By Tamsyn Coetzee
“What an organ is human speech when it is played by a master! How pale those speeches are in print, but how radiant, how full of [colour], how blinding they were in the delivery! It was a great night, a memorable night.” - Mark Twain on Robert Ingersoll's speech at ‘The Grand Banquet’ in a letter to his wife.
Above, Twain comments on the stark difference between the written and the spoken word. How the written word exists, but the spoken word is performed.
In order to continue to cultivate this ability to “blind” an audience, as a school, we participate in Festival of Speech, a speaking competition run by the Association of Heads of Independent Girls Schools. This allows for our girls to both be exposed to amazing orators and cultivate their skills to become amazing orators themselves.
I must admit it was a crisp morning on the 27th of October, and a bit earlier than ideal for most on a Saturday morning, but a small army of Loreto girls- blazers, hats and all, made their way to Brigidine College to show off what they’ve got.
I myself competed in Senior poetry recitation and didn’t achieve a place, but the practice I had put in and nerves I had to move past, mixed in with the high calibre of students I was competing with, meant that I walked away well aware of how I had improved.
What I can’t say for myself, I can say another achieved. Olivia Alexander Placed 4th in the Junior Poetry section, no small feat, as to win, as Mr Twain mentions above, girls were “full of [colour]… in the delivery”. I’m sure hours and hours of practice went into this achievement and it is well deserved.
We also had two girls in the Public Speaking section, Abigail Roberts in the senior section and Annika Shankar for the junior. Annika performed an adapted version of her speech from the ‘Women Speak Up’ unit in year 9 English, a time we all remember well for being most of our first interactions to feminist perspectives in literature. Annika also performed this speech in assembly, which was riveting then, yet she still managed to up the ante at Brigidine, making everyone at Loreto Proud.
I was also able to attend the Current Affairs section, in which Isabella Greenhalgh (Yr 10), Charlotte Greenhalgh (Yr 10) and Anna Mossie (Yr 11) discussed the future of energy in Australia, bringing up some interesting points and speaking very eloquently, even if some of the technical jargon went a bit over my head.
Earlier in the morning than I arrived, Gian Ellis-Gannell (Yr 10), Antonia Tassell (Yr 11) and Anastasia Leaver (Yr 11) discussed the Religious and Ethical dilemmas associated with the trans-humanism movement, referencing a wide variety of various religions' views, and some extremely thoughtful ethical issues. They worked exceptionally as a team, continuing each others points smoothly and confidently.
I would also like to congratulate the following girls, whom I didn’t get the chance to watch, but whom I’m sure devoted hours and hours in preparation:
· Frances O’Brien (Yr 7) - Jnr Reading
· Ella Anderson (Yr 11) - Snr Reading
· Julia Reuben (Yr 9), Mia Cohen(Yr 9), Lucy Findlay (Yr 9), Isabelle Reid (Yr 8) - Jnr Debate
· Hannah John (Yr 11), Gahee Bong (Yr 11), Maanya Maini (Yr 10) - Snr debate
· Nicola Sherwood (Yr 10), Tara Savell-McKean (Yr 10), Tahlia Harris (Yr 10), Sofia Halliday (Yr 10), Annabelle Mitchell (Yr 10), Gabriella Sposari (Yr 10) - Drama