2021 OTU Oratory Finals Competition

Over the course of three weeks at the end of Term 1, the School’s official Oratory competition: the 76th OTU Oratory Finals, was held for speakers in Years 7-12. It was a welcome relief to be able to conduct the event, given the 2020 competition was not held due to COVID-19 restrictions. This year a total of 20 students entered either one of three divisions and each speaker had ten minutes preparation for either a three-minute (Junior Division: Years 7-8), four-minute (Intermediate Division: Years 9-10), or five-minute (Senior Division: Years 11-12) speech on one unseen topic. The best speakers presented well-polished and insightful speeches on a range of interesting ideas, and did so, with confidence and conviction. Suggested skills to develop include the unpacking the meaning of the topic, meeting the time requirements and length, and structuring a cogent, logical series of discussion points that support the speaker’s purpose. Some speakers need to be less a debater in style, and more of an orator, by using a wider range of rhetorical skills and techniques.

The Junior Division speakers of Geronimo Devitt (7Fo), James Davies (8St), Callum Padman (8Hi), Maxi Tsai (8Fo), Jared Arnold (7Ar), Christian Ciarroni 8WJ), Daniel Jones (7Mu), Leopold Vo (8WH) and Alexander Henry (8La)  each grappled with one topic from a set range of impromptu topics: “It appears to be easy”, “Secrets cannot be kept”, It’s time to tell the truth”, “In plain sight” and “What is needed now…”. It was interesting to hear a range of ideas about Government and social welfare, crime, vaccines, even spies in two World Wars! However, the speakers who managed to address the topic in a sophisticated manner earned the following places: Third – Christian Ciarroni; Second – Leopold Vo; and First – Jared Arnold. Congratulations to these gentlemen.

William Taplin (9WH), Kyle Tran (10WH), Brendan Logarta (9Ta), James Kim (10Ta), Toby Henry (9La) and Liam Wingrave (9Ar) were the speakers in the Intermediate Division, and they tackled one of three topics: “A model for success”, “Will it ever be the same?” and “A potential never reached”. Again, international governments, science and environmental issues, space exploration, education, plus NBA sport, offered for intriguing listening. The structure and sophisticated exploration of the topic of three speeches was very good and based on these points, Liam Wingrave was placed third, William Taplin, was awarded second place, while Brendan Logarta won the Intermediate Division for his first time. Well done, to these speakers.  

The Senior Division’s speakers of Keagan Tran (11WH), Keith Kwok (12WH), Joshua Perera (12La), Dasch Chuchra (12He), William Martin (12WH) and Suraj Nellore (12Mu), presented very engaging and interesting ideas from world politics in the USA and Africa, the coups and protests to social, economic and environmental reforms with the topics: “Believe you can, and you are halfway there”, “Things do not happen. They are just made to happen”, “Decisions are made by those who show up” and “Don’t criticise what you do not understand”. While the speakers discussed a wide range of ideas that made for engaging listening, it was the sophistication of ideas and polished presentation of speeches that decided the top three speakers in this division of the competition. Congratulations to Joshua Perera (12La) for third place, Keith Kwok (12WH) on being awarded second place, while William Martin (12WH) was crowned the winner in the Senior Oratory.

The winners of the OTU Oratory Finals will receive a prize on Speech Day in early Term 4. Thank you to all the speakers who entered – it is worthy to have the experience and learn the art of Oratory. For those students who may be interested in joining the weekly Oratory Co-Curricular activity, please contact Mr. McGrath for further details.

Justin McGrath | Oratory Coordinator

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