
Director of Debating and Public Speaking