St Joseph’s College’s public speakers, Mackenzie Diprose and Grace Malone, won the Southwest Queensland Finals of the Rostrum Voice of Youth public speaking competition, with Patrick O’Brien named runner-up.
The College, which hosted the event on 11 May, won three of three places in contention in front of a large audience, comprised mainly of its speakers’ families, friends and teachers.
Mackenzie inspired the audience to rise above the trivialities of life by sharing the story of her father’s triumph over tremendous physical and emotional adversities, resulting from a terrible accident. Several officials and audience members were moved to tears by her touching speech.
Meanwhile Grace, in a rhetorical tour-de-force, exhorted the audience to combat stereotypes and iniquities that continue to render women the second sex in so many spheres of society.
In a sensitive and, at times, deeply-personal speech, Patrick urged the audience to consider the moral and practical case for voluntary euthanasia.
While Patrick’s speech marked the end of a five-year, secondary-school Rostrum career, Grace and Mackenzie will now progress to the South Queensland Finals, to be held at Moreton Bay College on 25 May. There, they will not only deliver their prepared speeches to an even-higher standard but will also compete in the gruelling short-preparation speaking event.
The students and I thank my co-coaches, Mrs Barton and Mrs Park-Ballay, and the many family members, students and colleagues who came to support us.
My co-coaches and I wish Mackenzie and Grace the very best of luck in the next round, and thank Patrick for five years of excellence, enthusiasm and friendship as a Rostrum competitor.